Posts Tagged ‘Jimmy Santiago Baca vertaling in Afrikaans’

Jimmy Santiago Baca. Vertaling in Afrikaans

Saturday, March 6th, 2021

 

Jimmy Santiago Baca (1952 – ). Vertaling van Engels in Afrikaans. Vert. deur Waldemar Gouws

 

Immigrante in ons eie land

 

Ons word met drome in ons hart gebore,

op soek na iets beters vorentoe.

By die hek kry ons nuwe dokumente,

ons ou klere word weggevat

en ons kry oorpakke om te dra soos werktuigkundiges.

Ons kry inspuitings en dokters vra vrae.

Dan kom ons bymekaar in ‘n ander vertrek

waar beraders ons oriënteer oor die nuwe land

waarin ons nou gaan woon. Ons lê toetse af.

Van ons was vakmanne in die ou wêreld,

knap met ons hande en trots op ons werk.

Andere was goed met hul koppe.

Hulle het gesonde verstand gebruik soos wat geleerdes

‘n bril en boeke benut om die wêreld te bereik.

Maar die meeste van ons het nie met hoërskool klaargemaak nie.

 

Die ou manne van hier staar ons aan,

vanuit diep gesteurde oë, nors, teruggetrokke.

Ons stap by hulle verby waar hulle ledig rondstaan,

terwyl hulle op grawe of harke of teen die mure leun.

Ons verwagtings is hoog: in die ou wêreld

het hulle gepraat van rehabilitasie,

van die geleentheid om met skool klaar te maak,

en om ‘n ekstra goeie ambag te bemeester.

Maar sommer dadelik is ons gestuur om as skottelgoedwassers te werk,

of op die land teen drie sent ‘n uur.

Die administrasie sê dis net tydelik,

Daarom gaan ons maar so aan, swartes saam met swartes,

arm wittes saam met arm wittes,

chicano’s en indiane op hul eie.

Die administrasie sê dis reg so,

g’n gemengery van kulture, laat hulle apart bly,

soos in die ou buurte vanwaar ons gekom het.

 

Ons het hierheen gekom om weg te kom van valse beloftes,

van diktators in ons buurte,

geklee in blou pakke, wat ons deure afgebreek het

wanneer hulle wou, ons gearresteer het wanneer hulle so gevoel het,

met swaaiende knuppels, en wat pistole na willekeur afgevuur het.

Maar dis glad nie anders hier nie. Dis bloot gekonsentreerd.

Die dokters voel niks nie, ons liggame gaan agteruit,

ons verstand versleg, ons leer niks van waarde nie.

Ons lewens verbeter nie, ons is vinnig op die afdraand.

 

Wasgoeddrade loop kruis en dwars in my sel,

my T-hemde, onderbroeke, sokkies en broek word droog.

Net soos wat dit was in my woonbuurt:

van al die woonstelle het wasgoed van venster tot venster gehang.

Van die oorkant steek Joey nou sy hand

deur die tralies om vir Felipé ‘n sigaret aan te gee,

mans roep uit oor en weer van sel tot sel,

sê hul wasbakke werk nie,

of een skreeu kwaai van die onderste verdieping af,

oor ‘n toilet wat oorloop,

of dat die verwarmers stukkend is.

 

Ek vra vir Jakkals langsaan om nog ‘n stukkie seep

oor te gooi dat ek my wasgoed kan klaarmaak.

Ek kyk ondertoe en sien nuwe immigrante inkom,

opgerolde matrasse oor die skouers,

met nuwe haarstyle en kort stewels,

hoe hulle rondkyk, elkeen met ‘n droom in die hart,

en dink hulle gaan ‘n kans kry om hul lewens te verander.

 

Maar op die ou end sal party net rondsit

en praat oor hoe goed die ou wêreld was.

Van die jongeres sal party die bendelewe kies.

Sommiges sal doodgaan en ander sal bly leef

sonder ‘n siel, ‘n toekoms, of ‘n rede om te lewe.

Sommiges sal dit regkry om hier uit te kom net so menslik

as wat hulle ingekom het, hulle vertrek en wonder waarvoor is hulle nou goed

as hulle na hul hande kyk vir so lank weg van hul gereedskap,

as hul na hulself kyk, so lank geskei van familiemense,

so lank weg van die lewe self, so baie dinge het verander.

 

***

 

Immigrants in our own land

 

We are born with dreams in our hearts,

looking for better days ahead.

At the gates we are given new papers,

our old clothes are taken

and we are given overalls like mechanics to wear.

We are given shots and doctors ask questions.

Then we gather in another room

where counselors orient us to the new land

we will now live in. We take tests.

Some of us were craftsmen in the old world,

good with our hands and proud of our work.

Others were good with their heads.

They used common sense like scholars

use glasses and books to reach the world.

But most of us didn’t finish high school.

 

The old men who have lived here stare at us,

from deep disturbed eyes, sulking, retreated.

We pass them as they stand around idle,

leaning on shovels and rakes or against walls.

Our expectations are high: in the old world,

they talked about rehabilitation,

about being able to finish school,

and learning an extra good trade.

But right away we are sent to work as dishwashers,

to work in fields for three cents an hour.

The administration says this is temporary.

So we go about our business, blacks with blacks,

poor whites with poor whites,

chicanos and indians by themselves.

The administration says this is right,

no mixing of cultures, let them stay apart,

like in the old neighborhoods we came from.

 

We came here to get away from false promises,

from dictators in our neighborhoods,

who wore blue suits and broke our doors down

when they wanted, arrested us when they felt like,

swinging clubs, and shooting guns as they pleased.

But it’s no different here. It’s all concentrated.

The doctors don’t care, our bodies decay,

Our minds deteriorate, we learn nothing of value.

Our lives don’t get better, we go down quick.

 

My cell is crisscrossed with laundry lines,

my T-shirts, boxer shorts, socks and pants are drying.

Just like it used to be in my neighbourhood:

from all the tenements laundry hung window to window.

Across the way Joey is sticking his hands

through the bars to hand Felipé a cigarette,

men are hollering back and forth cell to cell,

saying their sinks don’t work,

or somebody downstairs hollers angrily,

about a toilet overflowing,

or that the heaters don’t work.

 

I ask Coyote next door to shoot me over

a little more soap to finish my laundry.

I look down and see new immigrants coming in,

mattresses rolled up and on their shoulders,

new haircuts and brogan boots,

looking around, each with a dream in their heart,   

thinking they’ll get a chance to change their lives.

 

But in the end, some will just sit around

talking about how good the old world was.

Some of the younger ones will become gangsters.

Some will die and others will go on living

without a soul, a future, or a reason to live.

Some will make it out of here as human

as they came in, they leave wondering what good they are now

as they look at their hands so long away from their tools,

as they look at themselves, so long gone from their families,

so long gone from life itself, so many things have changed.

 

Uit: Forché, Carolyn (ed.). 1993. Against Forgetting: Twentieth-Century Poetry of Witness. Edited and with an Introduction by Carolyn Forché. New York: WW Norton (pp. 672-674).