In Adela’s Time

A short satire recorded in Yoruba in the early 1950s by Ulli Beier, the German-Jewish scholar who went on to make distinguished contributions to Nigerian literature. Onalu, Kurumi, and Adela were nineteenth century Yoruba chiefs. See also In Oyewumi Alabi’s Time.

In Onalu’s reign we changed our dress frequently
In Kurumi’s time we used cloth on the finest material…

Song of the Wrestler

A Yoruba song from Nigeria, sung by the wrestler as a prayer as he enters the arena. Each of the images takes for granted the wrestler’s natural superiority.

O Rat, help me to knock him down.
O Broken Stalk, assist me to lay him low…

In Oyewumi Alabi’s Time

Oyewumi Alabi was a nineteenth century chief of Ibadan. He was preceded by two chiefs whose reigns were marked by prodigies – a stream breaking forth, a comet appearing. Under Oyewumi Alabi, the colonial hut tax was first imposed.

This satire was recorded in Yoruba in the early 1950s by Ulli Beier, the German-Jewish scholar who went on to make distinguished contributions to Nigerian literature.

In Aburu’s reign,
A stream broke forth in the sacred grove…