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The Defence of Lawino

by Okot p'Bitek, Taban Lo Liyong

A new translation of the late Okot p'Bitek's classic epic poem 'Wer pa Lawino', first published in Acholi in 1969, and recently listed in Africa's 100 Best Books.

Lawino is a female voice, taking issue with her husband whom she witnesses imitating a European culture which is destroying a more deeply rooted African culture. The text is a deeply philosphical meditation on the suject of its original subtitle: 'The Culture of Your People You Do Not Abandon'. The translator is the distinguished Sudanese writer Taban lo Liyong, and colleague and friend of the author. His translation was twenty-two years in the making and began as a collaborative project with the author. Although the text was once translated into English by the author himself, lo Liyong asserts the need for a reworking from the orignal Acholi, since the author only loosely wrote an English version as a reaction, to satisfy an English speaking audience, and gave prominence to the parts which were most easily renderable into English.

Lo Liyong reproduces the original as faithfully as possible, attempting to convey the intricacies, nuances and thoughts of the whole text in a rhythmic English which suits the original discourse. He further intends his translation of the classic as an assertion of the need to engage with, and reflect upon the primacy of African languages and culture in a new era of cultural and linguistic dominance.

ISBN 9789970022694 | 132 pages | 229 x 152 mm | 2001 | Fountain Publishers, Uganda | Paperback



'Taban lo Liyong and his publishers (Fountain in Kampala) and distributors (ABC in Oxford) are to be praised for this new and illuminating version of Wer pa Lawino.'




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