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African Verse


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Africa is a vast continent with a rich heritage. There are 55 countries and over a thousand indigenous languages. In the world of literature, documentation has come late. The indigenous African tales and proverbs only began to be collected in the 19th century. Still there are some genres and verse forms that have been passed down orally. In addition African verse has been influenced by European colonization, slavery, apartied, revolution and genocide. I am limited by language and geography but from the small amount I have been able to uncover about the poetry of Africa, I am compelled to learn more. The poetry reveals a culture with humor, passion and pride.

Insult Poetry                                                      Mawaddes                                                  Muyaka Stanza
Praise Poetry Qe'ne Shairi -Swahili                                                             
Takhmis Utendi or Utenzi  

                                                                    Lift High Zimbabwe's Banner
                                                                               by Solomon Mutswairo (in English)

                                                             Oh lift high our banner, the flag of Zimbabwe;
                                                             The symbol of freedom proclaiming victory;
                                                             We praise our heroes' sacrifice,
                                                             And vow to keep our land from foes;
                                                             And may the Almighty protect and bless our land.
                                                             Look at Zimbabwe, a land so wondrously lovely
                                                             With mountains, and rivers cascading, flowing free;
                                                             May rain abound, and fields be fertile;
                                                             May we be fed, our labour blessed;
                                                             And may the Almighty protect and bless our land.
                                                             Oh God, we beseech Thee to bless our native land;
                                                             The land of our fathers bestowed upon us all;
                                                             From Zambezi to Limpopo
                                                             May leaders be exemplary;
                                                             And may the Almighty protect and bless our land.

                       (in Shona)
                     Simudzai mureza wedu weZimbabwe
                     Yakazvarwa nemoto wechimurenga;
                     Neropa zhinji ramagamba
                     Tiidzivirire kumhandu dzose;
                     Ngaikomborerwe nyika yeZimbabwe.
                     Tarisai Zimbabwe nyika yakashongedzwa                             
                     Namakomo, nehova, zvinoyevedza
                     Mvura ngainaye, minda ipe mbesa
                     Vashandi vatuswe, ruzhinji rugutswe;
                     Ngaikomborerwe nyika yeZimbabwe.
                     Mwari ropafadzai nyika yeZimbabwe
                     Nyika yamadzitateguru edu tose;
                     Kubva Zambezi kusvika Limpopo,
                     Navatungamiri vave nenduramo;
                     Ngaikomborerwe nyika yeZimbabwe.
(in Ndebele)
Phakamisan iflegi yethu yeZimbabwe
Eyazalwa yimpi yenkululeko;
Legaz' elinengi lamaqhawe ethu
Silivikele ezithan izonke;
Kalibusisiwe ilizwe leZimbabwe.
Khangelan' iZimbabwe yon' ihlotshiwe
Ngezintaba lang' miful' ebukekayo,
Izulu kaline, izilimo zande;
Iz' sebenzi zenam', abantu basuthe;
Kalibusisiwe ilizwe leZimbabwe.
Nkosi busis' ilizwe lethu leZimbabwe
Ilizwe labokhokho bethu thina sonke;
Kusuk' eZambezi kusiy' eLimpopo
Abakhokheli babe lobuqotho;
Kalibusisiwe ilizwe leZimbabwe.

Poems Inspired by Africa

Zimbabwe Child

House of Stone

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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  • 1 year later...

Dark Continent

Teeming jungles, barren desserts, lush beaches,
majestic waterfalls and crocodile ruled rivers.
Home of the elephant, lion, impala, zebra,
ostrich, guerilla, rhino, hippo and giraffe.
Land rich in minerals and diverse humanity
from the miniscule pygmy, to the giant Zulu,
tribes, townships and modern cities. 
Mysterious, violent, forgiving and compelling,

                                  ~~Judi Van Gorder

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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