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Kaváfis – Also In Dutch and Afrikaans

02.04.2013

The Department of Modern Greek Language and Literature at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan organised commemorative celebrations marking 150 years since the birth of the Greek poet Constantine K. Cavafy. A series of events will take place in the city of Poznan throughout the year.

The launching date of the celebrations took place on World Poetry Day - March 21, 2013 with a poetry evening dedicated to the Greek poet K. Cavafy, entitled: “In a foreign language our sorrow and love fade away”. The event started with a lecture by the author and last translator of Cavafy’s poems in the Polish language, Mr. Antoni Libera. This was followed by a reading of several of K. Cavafy’s poems in more than 16 different languages - Polish, Greek, French, Croatian, Bulgarian and Spanish to name but a few.

http://wa.amu.edu.pl/dutchafrikaans/pictures/kawafis/Antoni%20Libera.jpg

Antoni Libera

The Department of Dutch and South African studies also took part. Senior lecturer Mr. Jo Sterckx presented two translated poems in Dutch. After consulting with lecturers Paschalis Eythymiou and Christos Bintoudis from the Greek Department and looking at various English translations, lecturers Mathilda Smit and Karen Kuhn each translated a poem into Afrikaans.

Hul Ontstaan

Die vervulling van hul vreemde genot
is volbring. Hul staan op van die matras
en trek aan, gejaagd, stil.
Een-een verlaat hul die huis, skaam; en
soos hul ietwat skugter padlangs stap, blyk dit
hul vermoed iets van hulself verraai
die vreemde lakens waartussen hul vroeër was.

Maar hoe is die digter se lewe nie verryk.
Môre, oormôre, of jare daarna die gloeiende
strofes gepenetreer met net hier hul ontstaan.

(Translation: Mathilda Smit)

Lyf, Onthou

Lyf, onthou nie net hoe lief daar vir jou was
nie net die lakens waarop jy gelê het nie,
maar ook daardie begeertes wat
nakend vir jou in oë geglim het,
en in die stem gebewe het – en sekere
onvoorsiene hindernisse wat hul frustreer het.
Nou dat dit alles aan die verlede behoort
lyk dit of jy jouself ook oorgegee het
aan daardie begeertes – al glimmend,
onthou, in die oë wat jou ontklee het,
hoe het hul nie gebewe in die stem vir jou, onthou, lyf!

(Translation: Karen Kuhn)

Forty poems were recited without any interruption, creating a universal voice to commemorate this dynamic Greek poet.

http://wa.amu.edu.pl/dutchafrikaans/pictures/kawafis/Mathilda%20Smit.jpg

Mathilda Smit

Photos: Mirela Šavrljuga

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