African Poems

Oral Poetry from Africa

Tag: Kalela Dance

To Work in a Butchery

Another satiric song from the Kalela Dances of the Zambia Copper mines (see also The Kalela Dance and The Cases). The song is in Bisa and jokes about Mulumba who is the dance leader.

Mulumba should have a job at the abattoir
So that he may steal the heads of slaughtered cattle…

The Cases

Another song from the Kalela Dance of the Zambian Copperbelt (see also the Kalela Dance). The original language of this song is a form of Bemba spoken on the Copperbelt and easily understood by other people working in the mines. Most of the songs comment satirically on life on the Copperbelt, and they include a great deal of inter-ethnic joking.

The Lamba people, who are the target here, live to the west of the Bemba, but come in great numbers to work in the copper mines.

Mothers, I have been to many courts
To listen to the cases they settle…

The Kalela Dance

A song from the Kalela Dance of the Zambian Copperbelt. The original language of this song is a form of Bemba spoken on the Copperbelt and easily understood by other people working in the mines. Most of the songs comment satirically on life on the Copperbelt.

The Watchtower were trying cunningly to convert me on Saturday,
That I should go to their meeting-place at two o’clock on Sunday.

African Poems