A Yoruba Iwi, or masqueradors’, chant from Nigeria. It is a sharp criticism of modern Ibadan as a town of thieves, violence and disease. For more Iwi poetry, see Tricks.
The spirit of the rock protects the town.
Ibadan, don’t fight!..
Oyewumi Alabi was a nineteenth century chief of Ibadan. He was preceded by two chiefs whose reigns were marked by prodigies – a stream breaking forth, a comet appearing. Under Oyewumi Alabi, the colonial hut tax was first imposed.
This satire was recorded in Yoruba in the early 1950s by Ulli Beier, the German-Jewish scholar who went on to make distinguished contributions to Nigerian literature.
In Aburu’s reign,
A stream broke forth in the sacred grove…