A Yoruba Ìjálá (hunting poems) from Nigeria (see also Hunters’ Salutes). The poem describes vividly the buffalo’s attributes of speed and terrifying strength.
Buffalo, we salute you:
Butterfly of the savannah…
A poem of the Hurutshe people from South Africa. The honey-bird (also called the honeyguide or the hunter’s friend), will lead a hunter to a bee hive so that when he has taken the honey-combs the bird can eat the grubs.
Bird of the thorn apple trees,
Bird with more kind-heartedness than a chief…
A prayer of the San bushmen, calling to the Moon to assist the hunter the following day. In the prayer the hunter describes how he will steal the yolk of an ostrich’s egg while the ostrich is actually sitting on the nest.
Ho moon lying there,
Let me early tomorrow see an ostrich…
An Akan song from Ghana, sung by professional hunters. The song’s argument is that hunters, with all their skills and bravery, are greater than chiefs, who depend on hunters for their luxuries.
Is the chief greater than the hunter?
Arrogance! Hunter? Arrogance!…
A hunters’ poem from Lesotho. Throughout this poem, the description shifts to the first person singular to give the hyena’s own words.
The hyena is the greedy one among the wild beasts,
The one that drops a bone is a small one.
Five examples of Ìjálá, the Yoruba professional hunters’ chants from Nigeria. Yoruba hunters would compose Ìjálá poems about the animals and birds they hunted.
Lion, who encircles the thicket with his urine,
Champion of the bush, who sends the young hunter in haste up the thorn tree.
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