Cry, the beloved country’s isiZulu translation: speech act of naming

  • Sandiso Ngcobo


The aim of this paper was to examine the role of translation in social development. One aspect of culture that had not previously received much attention is the speech act of naming. In this article, this aspect was addressed in the translation between the Zulu and English cultures as used by CLS Nyembezi [1957 (1997)] in Lafa Elihle Kakhulu, a translation of Alan Paton’s [1948 (2005)] Cry, the Beloved Country. The theoretical frameworks that informed this paper are Toury’s (1995) descriptive translation studies that draws from Even-Zohar’s (1980) polysystem theory and Bourdieu’s (1984) sociological theory of translation in order to analyse the role of power in development and social change. The research was exploratory-descriptive-interpretive in nature. The study examined selected dialogues that appear in Book One between the protagonist, Rev. Stephen Khumalo, and several other characters who belong to different age groups, social status and power. The aim was to determine if Nyembezi’s translation was acceptable to his target readership, i.e. Zulu-speakers, at the time of translation and beyond. It was found that Nyembezi used strategies of cultural substitution, omission and addition in an effort to make his text appealing to his target social and cultural audience.


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eISSN: 1727-9461
print ISSN: 1607-3614