African Poems

Oral Poetry from Africa

Tag: Uganda (Page 2 of 2)


An Acoli prayer from Uganda. It is addressed to the ancestors who are offered as sacrifice a goat, a chicken and some beer. The prayer is for good health, for protection from disease and warfare, and for good crops and many children. It is led by an elder, and the people respond in chorus at the end

The ancestors have spoken today:
Bring forth a brown billy goat,

If Death Were Not There

An Acoli dirge from Uganda. The ceremony of Yokko Pala, in which a widow chooses a new husband, is held three or four months after the Guru Lyel, the feast held in honour of the deceased. See also Close To Her Husband.

Close To Her Husband

An Acoli lament from Uganda. According to Acoli custom, a feast called Guru Lyel is held many months after the funeral of the deceased.

In Praise of Cattle

A Bahima women’s Praise-Poem from Uganda. The chorus is repeated after each praise. The first five praises (Lines 1-12) refer to the whole herd of cattle, after which the singer proceeds to praise each animal separately. Many of them have their own praise-names (e.g. ‘She Whose Horns Encircle Like Handcuffs’), and the general description in this Praise-Poem is marvellously vivid.

They are as greedy as Ishe-Katabazi;
I want them to graze in the newly burnt grass of Rwanda.

Page 2 of 2

African Poems