Two poems that were popular during the struggles for Independence in Zambia, dating from the days of the arrest of Dr Kaunda and other leaders in 1959 during the anti-Federation struggle.


What kind of singing is this
That sounds like mourning?
When going to jail
My brother went all alone.
What songs are these
Which resemble mourning?
Let me sing
To relieve my heart.


Kaunda was very glad
When his arms were chained
Click, click
Round his wrists!
Sorry, informer,
We are sorry for the Capricornist: (1)
Where will you live
In this land of Zambia?

from Oral Poetry from Africa 1984
compiled by Jack Mapanje and Landeg White,


  1. The Capricornists were supporters of the Capricorn Society, a group organised by white liberals who sought to retain the Central African Federation under a ‘multi-racial government’.