matt's poetry pocketbook:
poems and poets notes

 Akan praises of hunters

Comment on Akan praises of hunters

These are all songs sung on two occasions: funeral of a hunter and funeral of an elephant - Akan hunters were ranked according to the number of elephants they had killed - an elephant kill always meant a triumphant entry to the village and giving up of songs.

The second song is a lament over a carcass. Killing of big game made the hunter both joyful for the acomplishment and sorrowful because of his identification with the strong, beautiful animal. This was further tempered with dread lest the released spirit of the hunter's quarry attack its murderer. Therefore Akan hunters became expert in magic and medicine.

Matthew John Williams
April 2001