Yin’ukwazi? (What is to know?)

 

Yin’uKwazi?

Ngitshele mngane! (Tell/advise me friend)

Kuyini’ukwazi? (What is to know?)

Ngigqoke kahle, (I am well dressed,)

Ngiphath’induku (I carry a stick)

Ngiqwale’umgwaqo, (I wander about the street)

Ngidl’ezibomvu? (Dressed in red?)

 

Ngitshele ntanga! (Tell me peer!)

Kuyin’ukwazi? (What is to know?)

Ngukuy’’esikoleni, (Is it to go to school)

Ngifundane nencwadi! (By merely reading books!)

Ngize ngiphum’impandla (Until I become bald)

Ngipheny’amaqabunga? (Turning pages?)

 

Ngitshele mame! (Tell me mother!)

Kuyin’ukwazi? (What is to know?)

Ngukuba yisikhulumi, (Is it to be a speaker/orator,)

Ngibatshazwe yizwe lonke, (Be celebrated by the entire nation,)

Ngichazane nemithetho (Impress/Interpret laws)

Ngingenal’ulwazi lwayo? (With hardly any knowledge of them)

Ngitshele baba (Tell me father)

Kuyin’ukwazi? (What is to know?)

Woza mfana wami (Follow me my son)

Ngikudons’indlebe: (Let me advise you:)

“Khuluma kancane

Wenze kakhudlwana.” (“Less talk, more action.”)         

B. W. Vilakazi (1945)

 

Knowledge can be troubling. This is what Vilakazi’s peom suggests. It is published around the time of a great black self-definition of the early 20th century. Not only does it question ‘what it means to know’, it also grapples with the issue ‘why does it matter that one knows’.

People who learn must eventually come to a knowledge of the truth.

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