LUIS ENRIQUE MEJÍA GODOY - JOSEFANA VA [NICARAGUA, 1984]
"Convirtiendo la oscurana en claridad
Josefana va, por la costa va.”
Post #2 today in commemoration of the 32nd anniversary of the Sandinista Revolution. This time, we’re listening to Luis Enrique Mejia Godoy’s song Josefana Va (Josefana Goes), featuring his band Mancotal.
This is one of those of those songs that I really liked before I even listened to the lyrics, then once I finally paid attention to what it was saying I loved it even more. Only Nicaraguans can make party songs about literacy campaigns.
Shortly after the triumph of the Sandinista Revolution in Nicaragua, the FSLN and the new governing Junta of National Reconstruction began plans for a massive literacy campaign that could deal with Nicaragua’s startling illiteracy rate (a majority in rural areas). In mid-1980 the Literacy Crusade was launched, organizing tens of thousands of young Nicaraguans into a “People’s Literacy Army”, divided into squadrons, columns, brigades and fronts. Fernando Cardenal, Jesuit priest and director of the Crusade, claims that the use of militaristic terminology was for two reasons: 1) The younger generation that was to participate in the campaign was, because of its age, unable to participate directly in the overthrow of Somoza in ‘79 nor in the preceding revolutionary struggle, yet many wanted to relate to that legacy. 2) After years of resistance, death, and destruction, it was part of a healing process to turn these words and symbols of violence into something positive.
Young people across the country, like Josefana, were able to lower the literacy rate from around 50% to around 13%. It was also a learning experience for many of the urban youth, who for the first time had seen the life and struggles of the campesinos up close.
Anyway, enjoy the song, I know you will. Lyrics are provided below in Spanish with an English translation.
Na na na na na na na….
Convirtiendo la oscurana en claridad
Josefana va, por la costa va
Con un sol en su cartilla de enseñar
Josefana va, por la costa va
Repicando su lección, va por Waspán
Comandante de una escuadra cultural
Selva dentro su brigada penetró
Socolando de ignorancia la región
Muy temprano en la mañana va a sembrar
La semilla de aprender y de enseñar
En Cayugo, en Pantereo bajando
Con sus ojos de futuro va cantando
El llegar donde su compita Manuél
Está ciego porque no sabe leer
Un candil mojó de luz todo su rancho
Y una lágrima rodó sobre el cacao de su piel
Na na na na na na na…..
Turning darkness into light,
Josefana goes, heading for the coast
With a sun in her teaching book,
Josefana goes, heading for the coast.
Repeating her lesson, she goes toward Waspan,
as the commander of a cultural squadron.
Her brigade entered deep into jungle,
clearing the region of ignorance.
Very early in the morning she will plant
the seed of learning and of teaching.
From Cayugo and Pantereo she descends,
with the future in her eyes, she walks singing.
She arrived at the home of brother Manuel,
who is blind because he cannot read.
But a candle illuminated his entire shack,
and a tear rolled down his cocoa skin.