The Kahlil Gibran Collective

The Artist The Poet The Man

24 May 2014     Glen Kalem

A Prophet has been re-born in Curaçao

by Glen Kalem

May 21, 2014 ~ at NAAM The National Anthropological – Archaeological Museum in Pietermaai Curaçao

While most of the international (Gibran) focus this past week has been about the pre-launch of Salma Hayek’s inspired animation of The Prophet  held at the illustrious Cannes Film Festival in France, a small island in the Caribbean – probably internationally-known by its citrus-infused liqueur Blue Curaçao – celebrated and welcomed a Prophet of their own on the international day of the diversity of cultures.

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.


The Prophet in PapiamentoThe Prophet in Papiamento

The Prophet in Papiamento
Exposition of Kahlil Gibran Exposition of Kahlil Gibran
Exposition of Kahlil Gibran


Hilda de Windt-AyoubiHilda de Windt-Ayoubi
Hilda de Windt-Ayoubi
Minister Irene Dick is presented The Prophet by Talissa Minister Irene Dick is presented The Prophet by Talissa
Minister Irene Dick is presented The Prophet by Talissa

Photographs by Tico Vos

Published in Amigeo on the 21st of May 2014.


Hilda de Windt-AyoubiHilda de Windt-Ayoubi

Hilda de Windt-Ayoubi

 Article translated by Hilda De Windt Ayoubi

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.