A Chuabo woman’s song from central Mozambique, about the separation of husband and wife (see also Complaint).
Marromeu has spoken
He has arrived…
A Somali song from the days of Turkish rule. The singer’s ironically compares his troubles — the Mahdi making war, the locusts eating his crops, his wife’s grumbling, the ants eating his stores, the Sultan’s men who have stolen his horse, and the soldiers camped nearby.
Between the Sayyid who upsets wealth and exterminates people
And the locust who has eaten the buds, which is the better for me?..
In October 1944, a company which came to be called Arrozal was awarded (by the Rice Propaganda Division) the rice concession for the lower Zambesi valley in colonial Mozambique. This granted the concession-holder, a man called Ruy Pereira de Lima, the right to levy four sacks from every adult woman in the area, paying them one-third of the market value…
A Dinka song from South Sudan. The singer can’t wait for morning so he can leave the town he abominates and return to his village and his cattle. The poem is a succinct catalogue of everything that is wrong with modern life from the perspective of an intelligent herdsman.
O morning, come soon,
My curve-horned Ox, Mading…
A Lomwe woman’s song from central Mozambique. The singer is forced to grow cotton for the Companhia dos Algodões de Moçambique, owner of the cotton concession for the district of Ile. Her earnings are a derisory 5 escudos.
I suffer, I do
A Yorùbá dance song, very popular in the 1950s when Abu Bakry Olorun Nimbe, a medical doctor turned politician, was Mayor of Lagos.
I am greeting you, Mayor of Lagos,
Mayor of Lagos, Olorun Nimbe…
This site opens a window on something that will be new to most people, namely, the vast amount of superb poetry hidden away in the 3000 different languages spoken in Africa … More