African Poems

Oral Poetry from Africa

Tag: Christianity

Anti-Apartheid Protest Poems (part four)

The fourth in a series of six poems from the Xhosa poet Melikhaya Mbutuma, this was recorded five months after the third poem (see also parts one and two for the background and parts five and six for the rest)…

From Isaiah Shembe’s Hymnbook

Three Zulu hymns. Isaiah Shembe, the founder and leader of the Zulu Church which bears his name, wrote many hymns. In them, Zulu and Christian traditions are united to express the aspirations of an exploited people.

I shouted day and night:
Why did you not hear me?

Chief Seeiso and the Christians

An extract from a Sotho Praise-Poem from Lesotho. In 1926, there was a succession dispute over the Paramount Chieftaincy in which the Roman Catholic missionaries supported Chief Seeiso’s rival. The attack on the Christians is therefore appropriate as part of the praises of Seeiso, the warrior (see also It All Started With the Conversion).

Seeiso accepts no cowards;
The children of the family of Mary he rejects:

It All Started with the Conversion

An extract from a Xhosa Praise-Poem addressed to Kaiser Mantanzima by the Praise-Singer Phakamile Yali-Manisi. It explains the present disastrous position of the Xhosa people as a consequence of the alliance between the missionaries and Sir George Grey, Governor of Cape Province 1854-61, in seizing Xhosa land and destroying the Xhosa economy.

African Poems