After three years of labouring, nurturing, and singing a bilingual lullaby, Mrs. Hilda De Windt Ayoubi, a Spanish lecturer from the island, gave birth to the 43rd official translation of Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet. This sui generis translation, E Profeta, is highlighted by the language of Papiamento, which is spoken by less than a million people. With its mix of Portuguese and Creole, and influences of Spanish and Dutch, you will most hear her voice in the Dutch Leeward Islands of Curaçao, Aruba, and Bonaire, with functional roles on the three Dutch Windward Islands St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, and Saba. The translation of The Prophet into Papiamento will most probably be the first one into a Creole language, a treasured event not only for the island, but also for the whole Gibran world.
Attendees at the introduction of E Profeta included the Honourable Irene Dick (Minister of Education, Science, and Culture), colleagues, and family, not to mention a very helpful and proud granddaughter, Talissa (pictured below). The event was complimented with guest speakers including ex-students and colleagues of Mrs. De Windt, recitals of both her poems and the works of Pierre Lauffer and Dr. Professor Frank Martinus Arion (celebrated writers of Curaçao), an exposition of Kahlil Gibran, and the magical flute of Oswin Pikero.
Mrs. De Windt Ayoubi, a grandchild of Lebanese immigrants to the island as far back as 1907, saw this journey as a wayward passage to reconnect with long-lost roots. She is passionate about her origins and even more so about Gibran. She has begun her second translation of Gibran’s work and assured me that her life-long dream to visit the land of her heritage is drawing nearer.
The translation was overseen and mentored by Professor Suheil Bushrui of the George and Lisa Zakhem Kahlil Gibran Chair for Values and Peace of the University of Maryland, College Park. Relatives of Mr. George Zakhem – Mrs. Jacqueline de Koning and Mrs. Caroline Isa – were also present. A heartwarming video message from both Professor Bushrui and Dr. Tarek Chidiac, president of the Gibran National Committee in Lebanon, shared congratulations to Mrs. De Windt on her accomplishment.
The book includes images of the original paintings of Kahlil Gibran for which permission was granted by the Gibran National Committee. The preface by Mrs. De Windt Ayoubi, the introduction by Professor Suheil Bushrui, and the history of translation into Papiamento by Professor Wim Rutgers of the University of Curacao are all in Papiamento as well as in English. Copies of the book can be purchased online via Amazon.
Willemstad – The translation of the full – of -life lessons worldwide known, The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran, is now a fact. Hilda de Windt Ayoubi finished the work and presented it yesterday at NAAM , the National anthropological – archaeological Museum, in Pietermaai. Minister of Education, Science and Culture (at the right) received one of the first copies from the translator herself. Besides the book presented there was also an exposition on Gibran with his books and paintings, combined with the paintings of the translator who is also a writer and painter.