A Yoruba Iwi, or masqueradors’, chant from Nigeria. It is a sharp criticism of modern Ibadan as a town of thieves, violence and disease. For more Iwi poetry, see Tricks.
The spirit of the rock protects the town.
Ibadan, don’t fight!
We must ask for permission before we enter the town,
Because this is the town in which the thief is innocent
And the owner of property is guilty:
Here peace is lying exhausted on the ground
And belligerence dances on his back.
Ibadan, the town where the owner of the land
Does not prosper like the stranger!
Nobody is born without some kind of disease in his body:
Riots in all the compounds are the diseases of Ibadan.
You think you have friends in Ibadan,
But they will sell your own child.
You may look at this town whichever way you like –
You will see nothing but war!
from Yoruba Poetry
Cambridge University Press, (1970)
compiled and edited by Ulli Beier