African Poems

Oral Poetry from Africa

Tag: Marketplace

More Praises for Aje, Goddess of Wealth

Another oriki dedicated to the Yoruba goddess of trade and wealth, Aje (see also Salute to Aje, Goddess of Wealth).

The poem makes reference to Adebisi…“Brother at Idikan”. This was Sanusi Adebisi Giwa (1882-1938) a highly successful entrepreneur who began as a weaver of Ofi cloth (a traditional Yoruba cloth worn at occasions such as marriages, funerals etc) and then expanded into large-scale farming. He was praised for his philanthropy and for paying the taxes of other farmers who were struggling.

The man who poverty makes a beggar among friends
Knows how the world dodges the needy…

Salute to Aje, Goddess of Wealth

The goddess Aje appears within Yoruba mythology as a patroness of trade and economic prosperity. The following oriki is addressed to Aje and also describes the ways in which wealth effects human affairs. The oriki is followed by a chant to invoke the spirit of the orisha as part of an enchantment for money. Money in this context is in the form of cowry shells (cowries were an instrument of payment and exchange throughout western Africa until the nineteenth century and remain a symbol of wealth).

Aje, supreme god of wealth.
Benevolent provider of all human needs…

Eshu-Elegba in the Marketplace

A previous poem for the Yoruba trickster god Eshu (see Eshu, God of Fate) describes him as a deity who loves disrupting the laws of probability and creating impossible contradictions of time and space.

As an orisha who crosses boundaries his shrines are usually located at crossroads and at the entrances to homes. Another important station for Eshu is the marketplace…

African Poems