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Song of Lawino & Song of Ocol

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  422 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
From Uganda, one of the most successful African literary works.
Paperback, 158 pages
Published June 7th 1984 by Heinemann Educational Books (first published 1969)
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Roseline Maucha westernization which alienated Africans from their culture.This can be seen from lawino's useof language of exaggeration when she talks about the…morewesternization which alienated Africans from their culture.This can be seen from lawino's useof language of exaggeration when she talks about the woman with whom she shares her husband.Also when Lawino says that Ocol hates black people and calls Lawino's mother a witch.(less)

Community Reviews

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Tichaona Chinyelu
Mar 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Taking the book solely at face value, Song of Lawino & Song of Ocol are verses concerned with the disintegration of the marriage of Lawino, a rural African (Acoli) woman and Ocol, her western-educated husband. However, peeling back the cover of the words even a tiny bit reveals a woman committed to her indigenous culture versus a man who thinks that her culture needs to be removed from the face of the earth. How could two such people co-exist in the same household? How could two such differi ...more
Sep 12, 2007 rated it really liked it
This is a cross between the dramatic monologue and a "traditional" Acoli (Ugandan) song-form; a woman called lawino gives her husband ocol a serious talking-to about how he's forsaken her for a modern girl (a wench called clementine who's been over-doing the skin-lightening cream) because he's become enchanted with western ways; so its an eloquent defense of traditional rural life by someone who knows exactly how her culture is condescended to (Bitek got a phd in anthropology at oxford in the 19 ...more
Apr 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
if p'bitek was still working on this , the modern african woman has more to be talked on their skinny self, I would add they look like a confined ankole cow in a rubaga because the owner would not pay a fine. also those who took up with the chinese injection to increase their butts, are likely to cry because they look like mizigo not properly tied on a runaway jangili's bike.
The educated men as well, carries heavy kengeles between his legs with the kolongkolong...sounds especially when he is no
Mohamed El farissi
Dec 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Feb 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
a true african book.remarkable
Bwesigye Mwesigire
A masterpiece.
Dari Okot p’Bitek dan sajak-sajaknya bisa ditarik dua pelajaran. Pelajaran pertama berasal dari masalah yang diungkapnya dalam “Nyanyian Lawino” dan “Nyanyian Ocol”. Problem yang dihadapi masyarakat Uganda dalam lingkup sempit, juga dialami masyarakat Afrika. Lebih luas lagi, problem itu diderita oleh hampir semua negara berkembang (baca: Dunia Ketiga). Bagi kita yang juga merdeka pasca-Perang Dunia Kedua, sajak-sajak Okot memberikan tambahan pengetahuan baru, memberikan wawasan pemikiran baru t ...more
Oct 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
I'm not proud of this fact, but I must say I've never been a big reader of serious African literature. I'm afraid that there are only so many books I can read about the conflict between tradition and modernity (which, it seems, is what almost all African literature has been about since the 1940s and 50s). I am also not a big reader of poetry. So by all appearances I should not have enjoyed this book very much.

That being said, I found this book to be fascinating. I can't say I agree with the auth
Aug 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, 2016-favs
beautiful lyrical language used to voice the conflict between traditions and costums being threatened by westernisation.

the poems really pull you into the narrative, clever and well crafted they deliver a strong sense of perspective that allows the reader to understand these characters, who are well defined, explored and developed which makes them an interesting study.

as I read, my mind opened up to the process of two different cultures meeting and the struggle that can take place where there is
Sandra Sopian
Aug 20, 2015 rated it liked it
Ungkapan yg menyatakan bahwa dari buku kau akan dituntun ke buku yg lainnya tidak bohong. saya tau ada buku kecil sarat makna ini dari bukunya Seno Gumira yg eksentrik itu, tidak ada ojek di paris.

Buku kecil ini diterjemahkan oleh Sapardi Djoko, membuat setiap katanya lirih merembes kedalam pemaknaan yg dalam. Buku ini ngeri kuy, isinya merupakan tragedi dan keresahan yg beralasan dari sastrawan afrika yg mengkritisi kemuraman negerinya itu. sastra afrika adalah kesedihan, kemuakan pada kemapan
Alan King
Nov 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
The fight scenes from the Rocky movie series were brutal. Whether taking on Apollo Creed, Mr. T or Drago, the match resulted in the men beating each other beyond recognition.

I remember the men’s eyes swollen shut, the bloody tissue stuck out of busted noses while corner men fixed up the fighters. I also remember the fighters limping around the ring, throwing tired punches—their bodies worn from the physical abuse.

Even still, those brutal fight scenes appear as mere child’s play, compared to the
Daniel Simmons
Jul 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
A remarkable poetic lament for (and scolding at) a husband who has lost sight of his Acoli village roots in his rush to embrace the culture of the white colonizers. In her chastising of a man who has turned his back on his people and their customs (threatening to "uproot the pumpkin," in her words), scorned wife Lawino also gets in some digs against Western concepts of time, Western-style dancing, and hypocritical Catholic priests. Overall: a passionate, rollicking hymn to Ugandan village life. ...more
Zen Cho
Jun 29, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this and did not know there was also a Song of Ocol. It is funny and dauntless and not in the least cowed even though it's basically this woman listing how horrible her husband is to her and how he says she's uneducated and the ways of black people are primitive and barbaric etc. etc. And she is just like, whatever! You have got it all wrong!

Lots of quotable quotes: liked the musty forest of books, books smashing her husband's testicles (there is kind of a lot of ARE YOU A GIRL OR
Jan 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Reading this after having read Coconut by Kopano Matlwa, I would say Song of Lawino is more definitive on which side it stands on- that of Lawino. Song of Lawino is a strong critique of blind abandonment of and disparagement of Acoli traditions and in a broader sense, of ethnic traditions in favour of borrowed traditions, in this case borrowed from the British who were Uganda's colonisers. The book also provided insight into Acoli values and traditions which I enjoyed- the proverbs in particular ...more
May 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Okay, I could go on and on about how much I love the poetry in this book, I have read it more than five times...but I won't because the author at the begining talks about how when the book was translated from his native tongue, Acoli, which I don't speak, some of the imagery was lost (he calls it blunting the arrow) and I feel like I will forever miss something everytime I read it. Still love it. By far its the best, in my opinion on the effects of colonialism on African culture.
Rarasraras R
Sep 01, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone interested in poco poetry in english or poetry in general
Shelves: haveread
- interesting
- a lot to uncover especially in the light of postcolonialism and what it can do to people ..hehe
- a loud "backward" woman vs a just recently "modernized" man
- might be something that those coming from a once colonized country could relate to
- fun and light reading but gives a pretty clear insight of what might happen inside a colonized head.
Nov 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
I've only read The Song of Ocol, published by East African Publishing House 1970, so my comment is on that part, but I consider the glass to be half full.
The Song of Ocol is an unapologetic gem of hymn and despice cooked up together in a pot of communism, colonialism and modernism. No pumpkins, to hell with your pumpkins!, but love, humor and sincerity.
I first read this book in my literature class in high school class and I loved it.
I highly recommend to anyone looking for some African poetry.
Aug 14, 2010 rated it liked it
I suspect this is one of those works one has to read a couple of times to glean its richness. Definitely worth reading again.
Dec 20, 2010 rated it did not like it
I honestly tried to read this book for my high school class some 9 years ago. My english was pretty bad at the time, and this book hasn't helped, that's for sure.
Hannah Waeni
Jan 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
I read it in high school but its still a great book ...
Aug 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literature
I usually struggle with poetry, but I thought this was very engaging and readable.
Bure Kabisa
Oct 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
Mar 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed these poems, typical of African society during the early colonial era. well written, I enjoyed song of Lawino best.
Vincent Paul
Sep 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Just what love is...
Mar 25, 2015 marked it as to-read
Shelves: fic
152 pgs cpl
K's Bognoter
Jun 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: på-min-boghylde
Et ugandisk narrativt langdigt fra 1966... Kan det nu virkelig være interessant læsning i DK 2016? Ja, det kan det:
Mugendi M'rithaa
rated it it was amazing
Dec 23, 2014
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beauty 1 12 Apr 01, 2010 01:14PM  
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Okot p'Bitek (7 June 1931 – 20 July 1982) was a Ugandan poet, who achieved wide international recognition for Song of Lawino, a long poem dealing with the tribulations of a rural African wife whose husband has taken up urban life and wishes everything to be westernised.

(from Wikipedia)
More about Okot p'Bitek...

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