Poem: Ithe na nyina wa Njoroge (Dear Njoroge’s mum and dad)

(scroll down for the English translation)

Tondũ nĩ muoiga mwenjwo gĩthũngũ
Na ciana cianyu mwagiria cimenye Gĩkũyũ
Muoiga mũtikwenda gũcamba
Mũtikwenda ngahĩha cia ũkabira

Tondũ ni mwarega gũtwara ciana cianyu gĩcagi
Muoiga mũtikwenda marange ndoro
Matiĩhota gũkaria gĩtheri, ndũma na mĩanga
Muoiga mũkwenda mĩgate, keki na nyama
Ciana muoiga cithiyathe gĩcagi o hingo ya mathiko na moohiki

Rĩu tareke ndimũrie atĩrĩrĩ,
thimo, ndai na ng’ano
mĩgiro na magongona,

kĩrĩra na ũtaari rĩĩ,
makamenyera kũ?

Translation: Dear Njoroge’s mum and dad

Now that you have asked to be shaven in English
and said that you do not want your children learning Kikuyu
because this will embarrass you
and you also want to avoid being seen as tribalistic

Now that you have both refused to take your children to see their grandparents
and said that the mud and dirt in rural areas is too much
that their teeth are delicate
can’t chew on corn, arrowroots and cassava
and you said, they prefer bread, cakes and sausages
the only time they go to your rural village
is for funerals and weddings

when will ever learn
our culture, our traditions
our wise sayings, our idioms
the wisdom of our ancestors
where will they ever learn these things from?

This poem, Ithe na Nyina wa Njoroge ( Dear Njoroge’s mum and dad) is part of a collection of 10 poems that I wrote themed around Indigenous people, culture, life, love, nature, and the advocacy for indigenous languages against cultural imperialism. The 10 poems were commissioned by The Joint Board of South and North Korea for the Compilation of Gyeoremal-Keunsajeon for the 2nd International Academic Forum on Sustainable Development of Indigenous Languages. The virtual event took place on November 25th & 26th 2021( Watch a video of the event here)

The recital appearing in the above video was done by my dear mother, Emily Wangari wa Thindiu

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