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I Could Speak Until Tomorrow

Oriki, Women & the Past in a Yoruba Town

Karin Barber

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In Yoruba culture oriki, or oral praise poetry, is a major part of both traditional performance and daily life, and as such reflects social change and structure both past and present. Karin Barber studies the oriki poetry of Okuku, a small town in the Oyo state of Nigeria. She shows how women, the main performers of the oriki, interpret the poems and examines the links it gives them between living and dead, human and spiritual, and present and past.

About the Author

Karin Barber is Professor of African Studies at the Centre of West African Studies at Birmingham University. She is Editor of the journal Africa.


As ethnography it is classic - clear, rich detailed and beautifully readable. The key achievement of this book is to demonstrate so well the connection between the use of language on the one hand and the creation of social knowlege on the other. Startlingly provocative and resonant.

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