Song of Lawino (excerpt) |Okot p’Bitek

Listen Ocol, my old friend,
The ways of your ancestors
Are good,
Their customs are solid
And not hollow
They are not thin, not easily breakable
They cannot be blown away.
By the wind
Because their roots reach deep into the soil.

I do not understand
The way of foreigners
But I do not despise their customs.
Why should you despise yours?
Listen, my husband,
You are the son of the Chief.
The pumpkin in the old homestead
Must not be uprooted!

Okot p’Bitek was a prominent Ugandan poet. Song of Lawino was originally written in Acholi language. It was self-translated to English, and published in 1966.

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