A Yoruba Iwi song from Nigeria.

The owner of yam peels his yam in the house:
A neighbour knocks at the door.
The owner of yam throws his yam in the bedroom:
The neighbour says, ‘I just heard
A sound, kerekere, that’s why I came.’
The owner of yam replies,
‘That was nothing, I was sharpening two knives.’
The neighbour says again, ‘I still heard
Something like bi sound behind your door.’
The owner of yam says,
‘I merely tried my door with a mallet.’
The neighbour says again,
‘What about this huge fire burning on your hearth?’
The fellow replies,
‘I am merely warming water for my bath.’
The neighbour persists,
‘Why is your skin all white, when this is not the Harmattan season?’ (1)
The fellow is ready with his reply,
‘I was rolling on the floor when I heard of the death of Agadapidi.’
Then the neighbour says, ‘Peace be with you.’
Then the owner of yam starts to shout,
‘There cannot be peace
Unless the owner of food is allowed to eat his own food!’

from Yoruba Poetry (1970),
Cambridge University Press
by Professor Ulli Beier


  1. Harmattan is the cold season before the rains.