African Poems

Oral Poetry from Africa

Tag: Animal Praises


A Sotho poem from Lesotho, in praise of the crocodile.

The crocodile is the invoker of the rain waters,
The black one of the pool…

Hyena (Lesotho)

A hunters’ poem from Lesotho. Throughout this poem, the description shifts to the first person singular to give the hyena’s own words.

The hyena is the greedy one among the wild beasts,
The one that drops a bone is a small one.

Hunters’ Salutes

Five examples of Ìjálá, the Yoruba profes­sional hunters’ chants from Nigeria. Yoruba hunters would compose Ìjálá poems about the animals and birds they hunted.

Lion, who encircles the thicket with his urine,
Champion of the bush, who sends the young hunter in haste up the thorn tree.

African Poems