African Poems

Oral Poetry from Africa

Tag: Hausa (Page 2 of 2)

The Song of the Bicycle

Malam Aliyu na Mangi was the leading poet of the Hausa in the mid-20th century. Born in 1895, within his first year he lost his sight through an attack of measles and smallpox. Despite this, he became a Malam (a Hausa expression loaned from the Arabic word ‘Mu’alim’ that means ‘teacher’) learning by heart the texts required to become an Islamic scholar.

Like other Hausa poets, Aliyu developed his style through live performances to groups of the pious. Whilst the poems deal with Muslim religious themes such as praising the Prophet, Aliyu’s vocabulary and style also embraces the humour and wit that is traditional of Hausa oral poetry.

We give thanks to the Lord of the Worlds
for the bounty bestowed on us in no small measure…

The Day of Resurrection

A Hausa poem from northern Nigeria. This is an Islamic poem, composed in writing but intended for public performance. The prospect of the day of resurrection is a warning to all who do evil.

Know you that tyranny will be darkness on the Day of Resurrection,
It is the word of the Messenger of God, Muhammed:

The Bride’s Departure (Hausa)

A Hausa wedding song from northern Nigeria, sung by the bride’s girl friends as she leaves her father’s house in tears for her new husband’s compound.

From this year, you won’t go dancing,
From this year, you won’t go to the dance,

Riddles – A Prince on the mat

Dan Sarki bisa keso
A Prince on the mat.

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African Poems