U Fudukazi Uzokumangaza

by Gcina Mhlophe (South-Africa)

Short text in Zulu
U fudukazi
U zoku mangaza
U hamba kankane
Ulezi ekabanga
Uhlula amagili
Noma baningi
Banga mudelela

Tale in English
It is said that a long long time ago, when the world was still young and life was not like it is today, animals wee not such good hunters. Lion was already king of the animals. In those days every single animal respected him. He was mighty and strong, and did not have to talk too loudly, for his word was law and that was that.
But the animals had a problem. They did not have a place of their own where they could grow food, and they were not yet such good hunters. So they had to go to the gardens of human beings to steal whatever vegetables they liked. This was often very dangerous, because if they were caught, they ended up in someone’s stewpot! In fact, this happened far too often, until one day King Lion could stand it no longer. So he called a big meeting of all his subjects. He told them it was time they all moved to another place where there were no human beings, where they could plant their own food and live a more respectable  life.
“Elethu! Elethu! We all agree!” was the response from every animal.
Cheetah was sent to go and steal some tools from the humans, which he did with pleasure. Well-known trickstart Nogwaja the Hare was only too happy to go and steal some seeds for his king. All the animals to set off early the next morning. They were looking forward to finding a new place where they could grow their food. A place they could happily call home. The fast ones led the way. In the middle were the King and other big animals like Buffalo, Elephant, Rhinoceros and Giraffe. At the back were the slow-moving animals like Chameleon and Tortoise. The sun was hot and the journey was long. “Are we there yet” asked the slow animals several times. But at last Cheetah shouted at the top of his voice, “O King, we have found a place. It looks very fertile and there is a lake where we can drink water!”
“But are there any human beings in sight?” was the question from King Lion.
“No, not one” replied Cheetah.
So at last the animals had found a home. They worked very hard in the following days and weeks, tilling the land and planting the seeds. And soon enough the rains came. In time the large garden yielded delicious carrots, pumpkins, cabbages, sweet potatoes and lot more. It looked glorious, it showed that a lot of work and love had been into producing such a marvellous garden. King Lion and his subjects were proud of themselves. The animals had a great time eating their food, drinking at the lake, getting to really know one another, and enjoying glorious sunsets, without any humans to chase or kill them.
The one day, Zebra woke up early with his best friend Ostrich. They were extremely hungry so they set off for the garden. But when they got there, they found that all the food had gone; not a blade of grass, not a leaf of cabbage was left!
Even the lake was almost empty. Someone or something had come in the middle of the night and cleaned up everything. They were even doubting that they had come to the right place. Suddenly a shadow seemed to fall accross the sun, and the sky went dark. When Zebra and Ostrich looked up, they saw a huge mountain of an animal. It was like ten elephants put together. Its skin was moist, grayish brown and smelly. It eyes were huge and green and slimy. Its nostrils were like two big caves with hot air coming out of them. Its mouth was the biggest cave of all, full of sharp grey teeth. Poor terrified Zebra tried to be brave, and so he asked this monter who he was and what he wanted.
Zebra and Ostrich almost paralysed with fear, rushed off to tell everyone what they had seen and heard. The other animals were just as frightened. But Lion, their King, said he would deal with Gongqongqo. He said no one should be fearful.
Lion’s muscles were shining, his tail was up in the air and his golden mane looked proud as the morning sun danced on it.
But when he arrived in the  garden and saw how very large this monster was, he knew he did not stand a chance of winning a fight. He decided to roar as loudly as he could to scare the monster off; “Who do you think you are, coming into my kingdom and stealing the foold my subjects have worked so hard for? Get away from here and never come back!”
Gongqongqo openend his monstrous mouth and answered,
King Lion’s tail disappeared between his legs, and he ran as fast as he could back to his subjects to tell them it was time to move on to a new place, for this monster was far worse even than human beings.
“Elethu! We all agree!” was the response. Buffalo shouting loudest of them all. But the tortoise had other ideas. She declared that she was going to deal with the monster her own way. The other animals just laughed at her, saying that she was far too small and crazy to think she could face up to such a creature. Lion roared impatiently : “I say, everyone shut up, and let’s listen to what Tortoise has to say!”
“If I could get a very sharp axe, but small enough to hide under my shell, I promise you I will get rid of that Gongqongquo before the end of today.!” said the old tortoise full of confidence. Then the Lion prepared a sharp axe for her and gave it to her to hide under her shell. “Good luck to you my sister.” said he.
Tortoise set off walking slowly like all tortoises do, to deal with Gongqongqo.
Finaly, she stood in front of the huge monster. She looked so very tiny. But she bravely shouted at the top of her voice;
“Heyi wena, who do you think you are? Do you think we are scared of you? No, we are not. Also I must tell you, you are ugly, and further more, you smell! So get away from here, Hamba!”
The monster could not believe what he was hearing.
“So go on and do that, what is stopping you!? demanded the brave Tortoise. And sure enough, his long, slimy, mustardy, coloured tongue came out and “Lwabi!” Tortoise disappeared inside that cave of a mouth!
Then, quick as a flash, Tortoise took out the sharp axe from under her shell and started to chop at the monster’s tongue.
Chop, Chop, Chop! The Monster thougt he was getting a headache and groaned loudly. What in the world was going on? What was that dumb little Tortoise up to, he wondered, shaking his head violently. But Tortoise did not stop. She continued to chop away at the tong until it fell off, and then she chopped her way accross the neck. Gongqongqo made loud, thunderous noises, scaring the whole countryside and forest for miles and miles around. Finally, it happened. Gongqongqo fell down dead.

The smiling Tortoise climbed out of the gate she had opened on the side of his neck and, holding high the little axe, she called out;
“It is I, It is I, little Tortoise. I killed Gongqongqo!”
All other animals came out of their hiding places and cheered for the brave Tortoise. “Halala! Usebenzile Fudukazi, well done wise old Tortoise!! You deserve all our respect!” they said again and again. Buffalo bent down and picked up the wise Tortoise and carried her high on his powerful horns as the cheering went on. Then the King of the beasts stepped in front of the happy group. Looking very serious but please, he said :
“Thank you Fudukazi, you did us all very proud today. As from today I declare you the bravest most respectable animal in my kingdom!… eehhh, after me of course!”

Cosi cosi iyaphela. Here I rest my story.
written by Gcina Mhlophe ( South Africa),
Translation in English by Gcina Mhlophe of her own original text in zulu.
All rights reserved to Gcina Mhlophe. reproduced with authorisation of the author.
Music for choir written by Daniel  Schell.
‘U Fudukazi, the tortoise’ was created in 2001 by “Le Choeur de Namur” directed by D. Meunier

Conte en français (traduction par Daniel Schell)
On dit qu’il y a très longtemps, lorsque le monde était encore jeune et que la vie n’était pas comme maintenant, les animaux n’étaient pas de si bons chasseurs. Le lion était déjà le roi des animaux. En ces jours, tous le respectaient. Il était puissant et ne devait pas parler fort car sa parole était la loi et c’était ainsi.
Mais les animaux avaient un problème. Ils n’avaient pas leur endroit bien à eux où cultiver de quoi manger et, comme on l’a dit, leurs aptitudes à la chasse restaient bien faibles. C’est ainsi qu’ils étaient contraints de visiter les jardins des humains afin de chaparder les légumes qu’ils désiraient. Cela pouvait être dangereux, car s’ils étaient attrapés, ils pouvaient terminer dans le pot-au-feu. En fait cela arrivait si souvent que le Roi Lion ne put plus le supporter. Il leur annonça qu’il était temps qu’ils déménagent vers un lieu sans humains, où ils pourraient cultiver et conduire une existence respectable.
“Elethu! Elethu! Nous sommes tous d’accord!” fut la réponse des animaux.
On envoya Cheetah pour voler de la nourriture aux humains, ce qu’il fit avec plaisir. Quant au bien connu Nogwaja le Lièvre, il fut trop heureux d’aller voler quelques graines pour le Roi.
Le départ fut fixé au lendemain matin. Les animaux rapides montraient la voie.  Au milieu, on trouvait le Roi et d’autres grands animaux comme le Buffle, l’Eléphant, le Rhinoceros et la Girafe. A l’arrière se trouvaient les animaux lents comme le Caméléon et la Tortue. Le soleil tapait et la journée était longue. ‘ Est-ce que nous y sommes?’ Demandèrent ces derniers. Enfin  Cheetah cria, de sa voix haut perchée: “O Roi, nous avons trouvé l’endroit. Cela a l’air fertile et il y a un lac dont on peut boire l’eau! ‘
“Mais il y a-t-il des êtres humains en vue? questionna le Roi Lion.
“Pas un seul” rétorqua Cheetah.
Ainsi les animaux avaient trouvé une maison! Ils travaillèrent dur dans les jours et semaines qui suivirent, labourant le sol et semant. La pluie vint bien vite, et voilà que les jardins fournissaient carottes, citrouilles, choux, patates douces et bien d’autres. Le Roi Lion et ses sujets étaient fiers d’eux-mêmes. Ils passèrent des instants délicieux à savourer la nourriture, se désaltérer au lac, enfin admirer les splendides couchers de soleil, et cela sans un seul humain pour les chasser ou les tuer.
Un jour le Zèbre et son amie l’Autruche s’en allèrent au potager. Mais en arrivant là, ils s’aperçurent que tout était dévasté. Plus un brin d’herbe ni une feuille de chou.
Même le lac était vide! Quelqu’un était venu au milieu de la nuit et avait tout nettoyé. Ils en étaient même à se demander s’ils ne s’étaient pas trompés d’endroit… Quand soudain une ombre descendit, plongeant tout dans l’obscurité. Lorsque Zèbre et Autruche levèrent la tête, ils virent un animal grand comme dix éléphants empilés, brunâtres et puants,  yeux verts et gluants avec une gueule béante plantée de dents grises et acérées.
Zèbre, qui tentait de  cacher sa terreur, demanda bravement qui il était et ce qu’il voulait.
“Je suis GONGQONGQO!!!” aboya le monstre, “Celui qui avale les buffles vivants, cornes comprises. Qui es-tu petit zèbre pour me poser une question aussi stupide?”
Horrifiés, Zèbre et Autruche se hâtèrent d’aller porter la nouvelle aux autres. Effroi général. Seul le Roi Lion  annonça calmement qu’il allait palabrer avec le Gongqongqo.
Gonflant les muscles et sa belle crinière, il se dirigea donc vers le potager. Mais quand il vit le monstre il comprit qu’il n’avait pas une chance de gagner. Il décida de rugir autant qu’il le pouvait : “Qui crois-tu être pour venir dans mon royaume, voler le bien de mes sujets? Vas-t’en et ne reviens jamais!”
Gongqongqo ouvrit sa bouche affreuse:,
“Je suis CONGQONGQO! Celui qui avale les buffles vivants, avec leurs cornes. Et toi petit chat, tu seras ma friandise!”
Le Roi Lion ne put que s’encourir, la queue entre les jambes, annoncer à ses sujets qu’il allait falloir trouver un autre endroit où s’installer.
“Elethu! Nous sommes tous d’accord!” fut la réponse, avec, bien entendu, le Buffle en premier rang.  Mais la Tortue avait une autre idée. Elle déclara qu’elle allait parler au monstre. Rigolade générale. ‘Taisez-vous et écoutez  Tortue” rugit le Lion.
“Si je pouvais trouver une hache très aiguisée, mais si petite que je puisse la cacher sous ma carapace, je vous promets de vous débarrasser de ce Gongqongquo avant la fin du jour!” dit la vieille Tortue. Lion lui prépara la hache.
Tortue s’en alla donc lentement (comme toutes les tortues) vers Gongqongqo.
Enfin la voilà au pied du monstre immense. Elle crie bravement:
“Heyi wena, tu te prends pour qui, toi? Tu t’imagines que tu nous fait peur? Non, mais des fois… Et puis tu t’es déjà vu? Tu es moche et tu pues. Allez, décampe. Hamba!”
Le monstre ne pouvait en croire ses oreilles.
” Je suis CONGQONGQO je te dis, et je n’ai pas la moindre intention de bouger. En revanche, je m’en vais te déguster du dessous de la langue et oublier tout de toi!”.
“Alors vas-y” lui enjoignit la brave Tortue. Et voilà que sort la longue langue du monstre, comme couverte de moutarde baveuse et “Lwabi!” Tortue disparaît dans la bouche grotte!
Rapide comme l’éclair, Tortue sort la hache et se met à tailler furieusement la langue du monstre. Chop, Chop, Chop!
Le monstre grogne, se croit atteint de migraine. Qu’est ce que cette punaise de Tortue est en train de fabriquer? Il secoue la tête. Tortue continue. Bientôt la langue est coupée et Tortue l’engage en travers de la gorge. Le monstre halète férocement, jetant la terreur à toute la campagne. Finalement, il tombe mort.

Tortue, souriante, sort du trou qu’elle a ouvert par le côté du cou. Elle brandit la hachette : ” Ca y est, j’ai tué Congqongqo!”
Tous les animaux viennent féliciter Tortue: “Halala! Usebenzile Fudukazi, bravo sage Tortue !! Tu mérites notre respect ” Buffle porte Tortue sur son dos. Lion précède le cortège. Sérieux, mais le sourire en coin, il déclare :
” Merci Fudukazi, nous sommes fiers de toi. A partir d’aujourd’hui je te déclare animal le plus respectable de mon royaume! … eeuuhhh, après moi, bien entendu!”
Cosi cosi iyaphela. Ici j’arrête mon histoire.

(Tous droits réservés Gcina Mlophe/ Daniel Schell)