Peace, reconciliation, humility, ethical leadership, love and forgiveness – these have become synonymous with the iconic public figure, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. To mark Mandela’s centenary, as one of the most influential figures of our time, the National Library of South Africa published a multilingual poetry anthology titled 100 Echoes of Madiba’s Century.
Informed by Mandela’s love for language and reading, it was befitting to pay tribute to Mandela through the anthology of poetry. Interestingly, Mandela had a special love for poetry, which he attributed to keeping him serene and grounded while he was incarcerated. It should therefore not come as a surprise that his favourite poem was Invictus by William Ernest Henley.
To borrow from Mandela’s exemplary principles of diversity and inclusion, the NLSA highlighted the richness and diversity of South African writing by producing 100 Echoes of Madiba’s Century consisting of 100 poems of 100 words in 12 languages. We have learnt, as Nelson Mandela did, that Pan-African integration and unity are paramount for nation building hence the inclusion of the Khoe language in addition to the 11 official South African languages.
One of the poems dedicated to Nelson Mandela is Dadatse a poem by Denver Breda in the Khoe language.
Ti aboxan di kaitse
Dadatse khoen !aroma ge !khohetse
Khoese khoeda di kai xam
Sida !aromats ge !kham
Hoaraga xuna ge ditse ores !oa
Duru tsuxus !nâ |usase omsa xu ǂoa
Xu-i xa ||khaehe ||oasase khoen xa ǂâi
Sa ||aes ni ǂanhes |guis a !gai
Ae. Aotse,taras tsi |gôana xu
Toroba ra !khodana, is dansa |gu
Kai ǂgamatse, khoese khoetse
||Kha||kha-aotse ǂgom!gâsen hȃtse
Ais aisi mȃ tsi !gôasiba ge !kho|gara
Mȃsen tsin |nî khoena ge ǂhara
Nesi !gom ȗib tsi ra tsȗ kai
|Aob sa khoen dib ge !garob ai
O ge mîhe Dadab Mandelab xa,||nȃu !axa khoe
Koǂga,mȗnanai tsi tsamtsi !nȃ khoe
Ti ȏa mȃ!oabasen
Ti ȏa khȃimabasen
Sada ga !ȃubasen o !nâ
Tsîda ga |gapi ǂȃixa !nâ
Os sa |umisa nî |ni khoeb di
Khaima khoe |gȏa ǂgose ma î
Ta ǂoab !na ǂnau ais ||ga
Sa gowaba ȏa î |gawa
Sa gowab !nâ |nae î naba