A Kamba lullaby from Kenya for singing babies to sleep. The singer calls her child ‘Mama’ as a form of endearment by which a child is addressed as a parent.

Mama, child’s mother, don’t cry like a poor person.
You have come to me, you are crying more than I used to.
Even if it is raining,
I shall not dig in my garden, I shall stay with you:
Even if it is the Masai coming with spear and shield, (1)
I shall call you, I shall lull you to sleep on my arm, mother:
I I shall not listen to the goats’ bleating.

from Oral Poetry from Africa (1983),
Mapanje & White


  1. Masai: A neighbouring people and traditional enemy.