A Shona children’s song from Zimbabwe. “Zinjanja”, mentioned in the chorus, is a hill to the east of Harare.

There were once some girls,
There were once some girls,
Let’s go to Zinjanja;

Who went to fetch firewood,
Who went to fetch firewood,
Let’s go to Zinjanja;

They discovered some eggs,
They discovered some eggs,
Let’s go to Zinjanja;

Saying, ‘What kind are they?’
Saying, ‘What kind are they?’
Let’s go to Zinjanja;

Saying, ‘It’s partridge’,
Saying, ‘It’s partridge’,
Let’s go to Zinjanja;

Saying, ‘It’s guinea fowl’,
Saying, ‘It’s guinea fowl’,
Let’s go to Zinjanja;

But they were owl’s eggs! (1)
But they were owl’s eggs!
Let’s go to Zinjanja;

U-vu-we-e! (2)
U-vu-we-e!
Let’s go to Zinjanja;

U-vu-we-e!
U-vu-we-e!
Let’s go to Zinjanja!

from Oral Poetry from Africa (1984),
Compiled by Jack Mapanje and Landeg White,
Longman


Footnotes

  1. Owls’ eggs are, of course, unlucky.
  2. U-vu-we-e!: A wailing sound.