andikubalisele ibali lokugqibela kwam ukuya eNanjing. Ndimile kwindlela ekuthiwa yi Zhong Yang, ndibukele umfazi ondandimshiya ngeminyaka emibalwa ehamba kwi pavemente elandelwa yinja encincane emhlope. Unxibe konke lubhelu, ukhanya ingathi ngumtshakazi. Xa ndiqikelela iiminyaka yakhe, ndiyamazi ukuba fanba wayekhona nge Cultural Revolution, ngela xesha wonke umntu waye nyanzelekile ukuba anxibe iimpahla ezi luhlaza. Fanba waye khona nange xhesha le reform, ku strika abafundi. Ba ukhulele apha, fanba uyakhumbula kungekho mbane ngobusika, nangona kwakusiwa ikhepu. Umbane wayengekho nangexesha lehlobo.
Utshintsa kwe robots, uyagoba acole inja yakhe, awele isitalato eyiphethe. Lonto inja yakhe uyiphatha okwe sana. Na xa ewelile isitalato, inja uyibeka pantsi okwe sana. Inja imane izijikajika, ibaleka emveni kwakhe njemba isihla nge pavemente.
Ngamanye amaxhesha inguquko iba njena: iba ngumfazi onxibe lubhelu ohamba kwi pavemente nenja yakhe ephatwa okwe sana.
Ndiyakhumbula ngokuya izinja zazinga vumelekanga, ngoku iqela lama komanisi lalisithi izinja ziveza ukungalingani kwabantu.
Ngoku ndandi ngumfundi kwi university yase Nanjing sekhuzo phela unyaka ka1980, abafundi base China zabendi xelela ngezilwanyana abakhe babanazo. Ithuba loba nezilwanyana balifumana ngoku kwasweleka uMao ngo nyaka ka1976, kuphela inguquko yesintu, kuzongena uDeng Xiaoping ngoDecember ka 1978. Kwakungekho mntu oyaziyo ba isimo siyaphi okanye ngendlela enjani.
Omnye wabafundi owandibaliselayo wayese primary school. Ukhumbula ukuba kwaveske kwa kwazeka uba nezilwanyane edolophini. Nabatyali baza neenjana neekatana bezozi thengisa. Wathengelwa injana ngabazali bakhe, kodwa umthetho waphinda watshintsha. Inoba ukhusela iizigulo kwakunzima, urhulumente esithi kunga gula abantu abanintsi. Inja yakhe wayeyithanda, yafihlwa ba mayingabonwa ngama pholisa. Xa ekhumbula, uthi ba nintsi abantu abenza lonto, befihla iizilwanyana zabo ngaphakathi, iikati neezinja zikhutshwa phandle abantu xa beqinisekile ukuba amapholisa awekho nyani.
Ukhumbula iyimini enjalo ephandle edlala nenja yakhe, injana encinci. Inoba walibala uqaphela okanye inoba yayi ngama pholisa awakhawuleza ufika, okanye inoba amapholisa wawesazi ukhuti abantu babe senzani. Wava nje imphemphe, amapholisa athi gqi. Umakhulu wakhe waphuma msinyane- inoba abazali bakhe babe phangele – wamthuthuzela elila. Amapholisa ayithatha inja yakhe kunye nezinye izinja zabakhelwane, izinja bazi betha ngama gqudu, kwase’stratweni.
Wathi, “Soze ndilibale.”
Translator’s Note: When the editor of the New England Review Carolyn Kuebler met with us on January 25, she shared that one of publication’s main considerations is that translations read well in English. When asked for clarity she remarked that “reading well in English” means that the translation does not come off as unnatural to the readers of NER. In order to maintain the journal’s high literary standards, it was important for me to ensure that my translation would also “read well” for Xhosa speakers should they come across the New England Review.
Our classmate Michael Koutelos inquired into how much of the translator’s unique writing voice should be represented in our submissions. Kuebler noted that it would be more consistent with the literary standards of the New England Review for the translator to capture the author’s original voice rather than re-present it.
As a result of this clarification, in this instance I have decided to reject translation scholar Daniel Simeoni’s argument for increased agency on the part of the translator, as presented by Professor Hanta during the same Zoom discussion. Instead, my translation style turned towards increased subservience to May-lee’s Chai’s personal documentation of her experiences, which I have adapted only to improve the piece’s readability to Xhosa speakers.
The first and most drastic adaptation I have made to “Women of Nanjing” is to reword the essay’s introductory line. This decision was taken due to the linguistic incompatibility of the usage of the word “recent” with Xhosa morphology. While the Xhosa language does have the linguistic mechanisms to refer to moments preceding the present speaking time, the concept “recent” is generally used to refer to events that occurred within a relatively short time frame of the aspect adopted by the speaker. This means that the concept associated with the “recent” is not used to refer to events that occur far in the past as in the case of the moment recounted by Chai.
To address this discrepancy, I chose to replace the line “on a recent trip to Nanjing” with “let me tell you about when I went to Nanjing.” While the two sentences are not exactly the same, the Xhosa reader understands that the narrator is visiting a place that they are not completely familiar with, with additional grammatical clues serving to point out that the narrator’s account is taking place in the “recent” past.
Furthermore, inclusion of the introductory line “let me tell you” is offered in consideration of the way that Xhosa speakers have offered their accounts across history. As a culture whose storytelling tradition is rich in “call and response” techniques that help facilitate audience engagement, the “let me tell you about…” serves to personalize the narrator and keep the audience engaged and invested in the narrators account that is due to follow.