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post Songs of Ndongo

February 1st, 2011

Filed under: Literature Corner — Natty Mark Samuels @ 02:35

Songs of Ndongo

A Poem for Voices

1st Voice
I was a slave
Running from Luanda
Finding sanctuary
Alongside Queen Nzinga.

2nd Voice
We ran from Luanda
We ran from Benguela
From the ships to Brazil
The ships to Cuba

1st Voice
I ran and ran
To be a free man

2nd Voice
All the way to Matamba;
To fight with Queen Nzinga.

Voices
Mbundu Man
From the Kingdon of Ndongo
Enslaved by the people
From the Kingdom of Kongo.

1st Voice
They tricked the Mani Kongo
With their words
And their brand of Christianity.
Needing numbers
For their sugar trade
On the isle of Sao Tome.

Voices:
Church and Crown
Church and Crown

2nd Voice
Slavery made easier
With those two around.

Voices
Crown issued the license

1st Voice
Levied the tax

Voices
Church gave the blessing

1st Voice
Morality lax.

1st Voice
Her brother the King
Sent her to Luanda
To speak for Ndongo
The trusted Ambassador.
Turned to Christianity
The name Anna de Souza
The Portuguese Governor
Her new ‘godfather’.

2nd Voice
A great diplomat
Signed a promising treaty
Governor changed his mind
The continuance of cruelty.

1st Voice
The Portuguese invader
Was a skilled manipulator.
He tricked the Mani Kongo
He tricked the Ngola
Outdoing the brother
But couldn’t ensnare the sister

3rd Voice
Heard her brother committed suicide
Is it true?
Is it true?

2nd Voice
Ndongo was weak
Nzinga is strong
Time to build anew

Voices
Watching the Kwanza flow,
She sat by herself,
Singing songs of Ndongo.

1st Voice
She sat for awhile
Delaying as long as she could
The entrance into exile

Queen Nzinga
Great River Kwanza
I shall return
But now I have to go.
I shall return
The question is when
The answer I do not know.
River and land
Beautiful land
Time to leave Ndongo.

Voices
Into the place called exile
She led them by the hand

Queen Nzinga
This is war
This the first battle
We shall return to Mbunduland

Voices
Watching a river flow,
She would sit by herself,
Singing songs of Ndongo.

II

1st Voice
So off they went
Into Matambaland
Taking the Kingdom
Of Matamba man.

2nd Voice
Exodus of Ndongo
Mbundu citizen
Some stayed with the puppet man
Puppet King of Lisbon.

1st Voice
Imposter

2nd Voice
Faker

3rd Voice
Traitor

Queen Nzinga
How could he call himself Ngola?
When the only voice he hears
Is that of the Portuguese governor

1st Voice
But they came
To fight alongside Queen Nzinga
From the Portuguese army
The African defector

2nd Voice
Men who became slaves
Running from Luanda

3rd Voice
Soldiers for hire -
The Imbangala

3rd Voice
The Imbangala
Dislocated through drought
Raiding and killing
Rout after rout
They worked for the Portuguese
So Ndongo would cease
The feared mercenaries
Who founded Kasanje
From the central highlands
Around the Kwango River
Once our enemies
Now allied with Queen Nzinga

1st Voice
Young people in her army

Voices
A force called Kilombo

2nd Voice
Left family ties

Voices
To join a Kilombo

3rd Voice
Fighting together

Voices
Freedom Kilombo

Voices
Watching a river flow,
She would sit by herself,
Singing songs of Ndongo.

III

3rd Voice
She married the Imbangala chief
Agreement
A bonding
A treaty of defiance
Brand new attempt
Of the vision of alliance.

2nd Voice
But then betrayal
Imbangala invaded Matamba
Husband against wife
Kasanje fighting Nzinga

1st Voice
He tried a few times
To beat this fighter
But he couldn’t dethrone
The Queen of Matamba.

1st Voice
Then one day
The Dutchmen came
Conquering Luanda

2nd Voice
Queen Nzinga
In another alliance
Dreaming of old Kabasa.

1st Voice
She fought the puppet King
Alongside Netherlander
At the stronghold of Mansango
At the Battle of of Kombi
Leading her soldiers
Dreaming of Ndongo.

2nd Voice
But the daylight changed
Return to nightmare
Reinforcements from Brazil
With the Dutch defeated
She was forced to return
To sit on Matamba Hill.

3rd Voice
She won at Ngolome
But lost at Kayanga
They captured her sister
And drowned her in the Kwanza.
Her soldiers wept beside her
On the return to Matamba

Voices
Watching a river flow,
She would sit by herself,
Singing songs of Ndongo.

IV

1st Voice
She ruled her people
For forty years
Queen of no surrender
She stopped the invader
From going further
Invading the interior.

2nd Voice
After all the battles
Often leading from the front
She died a peaceful death
Dying in Matamba.

1st Voice
Diplomat

3rd Voice
Military strategist

2nd Voice
A great freedom fighter

Voices
We salute you Queen Nzinga.

Voices
Watching a river flow,
She would sit by herself,
Singing songs of Ndongo.

©Natty Mark Samuels, 2008.

1 Comment »

  1. How could I get hold of the above song’s full music?

    Comment by Didier — 28. December 2011 @ 22:02

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