A Shona song, sung by women to accompany the stamping or pounding of maize into flour (see also Pounding Songs).

You who are at the men’s meeting place,
The amount of sadza in the hand should be fine, (1)
Pounding here is tiresome,
When I was a small girl, you used to laugh at me,
That I had mucous on my nose;
What’s now attracting you?
Is it because you have seen the charms of my breast?
That it is so soft and so flexible?
Behind the Mutarara tree? (2)
Oh see how it draws your heart as I am stamping,
See how I pound the mealie powder.

Sung by Mrs Apollonia Hodza,
translated from the Shona by Aaron C. Hodza,
from Mambo Book of Zimbabwean Verse in English,
Colin & O-lan Style,
(Mambo Press, 1986).


Footnotes

  1. Sadza: A cooked maize meal that is the staple food in Zimbabwe and other parts of Southern Africa.
  2. Mutarara tree: A sturdy large shrub or small tree that grows largely in forest or on forest margins. Also known as Gardenia thunbergia.