Summarize or Not


This question simply asks “should poems recited in Sesotho (or any other African language) be translated and briefly summarized in English to explain them to those who maybe at such poetry shows where a particular poet may have offered his work in Sesotho?” and could one expect an answer to this question to be given in a closed-ended form or open-ended form?
Allow me to give you a scenario of what triggered this question. Some time in 2009 LB was invited to a poetry show at Machabeng College Lesotho, by Fabrix of Rhythmix (the then poetry club). When LB was called on to the stage LB made a brief introduction in English and my poem entirely in Sesotho. After that performance which was highly appreciated by the audience (of different ages and races, as Machabeng College is an international school) the MC of the show quickly and briefly summarized my poem to the non-Sesotho speaking part of the audience.
And the question still stands, was it at all necessary for such translation and summarization? Doesn’t such an act dilute the beauty of appreciation, (which LB believes can still exist even without such)? Take for instance, Poetry Africa; one of the biggest international poetry festivals in South Africa. How appropriate would it be if every poet who recited a poem written in any language except English would then have to summarize it in English after?
One cannot argue or change the fact that English is a universal language, but LB feels that if my Sesotho poem would always be summarized in English after every performance, then that would be highly disregarding the language LB used and its people.
LB believes that poets are but individuals who have fallen in love with language and have learnt to play with it, no matter what the language is, and may it be realized that LB doesn’t use Sesotho in some of his poems to act as a custodian or savior of the Sesotho language, which some may argue is slowly diminishing in literature. LB simply uses it because he have fallen in love with the language.
One would quickly ask, “if then you say you don’t prefer to have your poems summarized, how do you expect people to relate to what you saying on stage?” LB would quickly respond thus, “how I offer my poetry on stage does to a certain extend have an impact on whether people relate to me or not, despite the language that I have used”


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