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African Literature in Chinese Translation (非洲文学: 中文译本)

Wolof-to-Mandarin rendition: The Epic of Jolof King Alburi Njaay (excerpt)

Alburi Njaay, the Muslim ruler of Senegambia in the late 19th century, fought actively — though unsuccessfully in the end — against the French presence in West Africa’s Sénégal, and the colonial power’s efforts to extend its reach to his territory. He is the hero of an orally transmitted epic in Wolof, which has been textualized in French and entitled L’épopée d’Alburi Njaay.

Constituent states of the Jolof Empire

Wolof is estimated to possess some 10 million speakers in Sénégal, Gambia and Mauritania. A standardized Latin script has been in use since 1985, but earlier scripts co-exist, such as Wolofal, a traditional Arabic-based transcription.

Host of the Chinese-language blog Dayanggung has left Morocco, passed through Western Sahara (disputed territory occupied by Morocco) and Mauritania, and has apparently now reached Sénégal, where he is now being tutored in Wolof.

This is a brief excerpt from the epic, with the Wolof transliteration followed by his Chinese rendition:

Seynabu

Wal cere

Di togg yápp.

Di teertu.

Alburi Pëya Biram

Ak Biram Penda Njéeme Njote miy boroom këram,

Yàlla def ñu teggi ko,

Dem Ngënëneen.

塞纳布

捣谷煮肉,

摆酒设宴,准备迎接

阿尔布里•佩牙•比拉姆

与丈夫,比拉姆•彭达•恩杰姆•恩交特。

谁料,他俩中途迷路,绕过塞纳布,行至恩根能村。

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