African Poems

Oral Poetry from Africa

Tag: Blacksmith

Ogun, God of War II

A collection of praises (Oriki) for the Orisha Ogun. Some of these were included in a previous post, but are included again here to illustrate how different Oriki could be recombined in performance.

Ogun is one of the most popular Orisha, both in Nigeria and across the Caribbean and the Americas. Known as the god of hunting, iron and warfare Ogun is both a violent destroyer and a heroic leader who delivers strength and justice to society.

Ogun kills on the right and destroys on the right.
Ogun kills on the left and destroys on the left…

Ogun, God of War

A Yoruba Praise-Poem from Nigeria. Ogun is the God of iron and metallurgy. He is pictured as a blacksmith, but presides over every activity in which iron is used – hoes for cultivating, cutlasses for reaping, guns for hunting, cars for travelling, and so on. He therefore becomes the God of creativity and of harvesting, of hunting and of warfare, of invention and exploration and destruction.

In Praise of the Ironsmith

A Shona Praise-Poem from Zimbabwe, sung by the blacksmith’s wife in praise of her husband. His skills seem almost supernatural (he is a ‘craftsman’, a ‘wizard’, an ‘expert’), and his hoes, axes, hatchets, adzes and knives are bringing great wealth to his family.

Today this place is full of noise and jollity.
The guiding spirit that enables my husband to forge makes him do wonders.

African Poems