Song for Dar
I wrote this in Dar es Salaam,Tanzania, on a research trip. I wanted to express in Swahili how much I missed my family, and to celebrate the bustling reality of African cities. A Tanzanian who happened to be sitting next to me as I was practicing the song on a long bus ride shared some cultural insight with me. I was singing that the sun would shine when lovers are reunited. He pointed out that when the sun shone it was generally too hot for romance in Tanzania - so we changed the chorus line to read "when the sun goes down" - "kama jua likazama."
Siku nyingi ulisafiri
For many day, you have travelled,
Ulipoondoka Dar es Salaam, Dar es Salaam.
Since you left Dar es Salaam.
Ukienda, safari njema.
When you leave, go safely.
Ukaporudi kama jua likazama, kama jua likazama.
Then you return when the sun goes down.
Tulikuongoja, mpaka siku moja,
We have waited for you, till one day,
Ukarudi, kama jua likazama, kama jua likazama.
You return when the sun goes down.
Kama ukienda, when you are gone
Nuru nawe yacha, the light goes too,
Kama ukafika, when you come home
Dar ni wema sana, it'll be so nice.
Watu wengi wanakwenda, so many people go
Hapa na pale, here and there.
Wote hawajui umekwenda, they don't know you've gone.
Kama ukarudi, when you return,
Maua yanalea, the flowers will bloom.
Itakua vyema kama jua likazama, kama jua likazama.
It will be fine when the sun goes down.
Tulikuongoja mpaka siku moja,
Ukarudi kama jua likazama, kama jua likazama.
Dar es Salaam uko mji mkubwa, such a very big town.
Watu wengi hapa wamekaa, so many people living here.
Lakini ukirudi, when you return,
Yangu rafiki, my very good friend,
Wote watafurahi kama jua likazama, kama jua likazama.
Everyone will be happy when the sun goes down.