Angola: Kitanda – A Gateway to the African “Lusosphere”

If you ever want to get your way into the African “lusosphere”, one of the best places to start is the blog “Kitanda” (“Marketplace” in Kimbundu, one of Angola's national languages).

Kitanda has become along the years, since its launch in 2004, an unavoidable reference in the “lusosphere”. Mainly dedicated to showcasing poetry written in Portuguese by authors from all lusophone countries, Kitanda also often offers a critical look at social and political events in those countries and internationally, all wrapped with evocative pictures, incidental music and, perhaps more importantly, a comprehensive blogroll of the “lusosphere”.

The attached post is just one example of its spirit. It presents the song “Luanda” and its lyrics, by Luanda’s hiphop group “Kalibrados”, expressing the sorrows and highs of Angola’s capital and its citizens. The song is particularly enriched by the use of a choral line from one of the pearls of Angolan music, “Monami” (“My Child” in Kimbundu) by a prominent Angolan singer, the late Lourdes Vandunem. Here’s the (possible) translation:

Fico malaíko com as cenas que constato
Queres ver Luanda, vê primeiro Ecos e Factos
Se água tem, energia não tem.
Se energia tem, água não tem,
nem tudo tá sebem.
A maioria não se importa é só tchillar
Sexta farrar,
sábado no bar,
segunda a kubar.
E Luanda vai morrendo lentamente.
Sem jovens para erguer uma capital diferente.
Se não formos nós, quem fará por nós?
O estrangeiro explora e foge
nunca querer saber de nós.
Não há estrilho, para tudo existe um prazo.
Nossa existência não é obra do acaso.
Digam de que forma a gente vai criticar,
vai relatar, não só Luanda,
Angola vai mudar.

Só a mudança para sarar minha ferida,
ua ué Luanda, amor da minha vida.

Essa é a minha, a tua, a nossa, vossa banda.
Essa é a minha, a tua, a nossa, vossa Luanda.

A preto e branco, como vês, nua e crua,
crua e nua,
conclusões efectua
O kimbundo? nana.
O português? Fala-se mal!
Não é normal,
em termos de linguagem, tá-se mal.
Luz, niente, água, niente.
É melhor eu me calar para não ser inconveniente.
O tempo da TPA, quase todo já foi-se.
Porque quase todos têm em casa, a Multichoice.
Channel O, MTV, KTV, CBC, SIC, Globo, RTPI.
Sim, a globalização tem força,
vemos outras culturas e esquecemo-nos da nossa.
Tu vês que eu não falo a toa.
Roulottes em Luanda é tipo cafés em Lisboa.
Reparem só, analisem com atenção:
sobre o preço da gasolina, sobre o preço do pão.
Sobe quase tudo, só o salário que não.
Bwé de makas, bwé de estrilhos, bwé de kilingas mayuya.

Mas mesmo assim, minha Luanda kuia.
Mas ‘inda assim, minha Luanda kuia.
Mas mesmo assim, minha Luanda kuia.
Mas ‘inda assim, minha Luanda kuia.

Bem-vindo a Luanda, a cidade que acontece,
onde todos são pausados, todos são kaenches,
onde há bwé de problemas, mas ninguém tá preocupado.
Muitos passam fome, mas tão sempre bem grifados.
Não há retalhos, problemas é a grosso.
Tá na moda formar grupo e dar com catana nos outros.
Tem dicas para rir, tem dicas pra chorar.
E o Luandense até nos óbitos, gosta de se mostrar.
Isso é Luanda, ninguém respeita nada.
Com conversa, não se entendem,
só se entendem com porrada.
Fico malaíko com o clima da cidade,
na porta da discoteca, todos são celebridade
Ninguém pode esperar, todo mundo quer ser visto.
“Hey brother, sou VIP”. Comé, brother, evita isso!
Esse mambo tá empestado de ilusão,
Luanda é uma selva onde todos querem ser o leão.

I get malaiko (dazed) with the scenes I get
You want to see Luanda, see first Echoes and Facts
If there’s water, there’s no energy.
If there’s energy, there’s no water,
not everything’s alright.
The majority doesn’t care, its just chill
Friday party,
Saturday bar
Monday kubar (sleep).
And Luanda is slowly dying.
Without young blood to build a different capital.
If it’s not us, who will do it for us?
The foreigner exploits and runs away
never cares about us.
There’s no trouble, for everything there’s a time.
Our existence is not by chance.
Tell us how we will criticise, report,
not only Luanda,
Angola will change. Only change can heal my wound,
ua ué (lament) Luanda, love of my life.
That’s mine, yours, ours, your banda (“hood”/place).
That’s mine, yours, ours, your Luanda.
In black and white, as you see,
nude and crude,
crude and nude,
affects conclusions
Kimbundo? Nope.
Portuguese? Badly spoken!
It ain’t normal, in language terms, we’re in bad shape.
Light, none, water, none.
Better I shut up not to be inconvenient.

All TPA (Angolan Public Television) time is almost gone.
’Cause everybody’s got at home, the Multichoice.
Channel O, MTV, KTV, CBC, SIC, Globo, RTPI.
Yes, globalization is strong,
we see other cultures
and forget about ours.
See, I don’t speak just for speak’s sake.
Roulottes in Luanda is kind of cafés in Lisbon.
Just look, pay attention:
to the price of fuel, to the price of bread.
Everything’s going up, only the salary not.
Bwé (lots) of makas (disputes),
Bwé of estrilhos (problems),
Bwé de kilingas mayuya (crazy stuff).

But even so, my Luanda kuia (thrills).
But still, my Luanda kuia.
But even so, my Luanda kuia.
But still, my Luanda kuia.

Welcome to Luanda, the city that happens,
where everybody’s paused, all are cool,
Where there’s bwé of problems, but nobody’s troubled.
Many go hungry, but are always designer dressed.
There’s no piecemeal, problems are in bulk.
It’s fashionable to form groups
and attack others with machettes.
There’s dicas (tips) for laugh, there’s dicas for cry.
And the Luandense even in mourning likes to show off.
This is Luanda, nobody respects nothing.
With talk they don’t understand each other,
only with fight.

I get malaiko with the city’s vibe,
on the club’s door, everybody’s a celebrity
Nobody can wait, everybody wants to be seen.
“Hey brother, I’m VIP”. How’s it, brother, forget about it!
That mambo (thing) is pestered by illusion.
Luanda is a jungle where everybody wants to be the lion.

12 comments

  • I enjoyed reading this! My husband is from Luanda and he speaks both Portuguese and Kimbundu. I’m excited to introduce Angolan hip-hop to my husband who’s been away from home for 7 years now. I learned a new word “Kitanda” that I will be excited to share with him. :)

  • […] 7, 2007 por Daniel Duende Descobri, através deste post no Global Voices Online o blogue poético-social Kitanda (e quem disse que blogues precisam de […]

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