African Poems

Oral Poetry from Africa

Tag: Hunting Poems (Page 1 of 2)

The Incompetent Hunter

Another Yoruba Ijala (Hunting Poems), addressed to the guinea fowl, but with this difference – that instead of celebrating, the hunter makes fun of himself.

Fowl, we greet you, Guinea Fowl, we call you,
Your legs are slender like the ribs of palm leaves…

Hunting Song – Ambo

An Ambo song, for men out in the bush hunting game. The Ambo are a tiny group in northern Zambia, numbering less than 3,500, and speaking a language related to Bisa. The father tells his son that the hunt is taking them too far for him to accompany them.

A little child has cried:
I’ll go with you, father…

The Hunter’s Praise of his Bow

Another of the poems attributed to Liyongo, the national hero of the Swahili people, who lived in the area of the delta of the Tana River, north of Mombasa.

Praise my bow with its haft of the wild-vine,
let it be dressed with oil and shine like glass.

Hunters Prayer (Acoli)

An Acoli prayer from Uganda, the hunter is praying that his spear will be adequate for the hunt.

The spear with the hard point,
Let it split the granite rock…

Hunting Song (Wild Pig)

A Kisukuma hunting song from Tanzania, sympathising strongly with the animal which has been killed.

I killed a wild pig in the trap.
It cried,
Where is my father?..

Hunting Song (Shona)

A Shona poem from Zimbabwe, sung by men hunting game in the bush. The names mentioned are all places, where different types of game are found.

Come on, men, let’s go hunting with the dogs,
Our dogs of Murewa, it’s their lucky day!..


A Yoruba Ìjálá (hunting poems) from Nigeria (see also Hunters’ Salutes). The poem describes vividly the buffalo’s attributes of speed and terrifying strength.

Buffalo, we salute you:
Butterfly of the savannah…

The Honeybird

A poem of the Hurutshe people from South Africa. The honey-bird (also called the honeyguide or the hunter’s friend), will lead a hunter to a bee hive so that when he has taken the honey-combs the bird can eat the grubs.

Bird of the thorn apple trees,
Bird with more kind-heartedness than a chief…

Hunters Prayers (San)

A prayer of the San bushmen, calling to the Moon to assist the hunter the following day. In the prayer the hunter describes how he will steal the yolk of an ostrich’s egg while the ostrich is actually sitting on the nest. To do this the hunter must creep up behind the ostrich without being noticed, crack the shell of an egg within the nest and scoop out the yolk without being detected. For this amazing piece of hunting, he will use a brush made of the tail hairs of a Gemsbok antelope.

Ho moon lying there,
Let me early tomorrow see an ostrich…

Is the chief greater than the hunter?

An Akan song from Ghana, sung by professional hunters. The song’s argument is that hunters, with all their skills and bravery, are greater than chiefs, who depend on hunters for their luxuries.

Is the chief greater than the hunter?
Arrogance! Hunter? Arrogance!…

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African Poems