The Beginning of Something

The final speech of Efa, lead character of GALWAD, who has already lived through the next thirty years ahead of us…

The final speech of Efa, lead character of GALWAD, who has already lived through the next thirty years ahead of us…

Mae’n debyg bod rhai ohonoch chi wedi clywed amdana i.
Or seen me online, even? 

‘The Girl from the future’, that’s what they’re saying, 
‘Mae’r Dyfodol yma”, ‘The Future is Here’
But it’s true. 
I am from 2052.
Yn gynharach yr wythnos hon… dwi dal ddim yn deall sut, ond… 
earlier this week, and I know how it sounds, 
yn gynharach yr wythnos hon… rhywsut, somehow,
during a storm, I swapped, 
into myself at just sixteen. 
My 46 year old mind 
swapped into me 
o ddeng mlynedd ar hugain yn ôl.. 
O nawr
I didn’t know if it would last, but…
She looks down at her body, her arms, hands.
As you can see, 
mae wedi bod yn fwy ‘Girl from the past’,
 i fi.

A beat, while she thinks.

You know, right up until late last night –
I didn’t want to do this.
Talk to you, or to anyone. 
Am beth sy’n digwydd nesaf. Sut brofiad yw hi – What it’s like in ’52.
I mean, who knows, if I did 
what or who I’d be going back to?

But then…some people I’ve met this week,
they’ve helped me to see,
that maybe – I can’t be sure – but maybe
that’s exactly why I’m here?
To show you the future 
all of us are travelling towards.
Who knows, if I do, maybe you’ll get there
quicker than we did.
Dwi’n gobeithio.


Can you feel the heat? 
It’s autumn but there’s still warmth in the air.
Always is, this time of year.
Cân yr adar 
But… something unfamiliar, isn’t there? 
Migratory, see? 
They stop here now, go no further. 
Stay for the winter. 

Mae’n nosi, y dydd yn mynd yn dywyllach.
Wrth i’r golau ddisgyn, mae’r cicadas yn codi,
llenwi’r bryniau hyn â’u llonydd gyda’r hwyr.
So many insects have gone,
but then they came.
How it goes I suppose,
loss and gain.

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Up on the ridges the turbines are turning.
Under the sound of their blades,
a long sweep, like a deep train passing.
The gravitational batteries, down in the mines – 
dropping to release the power from the hydro and solar, 
up on the reservoir.
That soft thump? That’s them landing, 
before rising again.
Curiad calon y bryniau, The hills’ heartbeat, 
dyna mae pobl yn ei alw.

Yma, lle rydyn ni nawr, mae gerddi fertigol, the vertical gardens
Covering every slope and cliff. 
Gwasgariad o stiwdios oddi tanynt, repair shops, y caff.
Down in the town, thick with trees, 
The double-decker train’s leaving for Conwy 
solar-panel sleepers glinting in the sun.
The re-fueling center, hydrogen, car-shares,
and above them, an airship passing over ac
Allan a thros Fôr Iwerddon.
below it, fields of seagrass and kelp
making maps under the water.
Llongau cargo the cargo boats, eu hwyliau llawn gwynt 
yn dychwelyd adre,

Around the end of the 20’s, see, the word started to spread. 

Ymhellach i lawr y dyffryn i gyfeiriad Tanygrisau
turf-roofed houses made out of salvage,
 built into the hills –
to withstand the winds…
high-tech too, though, to handle the data
for the Car Gwyllt music centre.
Roedd yr ŵyl gyntaf, wrth gwrs, yn 2025,
a dyfodd ei hun o’r stiwdio i lawr yn CellB.
That soon became a mecca 
I gerddorion a chynhyrchwyr ledled y byd.
Then the production centre… and, well, 
those people, they started staying for longer.

So those houses, beyond Tanygrisau, they aren’t holiday homes
Na, maen nhw’n gartrefi go iawn – maen nhw’n byw ynddynt trwy gydol y flwyddyn.

Ac nid yn unig gan y criw cerddoriaeth.
Around the end of the 20’s, see, the word started to spread. 
Blaenau was doing things differently. 
So when people started escaping in their millions 
from Holland, Germany and other low-lying countries
neu o’r tanau a’r cynaeafau a fethwyd yng Ngwlad Groeg, Moroco, Tiwnisia –
some of them came here. 
Then more again after the exodus from South East Asia
ac wrth gwrs, ar ôl y llifogydd yna’r argyfwng diffyg dŵr,
o Ddwyrain Lloegr hefyd.
They made Blaenau their home, became part of the community, 
an experiment in new ways to be.

That’s how I first heard about Blaenau, see? 
as one of a network of communities, all doing their own version 
of the wider changes happening then –
setting up local grids, self-organising, 
siarad â’n gilydd, dysgu oddi wrth ein gilydd –
a phob un ohonynt yn cael ei danio gan y newydd-ddyfodiaid
by the people who’d had to leave their homes,
who’d lost everything, and sometimes everyone, to the changes.

Treherbert, Ynysowen, Machynlleth a Mynydd Cilfái fy hun,
yn ôl lawr yn Abertawe.
It was a turning point for Wales.
I mean, we’d always been a nation of sanctuary,
but we suddenly saw 
how so many of us had been living with our eyes…

But now… well, we knew –
if we were to thrive, not just survive, 
we’d need more people, not fewer. 

But we also knew we’d need agency, independence, 
our own say in the choices made
that would determine our future.
Nid oedd yn hawdd.
It wasn’t easy

We saw, and just in time, that instead of living at the end of everything, 
we could be living at the beginning of something.

Nid oedd pawb yn meddwl mai dyna oedd y ffordd i fynd
ac mae rhai yn ’52 dal ddim.
And it hasn’t been easy in other ways, too. 
I mean, everyone who lives here now
is a child of what happened through the 20s and 30s.
Sy’n golygu bod pawb, hefyd, yn blentyn mewn rhyw ffordd o golled a galar.
a child in some way, of grief and loss.
But because of that, the greatest changes weren’t in the climate, 
They were in us. Ynom ni.
Yn y ffordd y gwelsom bethau, a shift in our perception –
about the nature of our values and the value of nature.
How the tale we’d been told of growth and growth and growth
with no accounting for the cost – the true cost to us –
wasn’t growth at all, just death.

We saw, and just in time, that instead of living at the end of everything, 
we could be living at the beginning of something.
And once we’d had a taste of that, well, it all had to change, didn’t it?

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Felly dyna beth ddigwyddodd.
Yma, ac ar hyd a lled y wlad.
In the face of fear, and adversity,
people imagined new ways to travel, to produce, to farm, 
to earn, to govern,
and those imaginings became action
and that action gave us hope.
but not a sitting on the sidelines kind of hope.
Not a ‘watch and comment’ type of hope.
Na, un o nerfau, o waith, o her, o weithredu oedd hwn.
A radical hope.

But all of that – the vision, the imagining, 
y dychymyg, y gweledigaeth
the belief that things can be done differently,
have to be done differently,
they didn’t just grow over night, did they?
No, like the strongest of trees they had the deepest of roots, 
reaching far back, 20, 30, 40 years
to the questions and hopes and ideas
that some of you are having here 

Which is why, if you look in the right places,
Ac os gwrandewch ar y lleisiau cywir,
You’ll understand why I think maybe, 
to say the future is here because I am, is wrong. 
It isn’t.


Mae’r dyfodol yma oherwydd eich bod chi yma.
The future is here because you are.
Because it doesn’t just happen, does it?
Na, mae wedi’i wneud, ei ddychmygu, ei obeithio,
it’s made, imagined, hoped for,
just like you’re doing now,
seeing in your minds all that I’ve said –
the heat, yr adar, the gardens, y trenau, 
y tai, the turbines, the people, the change,
y coed, the seagrass, y bobl, the skies, 
the birds, the cicadas, the people, y mwyngloddau, 
y frwydr, , y syniadau, y newid,
the music, y pwer, y bobl, the power, the people, 
the change, y bobl, the people, the people
from all over the world, 
the people who have come here,
who have escaped and come here.
Y bobl sydd yma.
The people who are here.
Who have joined you.
Yma. Here.
Not to sink or to fall or to fail
but to rise, 
and to rise,
I godi 
and to rise.
Now, open your eyes.
Agora dy lygaid
Look around you.
Open your eyes.
Agorwch eich llygaid
The future is here.

GALWAD is part of UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK, co-commissioned with Creative Wales with funding from Welsh Government and UK Government. GALWAD was a week-long story told in real-time across social and broadcast channels which asked what if the future made contact with us. You can watch the full story at

All articles published on the welsh agenda are subject to IWA’s disclaimer.

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