A ChiTumbuka song, sung by girls from Malawi who satirise the way that western styles of dressing often conceals as much as it reveals.
A man with a hat on, I say no:
How should I know he is bald,
Bald, bald, nothing but bald,
Yes, indeed, nothing but bald?
A man with trousers on, I say no:
How should I know he is bow-legged,
Bow-legged, bow-legged, nothing but bow-legged,
Yes, indeed, nothing but bow-legged?
A man with glasses on, I say no:
How should I know he has a squint,
A squint, a squint, nothing but a squint,
Yes, indeed, nothing but a squint?
A man with shoes on, I say no:
How should I know his toes have jiggers,
Jiggers, jiggers, nothing but jiggers,
Yes, indeed, nothing but jiggers?
from Oral Poetry from Africa 1984
compiled by Jack Mapanje and Landeg White,
Liked it? Take a second to support African Poems on Patreon