L’aruge Promotion
Emi l’ogel’etiahon I am the sap on the tip of the tongue
Ahoniyakogbọdọgb The mother’s tongue must not become dry
tisaahoniyas’orun You have exposed the mother’s tongue to the sun
orunt’omuhanhan A scorching sun
itọ n gbẹ, ahonnru Saliva is drying, the tongue shrinking
igbawol’ahonna ‘onigb When will the tongue not dry out

Gbemil’arugẹ, shemi loge

Promote me, beautify me
An kanitosiodo We drip saliva into the river
Aniọlajuni We say it is ‘being civilised’
Odokomonkannkan, on rulọ The river felt nothing, roars on
Talakat’on se saraf’olowo The peasant giving alms to the rich man
Kosai ma peoshiounpelekesini


Only increases his poverty, the warned, O Lord, may he reason

Gbemil’arugẹ, shemi loge


Promote me, beautify me
Tani ‘ofẹgẹsin, Who does not wish to ride a horse
Owe l’ẹsinọrọ, Proverb is the horse of the word,
ọrọl’ẹsin owe Word, the horse of the proverb
ati oweatiọrọ, ahonni papa won, The tongue is field for both
papa l’ẹnkanilẹyi The field you are rolling away
Yoruba ronu, kojinle Yoruba think, deeply
Gbemil’arugẹ, shemi loge


Promote me, beautify me
K’amapadabuoyinbo So we may not blame the white man (later)
Odo ti komo wipewon fun itọsioun, River that knows not saliva is being squeezed into it
Oyibogbeitọrẹl’aruge, odiodo, White man promoted his saliva, it became a river
Awawa n da itọsisinu re And we pour saliva into it
Bẹsilagbon, oyesiwa And we are thoughtful, full of wisdom
Sugboniwawakojọb But our acts is different to these

Gbemil’arugẹ, shemi loge


Promote me, beautify me
Omoẹniibajọẹni If only a child had taken after one
Inuẹniiba dun The heart would have been gladden
Ai bikitani won fi ede se Lackadaisical with the language, they are
Ede, atọkaẹni, Koyẹka fi yẹpẹr Language, one’s identity, we should not make a trifle
Abọọrọ fun ọmọluabi Half word for the citizen
T’obade’nu a di odindi Digested, becomes whole
Ti won banitani o kọorinewiyi If you are asked the author of these verses
Eniemini, emi, AyindeAjirifẹ, fi ọkans’ọgbon Say it is me, I,  AyindeAjirife, who             says thirty (words) with one (word)
Turaki Ile Ojude, Ọmọ ileateniwijọ The Turaki of Ile Ojude, son of the house where mat is spread for talks
K’ọrọpẹpẹpẹ ma ba ta danu So little talks may not pop away
Ọmọ Lalataogboja, Ọmọlabalabaetiwẹru The spoilt one, the flap eared butterfly
Awa ni, ẹnu dun iyọtẹẹ ! We are the one, mouth so sweet salt sours!



THINGS THAT WERE LOST IN OUR VAGINAS by Nyachiro Lydia Kasese, (Tanzania)

THINGS THAT WERE LOST IN OUR VAGINAS by Nyachiro Lydia Kasese, (Tanzania)

Last week I found my seven year old cousin in the nude,

legs wide open in a sitting position and hands prying into her vagina as if searching for something there.

I wanted to ask her mother if maybe her new boyfriend may have dropped a penny there,

may have, lost his keys in the crevices of her vaginal lips so much so that it gave her an itch she had to scratch, gave her an ache whose source she had to find.

I wanted to rush over and close her legs,

wanted to wrap them shut with the kangas my mother covered herself with as she explained how boys were haram.

But there were no words where they should have been.

I wanted to wrap my hands around her body and teach her how to pray to the gods,

but I feared my hands may feel like his on her skin,

I feared that my voice may break in the midst of salah

and she would smell his scent on my body and know that we shared the same demons,

that our scars made the same tracks only mine have been running for over ten years now,

and yet every night since I taught her how to hate the stench of submission,

we kneel with our heads bowed down and still say “inshallah”