This is a funeral dirge from Ghana that was performed to honour Otumfuo Opoku Ware II, the 15th King of the Asante Kingdom who died in February 1999. The artists are Manhyia Tete Nwomkoro Kuo (the “Traditional Nnwonkoro Group from Manhiya”).
I am grateful to the South African poet, Vusi Mchunu, for the following elegy dedicated to the Afro-German poet, educator and activist May Ayim.
It is a long fall from the concrete heights of Kreuzberg
It is a long way to the hill of Alt St. Matthaeus Cemetery…
The Nigerian politician, poet and journalist Dennis Chukude Osadebay translated this Ibo poem for the journal African Affairs in 1949. The lighthearted tale of an orphan boy is described by D.C. Osadebay as being several centuries old.
O Lamb give me my salt,
Salt the market folks gave me…
A new poem by Ghanaian poet Adjei Agyei-Baah, about the discrimination faced by albinos in Africa and other parts of the world.
Yours is a hard tale to tell
one already known in every household…
The following poem was originally recited by Ibo warriors as their leader Ojea lay dying on a battlefield in sight of victory. It has since gone onto become a song performed at funerals.
Ojea, noble Ojea, look round before you depart,
Ojea, see, the fight is over…
This abridged rendition of the story of Sunjata Keita, founder of the Mali empire, is valuable for several reasons. Firstly, it is an opportunity for listeners to appreciate the soaring vibrato voice of Hawa Kassé Mady Diabaté, a true master of the art of the griot.