11. A Song of Praise to Hausa


Speakers of the Hausa tongue

Come hither, be ye old or young!

And give to me a cola nut,

A token offering for what,

I'll sing to you in Hausa.


In compensation for your gift,

Your very souls I shall uplift.

The prize for noble toil is bliss.

Assured to you is happiness.

No gain in hiding Hausa.


In this my poem verse by verse

The praise of Hausa, I'll rehearse.

Arranging words in such a way

Its wondrous glory to display.

Here's a song in Hausa!


This marvelous tongue let me explore

And let me not make light my chore!

In every pasture, sown or burned,

Let me leave no stone unturned

In this my praise to Hausa!


In this my verse, I shall not miss

To stir your noble consciences

To act and make a firm resolve,

Whatever cost it may involve,

To compose books in Hausa.


The ancient wisdom of our tongue,

Let us transmit it to our young!

If we refuse this sacred task,

How can they preserve, I ask

Our glorious native Hausa?


For joking or for insults vile,

For speechmaking, observe our guile!

With our riddles and our proverbs,

We twist the meaning of the words

To get a pun in Hausa.


To write Boko or Ajami

Hausa has flexibility.

The cursive script with letters round

Exudes and pulsates with the sound

And gives meaning in Hausa.


Lest you say that I'm a bore,

And sound off with a loud uproar

Accusing me of marking time,

Let me hasten to end this rhyme,

This song in praise of Hausa!


Her stanzas number forty-four,

Not one less and not one more.

Each verse is faultless you can see

And free from all impurity.

No jagged edge in Hausa.


O God, Allah, we pray of thee,

To bless Ahmad's Sahabahi,

Muhammed, his posterity,

And lastly, our activity

In striving to build Hausa.


The fearless Yaro Ibrahim

Composed this song and it would seem

This worthy son of Muhammed,

After all is done and said,

Has greatly honored Hausa.

12. Creature Feats,

I’m the tallest mammal

That you will ever meet.

From tip of hoof, to base of horn

I measure eighteen feet.

My knobby horns are quite unlike

Those of the deer or ram.

I’ve got spots just like a leopard.

Can you guess who I am?


The Steppe Giraffe!  

“We Steppe Giraffes have very long necks and steeply sloping backs. We have horns which are knobbed and covered with skins.

Our ears are short, pointed, and narrow and our eyes are very large. Maybe that is why we have such good vision.

We live mostly in Africa, south of the Sahara desert. We like to stay together and sometimes there are fifty or more of us in a single herd.

When we stand between trees we are hard to see because our spotted necks and bodies look like the bark of the tree trunks with the shadow of branches on them.

We have few enemies. We can kill a lion with a single kick from our powerful front or back legs.

We eat foliage from the trees. With our long tongues and hard lips, we can even get leaves from thorn trees without getting stuck by the sharp points.

In order to drink we must spread our legs apart and flex or kneel so we can reach the ground with our mouth.

Questions & Facts about Giraffes  

  1. Have you ever seen a giraffe?
  2. Where did you see it?
  3. What do you like most about giraffes? Why?
  4. What animal do you think is most like the giraffe?
  5. What can we learn from giraffes?
  1. Did you know that ancient Egyptians thought giraffes were a cross between a female camel and a male panther?
  2. Did you know the first giraffe to reach America arrived in 1873?
  3. Did you know that despite its awkward shape, giraffes can jump over a fence that is six feet tall?
  4. Did you know that a giraffe has three (not two) horns? The third one is much smaller and is located in the middle of its forehead
13. BMA I: Combat Games of Northern Nigeria pgs. 6-8 - The forgoing sketch was designed to give the reader a picture of the land and its population before it was "pacified" by the British. In short, this somewhat harsh land was peopled by various ethnic groups - principal of which were the Fulani, Hausa and Kanuri - all skilled in warfare and compelled by necessity to raise and maintain large bodies of fighting men. Even those ethnic groups who were eventually subjugated by their neighbors were compelled to develop defensive warfare to a maximum in order to protect themselves from their predatory neighbors. Indeed, only the fiercest groups survived and this was due largely to their courage and the inaccessibility of their mountain retreats. The weaker peoples were captured and sold as slaves.

It can be safely assumed that there must have been some sort of martial training for youths in the forms of games. I say games, because it would hardly do to have a villager kill a relative in a non-war situation, since every man would no doubt be needed to defend the village against a common enemy. Furthermore, these games, doubtlessly, had rules to safe-guard combatants from severe bodily harm, while at the same time permitting enough possible harm to test the courage and skills of the would-be warriors.

The theory that these games were instituted by the British as substitutes for actual wars is untenable, namely because: 1) the history of the games goes back farther than the arrival of the British; and 2) the British had no games that can be said to be the model on which these traditional games are based. Though it is true that some of the games in question have "mellowed" as a result of the de-emphasis of the necessity to produce young warriors, only those individuals who have "inherited' a particular game feel brave enough to play it. Thus the Fulani feardambeand shanci, but practice sharo; the butchers fear shanci and sharo, but practice dambe; and the Maguzawa fear sharo and dambe, but practice shanci. The following chapters will provide a detailed description of the most important survivals of Hausa combat games in Northern Nigeria - namely:

1) dambe - a form of traditional boxing practiced by members of the butchers' guild and increasingly by local toughs who are not members of this guild. In dambe only one hand is "gloved" (i.e. bound for striking purposes), the other hand being used to ward off blows. Kicking and head butting is permitted;

2) farauta - hunting expeditions in which one group snatches prey from another. In bishi, a specially convened gathering of hunters, the combatants - armed with knives, bows and arrows, maces, clubs, and other sundry weapons- shout their taunts and praises and engage in mock (sometimes real) confrontations. Feats of magic, such as the materialization of arrows from the thin air, are said to occur at such gatherings;

3) kokawa - a form of traditional wrestling practiced mostly by farmers. Perhaps the safest of the combat games, though in some cases serious injury results - particularly when a wrestler is lifted high in the air and slammed to the ground at the feet of a spectator. Unlike American wrestling, one does not need to pin an opponent to win. If an adversary's hand or body touches the ground, he is considered defeated. There exists to this day in Sokoto the survival of a harsher form of wrestling in which adversaries are equipped with ringlets that can slash the back of an adversary when grabbed;

4. shanci - a spectacular and often bloody contest performed exclusively by the Maguzawa Hausa in which gallantly arrayed adversaries, armed with razor sharp iron bracelets, engage in pitched battle;

5. sharo or shadi - a Fulani manhood contest involving mutual flogging with a long flexible stick or a short hard one. Those who cry out in pain are disgraced and are not considered worthy of marriage;

6. tauri - a large gathering of tough-skins ('yan tauri) who are supposedly impervious to being cut by metals - due to their use of traditional medicines. They shout their praises and taunts while demonstrating their invulnerability by drawing swords or knives across various parts of the body including the tongue. If conducted in a remote area, these gatherings (commonly called gangi) produce confrontations in which serious injury and / or loss of life is likely to occur;

7. other contests - include minor combat games such as faka (butting), kwambe (foot boxing), wowwo (communal mock war raids) and wasan sanda (Fulani stick fighting) as well as those games of courage which do not pit man against man, but rather against nature such as: wasan wuta (testing invulnerability to burning),hawan kaho (riding the horns of a bull), wasan kura (dangerous play with hyenas), wasan mahaukata (self flagellation with swords), wasan macizai (snake dodging), and wasan kunama (permitting poisonous scorpions to roam over one's skin).

Before discussing in detail the individual games in question, it is appropriate at this point to give a brief overview of those features they have in common. In all major combat games, Hausa Combat Literature (HCL) - an aggregate of highly stylized linguistic behavior consisting of take-take (drummed summonses and observations), kirari (stylized responses to a summons), and waka (chants and songs by professional musicians) - is considered to be a crucial and essential component.

14 . 14. The Lore of Melanesia – < pg. 100 - The purpose of this book is to expose the reader, in a journey through pictures and words, to the Melanesian people, their land, and their culture. Though remnant populations attesting to their earlier extension can be found even today in isolated pockets of Madagascar, India (Andaman islands), southern Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia (Sumatra & Nusa Tengara Timor), the Philippine islands (Negritos), and Vietnam, the once vast territorial domain of the ancestors of contemporary Melanesians (which extended at least from Madagascar in the west to Hawaii in the East) has today been reduced to a cluster of islands in the South Pacific generally referred to as Melanesia.

The vast majority of the contemporary Melanesian population, therefore, presently resides in: 1) New Guinea, now politically divided into Irian Jaya (the easternmost province of Indonesia) and the Republic of Papua New Guinea; 2) the Republic of the Solomon islands; 3) the Republic of Vanuatu (formerly a British and French condominium called the New Hebrides); 4) New Caledonia, which is still under French rule; and 5) the Fiji islands (nowadays considered a bridge between Polynesia and Melanesia).

These islands are called Melanesia (in contradistinction to the neighboring island groups of Polynesia and Micronesia) because of the characteristic dark (from brown to black) skin and woolly hair of their indigenous populations. Though the native peoples of these islands appear to be descendants of a common racial stock (i.e. Austral Negroid) and have many cultural affinities, they speak various languages (over 1,000) and there are also a variety of cultural features which are said to distinguish one group from another.

Although it appears that the major factor uniting this group is skin color, or "race" (and in this regard a chapter on Black Australians has been included in this work), there are several other factors which unite them and give them a feeling of identity with one another, namely they all: 1) have been at one time or another hunted down, killed, oppressed, and enslaved or colonized by Europeans (or Asians); 2) have had their language, culture, and religions subordinated to those of alien races, and 3) have been made to assume the role and perspective of "minorities" even in places where they are numerically the majority (e.g. though 80% of the population of the South Pacific islands are even today Melanesian, it is argued that they constitute a small minority of the population of the region). As a result of the above conditioning factors, a feeling of weakness and inferiority operates upon the political leaders of these communities causing them to reject what is inherent in their union and to identify with the culture and politics of more powerful alien neighbors (i.e. Australia, Indonesia, etc.).

The problems facing the peoples of this region are manifold, but they are fortunate to be blessed with rich land & ocean resources, enduring traditions, social cohesion, and peace and tranquility, all of which enable Melanesians to live a life that is much less stressful than what we experience here in America. In the pages and pictures which follow, the reader will not only be exposed to these people, their lands, and their customs, but will also hopefully gain insight into their way of life - a way of life which is quite different from our own.

15. Black Lore Melanesia / The Adventures of Waburi - < pg. 11 - An Adventure of Waburi in the Torres Strait - The appeal of coconuts for the tired, thirsty and hungry is not confined to Torres Strait Islanders, but parents there are particularly concerned about the safety of their children for whom the lure of a sweet coconut in a high palm tree is irresistible. The following adventure of Waburi is told with the idea of cautioning these children with the notion that if they try to climb a tall palm they may, like the boy in this story, change into an ant's nest. Here (as elsewhere) the spelling "coc'nut" is used for the two-syllable pronunciation of coconut. [Inspired by a folktale appearing in Tales From Torres Strait. 1972. Laurie, Margaret. University of Queensland Press]

An I sland boy decided once

To climb a coc'nut tree;

For he was tired and thirsty and

As hungry as could be.


He'd hunted in green forest and

Had fished in deep blue sea,

But the only food he'd seen that day,

Were coc'nuts in a tree.


He took his pointed stick and shell

To seek that prize on high.

So lofty was that coc'nut palm,

It nearly pierced the sky.


But when he reached the coconuts;

The wind began to blow;

Such that the pointed husking stick

Fell to the earth below.


"Without that stick, I'm at a loss

To husk these nuts, I fear.

So I'll climb down to fetch it back

And leave the shell knife here."


As he climbed down to fetch the stick

To open up the nut,

The stick cried out, "If you come down

I'll jab you in your butt.


You carried me way up that tree,

And then you let me fall".

The stick had got an ugly bruise

And wasn't pleased at all.


Then as the boy climbed t'wards the top,

In anger, said the shell:

"If you climb up to where I'm at

I'll cut you all to hell;


For you went down to fetch the stick

And left me here alone.

You're not the kind of friend I want.

You've got a heart of stone".


And thus the boy was trapped and nei-

ther up nor down could go.

So he remained there terrified.

His heart was full of woe.

And as he didn't dare to move

In time, God thought it best

To change the frightened, hungry boy

Into a huge ant's nest.


And so my lads, don't climb tall palms

That soar into the blue!

If you get stuck there, you'll be changed

Into an ant's nest, too.

16. The Lore of the African Indian Ocean . <pg. 544 - Ben Gontran, the founder of the Racines group lives in a beautiful colonial house (see second photo next page) on Barclay Street, near the Rodrigan Tours office. Every Friday, the group members faithfully come to this home for practice sessions, not so much because they need the practice, but rather because they truly enjoy dancing to their music. During and after the session, the men in the group drink rum and discuss matters of mutual concern. It was at one of these gatherings that I learned of Ben's famous recipe for rum-punch discussed under cuisine (page 502, above).

When Ben, a former school director, came to the realization that the majority of the young people of Rodrigues no longer knew the traditional dances he loved so much in his youth, he decided to start dance classes to teach the young their lost culture and to give the old a chance to relive their lost youth. Their repertoire now includes most of the old forms: Biguine, Boston carré, Kotis (Scottish), Lancier, Laval (Waltz), Mazok (Mazurka) carré, Mazok croisé, Polka bébé, Polkadrille, Polka Russe, Quadrille, Sega Accordéon, Séga Tambour, etc..

Interestingly enough, Ben's Friday night sessions attract not only the young and old, but people of all stations in life: mountain people and coastal dwellers, black and white, rich and poor, locals and foreigners. In fact, many of the dancers are highly respected members of Rodriguen society. Ben tells us that "sega- la kordeon", one of the dances his group performs, is the Rodriguen resolution of the conflict between competing African drum and European violin traditions (see first photo next page). The gift of a diatonic accordion from the Rotary Club of St. Pierre ( Reunion) to Ben in 1993, marked the starting point of his new school "daze". It was only after the school was so highly successful and invitations started pouring in, that Ben decided to start a performing troupe.

It was thus, that Racines was born. The group, though only two years old, is now very much sought after and has given dozens of public and private performances. One such performance was for the opening of Mammouth in Rodrigues (pictured below). For that occasion a special sega was composed by Wilson Félicité (a member of the group), the lyrics of which appear below.

Ene zoli zour zordi

(A beautiful day today;)

Ene grand l'ambiance zordi

(A great setting today;)

Ene zoli zour zordi

(A beautiful day today;)

Mammouth fine rentre dans Rodrigues

(Mammouth has finally come to Rodrigues!)

A nous allé do Racine

(So, let's go Racine!)

A nous allé do mo soeur

(Let's go sisters!)

A nous allé do mo frere

(Let's go brothers!)

Nous alle mette l'ambiance Camp du Roi

(Let's go put on a show in Camp du Roi!)

Comment nou arrive Camp du Roi

(As we arrive in Camp du Roi;)

Aussitot nou arrive Camp du Rois.

(As soon as we arrive in Camp du Roi;)

Comment nou arrive Camp du Roi

(As we arrive in Camp du Roi;)

Nous cisonné, nou coupé

(We'll play music and dance!)

17. The Lore & Lure of the Seychelles While most drinks available in the US are also available on La Digue (wine, beer, whisky, rum, soft-drinks, etc.), they are usually much more expensive. There is, however, one delightful but inexpensive drink not available in the US, that is found on La Digue. That drink is called toddy or kalou in the Seychelles (trembo in the Comoros) and can be consumed as a sweet drink when freshly tapped or as alcohol when left for a day. If left not refrigerated for more than two days it becomes vinegar and can no longer be consumed as a beverage.

To find out where and how toddy is obtained, we visit the home of Luc Tirant whom I met on a previous voyage to the Seychelles in 1989. He introduces us to his father (Octave Uranie) and the two of them lead us to a coconut tree. Octave climbs the ladder and invites me to follow. I climb halfway up and photograph the baba koko, which has been bound tightly with a pink ribbon, and the plastic bottle which is tied to the end so as to receive the precious drops of fluid which fall into it (see photos below). After returning to the ground, I ask Luc what the process involved is and he replies:

"In order to get kalou, you must first cut a small piece from the extremity (i.e. opening) of the baba koko (heart) before it opens. Then, when water begins to come out of it, the skin must be cut away. When this is done, the peeled baba koko is bound with a ribbon (as in the photo above) and a plastic bottle is attached with a rope in such a way that the liquid falling from the cut opening is captured by the bottle. Two times a day (at 0800 and at 1700) the baba koko is again cut with a sharp knife and the full bottle is replaced with an empty one. Sometimes two bottles are placed in a tree and thus four bottles are obtained on a daily basis from a single tree. If three buckets are placed in the tree, then we get six bottles of kalou. Because we have a large family, we drink what we tap, and there is usually nothing left to sell.”

When asked to talk about himself a little and tell us what else he does besides tapping toddy, the 19 year old Luc (pictured below with some family members) responds:

"I was born October 22, 1976 and was named Luc, because that is the Saint's Day for St. Luke. I was born and raised in La Digue and have two brothers and three sisters. I did all my schooling (kindergarten through Standard 4) in La Digue and then went to Mahé for one year in the National Youth Service and one year at the Polytechnic. I then dropped out of school for financial and other reasons. I really didn't like Mahé at all. I like La Digue because it is peaceful and quiet and because my family is here. I now have a job working in construction as a carpenter's assistant. As for my hobbies, I like playing volleyball and soccer, and I won the swimming competition during my National Youth Service. Although I like sporting with canoes and motor boats, I don't go fishing because that makes me vomit.

When asked what he does with his salary and if he has any unfulfilled wishes, he responds:

I earn 1,500 SR (about $300) a month. I put 500 SR in the bank, give 600 to my mother, spend 200 on my girl friend, and keep 200 for myself. As for unfulfilled dreams, I would very much like to travel one day to see the world and am saving money to visit my brother in Canada.

We say good-bye to Luc and his family and head to the church to find out more about the festival of the 15th of August.

18. The Lore & Lure of the Comoros - According to Lafoundine, Fomboni (the capital of Moheli) means the place near the fombo (fresh water spring on the seaside), and Moheli is derived from the Arabic Wali (via Swahili Mwali) which means "saintly person". He says that name is appropriate because the people of Moheli are known for their honesty, kindness, generosity, and hospitality. His account of how Domoni got its name (there is a Domoni in Moheli as well as in Andjouan), however, is both longer and intriguing when we compare it with the Cheikh's account in Andjouan. Lafoundine says everyone on the island knows the story and there is nothing secret about it. He says:

The word Domoni is composed of two morphemes: domo (meaning "lips") and ni (meaning "in" or "at"). Thus Domoni means "in or at the lips". There was a village called Kobela (Mifoni?) in the northwest part of the island where a sorcerer taught his arts to those interested in learning them. One day he became ill and knowing he would die instructed his students saying: "If I should die, place this piece of paper in my mouth before you bury me". When he died, one of the students at the burial site asked to see the piece of paper before it was placed in the mouth of the sorcerer / teacher and upon reading it advised them not to do as they had been asked . The other students refused to listen to him and, saying that he was ungrateful, placed the paper in the mouth of their teacher as they had been instructed.

The student who read the paper, immediately packed his gear and left the town. That night the sound of a bullroarer echoed in the night and everyone that heard the sound died within three days. This happened again and again until the people of the village realized that the student who left may have been right.

After a short search they located his new residence and told him what had happened. The student then told the people that upon reading the paper he knew that the dead sorcerer was a jealous man who did not want his art spread about. He further told them that in order to survive they must leave the village in two groups. He gave a cock (kokoi) with a cord (hamba) attached to its leg to one group and a sheep (ngonzi) to the other. He then said to the first group: "Follow this cock until it crows. When it does you must stop and build a village which you will call Hamba." Turning to the second group he said: "Follow this sheep! Stop wherever it first places its mouth on something to eat, build your town there, and call it Domoni ("in the lips").

I find this story intriguing because in both the Islamic and the pagan stories the sheep and the cock figure as the dominating motif. As we enter under our mosquito nets to avoid the "plague of the tropics" Lafoundine (who has no net) asks us if we know the Comorian reason why people slap the mosquito with their hand to kill it. When we say no, he replies: …. etc.

19. The Lore & Lure of the Maldives - Although we spend most of our "tea" time at Waheed's, due to its proximity to our residence, the interesting atmosphere, and the truly delicious treats served, we soon discover that there are many other "short eats" establishments in Malé. Though these "tea-shops" are typically called "hotels" in the Maldives, they do not have sleeping accommodations. Furthermore, they function as a social center for men and are generally off-limits to school children and women.

When you enter one of these "hotels", you are served a cup of tea and a big platter of delicacies (called hedhikaa) on several saucers. You eat what you want and the waiter counts the missing items to figure out your bill. Each plate typically has three items on it selected from an assortment of curried fish cakes, pudding squares, frittered dough balls, etc. You can also ask for a meal of curried fish with rice or unleavened bread. Dhivehin typically break the bread into small bits and stir it into the curry sauce with their fingers. Queen of the Night (on Marine Drive) also offers noodle and egg plate dinners.

One "hotel" (where I saw a woman eating ice-cream with her male escort) is Fini Park ("Cold" Park). We enter the "hotel" and "discover" a tasty treat called biskutlats ("egg cutlets"), a Fini Park specialty. This unusual delicacy looks like a discolored boiled egg from which the shell has been removed, but tastes like fish when you bite into it.

I am so taken aback, I ask the cashier how it is made and he tells me I can see how it is done the next time that his sister (Zuhuraa) prepares it. When asked when that would be, he tells us to return the following day before noon. When we arrive, we are led to the kitchen (see photo next page) and witness the preparation of this truly unusual delicacy the recipe for which is as follows:

Fini Park Egg Cutlats

Ingredients - boiled potatoes, cut chili, hikadhufai, garlic, boiled tuna, boiled egg, onion, bread crumbs, ground pepper, lemon, and saltwater.

Preparation - cut fish into small pieces; chop onions. Mix ingredients (except potatoes) with salt water and lemon. Add ground pepper and mix in; mix flour with water; kneed fish with hand and mix with other ingredients; squeeze potatoes and mix with fish mix; cut boiled egg in half lengthwise; mold mixture around half-egg so that it resembles a whole egg (when doing this extend mold around portion of egg half, but leave some of the white bare); dip this molded egg into batter consisting of water and flour and then dip egg into bread crumbs; heat lots of oil in pan so that it is boiling and dip prepared egg into the boiling oil; let cool before eating.

I am amazed at the time and effort put into making these delicacies and ask them if they have any other specialties of the house. I am then given some puding folee to sample. This dish is made by frying a batter made from egg, milk, and vanilla essence. Though no sugar is added it tastes like a sweet crepe.

Other than the tea shops, there isn't very much else to do on the island other than swimming in the ocean (like these boys pictured below) or watching a movie, video, or sports competition. There are four movie theaters in Malé, all of which typically show three-hour long Hindi films or an occasional B-rated movie in English. A great effort is made to prevent the local population from being exposed to the high levels of sex and violence we are accustomed to in the US and Europe and so such films are either censored (i.e. have some scenes removed) or are not shown at all.

20. The Lore & Lure of Mauritius - We thank Menwar for his help and promise to visit him again if possible. Though we have much more to learn from him, we must rush off because we have four more people to see in the Port Louis area today. First on the list is Rozard Mounawah, a 44 year old Mauritian Rastafarian whose house is in easy walking distance from where we are. While we will deal with Rastafarianism in much greater detail in Lore of the Caribbean, it is important to mention this group here because like Christianity, their cult has become internationalized - spreading from its humble place of origin ( Jamaica) all around the black world. We have already seen them in the Seychelles and will meet them almost everywhere we go. The major factor in its spread is apparently the music and teachings of Bob Marley.

Rozard informs us that while there are over 2,000 Rastafarians in Mauritius, he is considered to be one of the first and has newspaper and magazine articles to prove it. Inspired by books and reports dealing with the Black Panthers, Malcolm X, and Alex Haley, he became a revolutionary activist in the 1970's. He was an active member of the M.M.M.S.P. and upon reaching a peak of awareness, began to wear "dread locks" as a physical manifestation of his black consciousness. His son, who also wore locks until he was twelve years old, was obliged to cut them off to continue studies.

As a Rastafarian, he drew graffiti, organized dances, and formed youth groups, all with the objective of spreading black cultural awareness. His efforts at organization, however, were stymied when the police intervened citing such laws as the P.O.A. (Public Order Act) and the I.R.A. (Industrial Relations Act) to curb his activities. After he spent eleven days in jail, the authorities succeeded in breaking up his group by exerting pressure on the families of its members.

That was then in the early days, now there are many more like him. A major factor that keeps the Rasta movement alive in Mauritius is the fact that most of its adherents have (like Bob Marley) become singers and musicians. Though the Mauritian Rasta movement has no doctrine, regimentalization, or leadership, their music and songs bind them together and help propagate black awareness in the greater society, largely through the messages contained in the lyrics.

What then is the message? Mounawah says:

Nous faisons un travail de conscientisation pour que le peuple noir opprimé comprenne ce qu'est l'unité, ce qu'est l'amour du prochain, ce qu'est la sagesse pour qu'il retrouve sa dignité. Le seul peuple qui est opprimé à Maurice c'est le peuple Afro-Mauricien qu'on appelle le Creole. Nous savons que nous sommes les victimes du système de la colonisation (autrefois) et maintenant du système de Babyolone qu'est le capitalisme. Nous delions le peuple du système pour qu'il fasse un retour aux sources, un retour vers une vie plus Africanisée, plus naturelle, plus adaptée à ce qu'il est. Vivre plus simplement comme Dieu, Jesus Christ, et Rastafari l'on dit. Nous voulons donner au peuple un art de vivre plus simple pour qu'il délaisse le système. Il doit vivre dans la simplicité, il doit accepter qu'il est descendant d'Africain, donc de la tribu de Juda.


["Our work consists of making our oppressed Black people understand what is meant by unity, love of neighbor, and wisdom so that they will recuperate their lost dignity. The only people who are oppressed in Maurice are the Afro-Mauritians referred to as Creoles. We know that we were formerly victims of the colonial system, and that we are now victims of the Babylonian system which is capitalism. We detach people from the system so that they will return to their origin, a return to a more African way of life, more natural, more adapted to what it is. Living simply, like God, Jesus Christ, and Rastafari have said. We want to give the people an art of living more simply so that they abandon the system. They should live in simplicity and accept the fact that they are descendants of Africa and thus of the tribe of Juda.]

He continues saying:

We, as a people, have been brain-washed and deculturized; but through our music, our actions, our work, and our mutual respect, Rastafarians have become models (witnesses). We don't combat capitalism; we abandon it and adapt the system of self-help which is more natural. We don't have any material weaponry. We farm, make charcoal, raise animals, fish, and make arts and crafts. We do this all for ourselves so that we can feel free. We don't want man to exploit his fellow man. We don't strive to have a life of luxury; we want to live somewhat like the maroons .

We thank Mounawah for the information and, because he is unprepared to be photographed, leave his appearance to your imagination. To help you formulate your impression, I might add that though he has some suspicions regarding our presence, he does not appear to be the least bit threatening.