Mpfula Ya Na (Tribute ‘Birdie’ Mboweni) – Translation

Mpfula Ya Na
Tribute ‘Birdie’ Mboweni

Mpfula ya na mtho-tho-tho
[Rain is falling, mtho-tho-tho (‘pitter-patter’)]
Hi ta dya marhanga mtho-tho-tho
[We will eat watermelons (or pumpkins?), mtho-tho-tho]
Mpfula ya na mtho-tho-tho
[Rain is falling, mtho-tho-tho]
Hi ta dya timanga mtho-tho-tho
[We will eat peanuts, pitter-patter]
Mpfula ya na mtho-tho-tho
[Rain is falling, mtho-tho-tho]
Hi ta dya swifaki mtho-tho-tho
[We will eat corn, mtho-tho-tho]

Ximumu xi fikile
[Summer has come]
Hi kunene hi tsakile
[Indeed we are glad]
Mihandzu ni swiharhi
[Fruit and animals]
Va kokwana va rimile
[The elders have ploughed]
Ximumu hi xo lexi
[This is summer]
Xi fikile ma xi vona ke?
[It has arrived, do you see now?]
Xi hi tisela ti mpfulo
[It brings us rains]
Mi ta twa swihlangi swi ku:
[You will hear little children saying…]:

Mpfula ya na mtho-tho-tho
[Rain is falling, mtho-tho-tho (‘pitter-patter’)]
Hi ta dya marhanga mtho-tho-tho
[We will eat watermelons, mtho-tho-tho]
Mpfula ya na mtho-tho-tho
[Rain is falling, mtho-tho-tho]
Hi ta dya timanga mtho-tho-tho
[We will eat peanuts, pitter-patter]
Mpfula ya na mtho-tho-tho
[Rain is falling, mtho-tho-tho]
Hi ta dya swifaki mtho-tho-tho
[We will eat corn, mtho-tho-tho]

Ke eo pula e tlile
[Here is the rain, it has come] *(seSotho)
E tlisitse mahlohonolo
[It has surely brought blessings/good fortunes] *(seSotho)
Helang! Bonang!
[Hey everyone! Look!] *(seSotho)
Lethabo naheng kaofela
[Joy through all the land] *(seSotho)
Swihlangi swa phokotela
[Little children are clapping]
Swi tlanga mpfuleni manano
[They are playing in the rain (manano?)]
Van’wana va ta biwa
[Children will be scolded]
Kambe u ta twa va ku
[But you will still hear them saying…]

Mpfula ya na mtho-tho-tho
[Rain is falling, mtho-tho-tho (‘pitter-patter’)]
Hi ta dya marhanga mtho-tho-tho
[We will eat watermelons, mtho-tho-tho]
Mpfula ya na mtho-tho-tho
[Rain is falling, mtho-tho-tho]
Hi ta dya timanga mtho-tho-tho
[We will eat peanuts, pitter-patter]
Mpfula ya na mtho-tho-tho
[Rain is falling, mtho-tho-tho]
Hi ta dya swifaki mtho-tho-tho
[We will eat corn, mtho-tho-tho]

Marhanga, swifaki, timanga
[Watermelons, corn, penuts]
Na makwakwa hi ta dya mhane
[And makwakwa fruit**, we will eat (mhane??)]
Hi ta xurha kuvava makhwirhi
[We will be so full our tummies will ache]
Hi nyanyuka hi hlekelela
[We will laugh and be merry]
Tekani swikomu mirhwala (mirwala?)
[Take your ploughs, (let’s carry them?)]
A hi yeni masin’wini
[Let’s go to the fields]
Hi ya rima hi tlhela hi byala
[We are farming, we (thlela??) and we plant]
Swi ta mila swi tsakiso
[It will yield a pleasing harvest]

Mpfula ya na mtho-tho-tho
[Rain is falling, mtho-tho-tho (‘pitter-patter’)]
Hi ta dya marhanga mtho-tho-tho
[We will eat watermelons, mtho-tho-tho]
Mpfula ya na mtho-tho-tho
[Rain is falling, mtho-tho-tho]
Hi ta dya timanga mtho-tho-tho
[We will eat peanuts, pitter-patter]
Mpfula ya na mtho-tho-tho
[Rain is falling, mtho-tho-tho]
Hi ta dya swifaki mtho-tho-tho
[We will eat corn, mtho-tho-tho]

Ximumu xi fikile
[Summer has come]
Hi kunene hi tsakile
[Indeed we are glad]
Mihandzu ni swiharhi
[Fruit and animals]
Va kokwana va rimile
[The elders have ploughed]
Ximumu hi xo lexi
[This is summer]
Xi fikile ma xi vona ke?
[It has arrived, do you see now?]
Xi hi tisela ti mpfulo
[It brings us rains]
U ta twa swihlangi swi ku:
[You will hear little children saying…]:

Mpfula ya na, mpfula ya na
[Rain is falling, rain is falling]

Note: The chorus of the song is derived from a traditional tsonga nursery rhyme that would be sung by young children to celebrate the coming of the rainy season.

**Makwakwa fruit: strychnos spinosa or ‘natal orange’.

Lyrics provided by Tribute ‘Birdie’ Mboweni (thank you, hakhensa).

Translation by Zanokuhle Mabuza.

Online dictionaries:
xiTsonga dicionary
seSotho dictionary

Follow Birdie on social media:
Facebook – @TJMboweni
Twitter – @birdieworldwide

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