Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Excerpt from 'Song of Lawino'

The Democratic Party

How does it differ

From the (Uganda People's) Congress?

Ocol says

They want Uhuru,

His brother says

They want Uhuru and Peace,

Both of them say they fight ignorance and disease!

Then why do they not join hands,

Why do they split up the army

Into two hostile groups?

The spears of the young men

And their shields,

Why are the weapons

And the men and women

Dispersed so uselessly?

And while the pythons of sickness

Swallow the children

And the buffalos of poverty

Knock the people down

And ignorance stands there

Like an elephant,

The war leaders

Are tightly locked in bloody feuds,

Eating each other’s liver

As if the D.P. was leprosy

And the Congress yaws;

If only the parties

Would fight poverty

With the fury

With which they fight each other,

If diseases and ignorance

Were assaulted

With the deadly vengeance

With which Ocol assaults his mother’s son,

The enemies would have been

Greatly reduced by now.

Okot p'Bitek was born in 1932 in Gulu, Northern Uganda to Acholi parents. He began writing in his mother tongue Lwo, one of the Western Nilotic languages, subsequently his works White Teeth and Song of Lawino were translated into English. 'Bitek passed away on July 20, 1982.

1 comment:

  1. Stop despising people
    As if you were a little foolish man,
    Stop treating me like saltless ash
    Become barren of insults and stupidity;
    Who has ever uprooted the Pumpkin?
    (from 'My Husband's Tongue Is Bitter,' in The Song of Lawino)
    Okot p'Bitek (1931-1982)


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