An Akan dirge from Ghana. Owusu was a Mass Education Officer, killed in a car accident in 1952. The dirge is sung by his former landlady, a trader called Koramma, who mourns him as if he were her brother. She calls him ‘father’ and emphasises her complete dependence on him as a metaphor for the depth of her grief.

Valiant Owusu,
The stranger on whom the citizen of the town depends,
Father, allow my children and me to depend on you
So that we may all of us get something to eat,
Father on whom I wholly depend.

When Father sees me, he will hardly recognise me.
He will meet me carrying an old torn mat and a horde of flies.
Father with whom I confer,
My children and I will look to you,
Father on whom I wholly depend.

Killer-of-hunger, My saviour,
Father the slender arm full of kindness,
Father the Rover whose footprints are on all paths.

from Funeral Dirges of the Akan People,
by Professor J.H. Nketia
(Achimota, 1975);