Oral Poetry from Africa


Compiled by Jack Mapanje and Landeg White
Longman 1984

The poems from this collection can now be found through the website – AfricanPoems.net

This anthology introduces to secondary and college students a selection of the marvellous and varied oral poetry from Africa. The poems in this collection illustrate the vitality and immediacy of oral literature, and there are numerous examples of modern poems, reflecting the fact that oral poetry is very much alive in Africa today.

Oral Poetry from Africa contains poems and songs which comment upon the whole range of human experience; poems of praise and celebration; poems to amuse and entertain; poems of love and of loss; work songs and protest songs. Here are poems which above all will be enjoyed.


“This anthology, freshly bathed, towelled and wrapped in new linen, is a delight to explore. The student and the discerning general reader will find this amazing collection informative, pleasing and startling … I cannot fully express the liveliness of these poems, their immediacy, topicality, their direct reference to events and people … The appearance of this book on the African Literature shelves is indeed my first pleasant surprise from what I thought was to be Orwell’s 1984”

Dambudzo Marechera