IWA – CHARACTER

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To’ju iwa re, ore mi,
Ola a ma si lo n’ile eni,
Ewa a si ma si l’ara enia.

Olowo oni ‘nd’olosi b’o d’ola,
Okun l’ola, okun n’igbi oro,
Gbogbo won l’o nsi lo n’ile eni;
Sugbon iwa ni m’ba ni de sare’e,

Owo ko je nkan fun ni.
Iwa l’ewa omo enia,
Bi o l’owo bi o ko ni’wa nko?
Tani je f’inu tan e ba s’ohun rere?

Tabi ki o je obirin rogbodo,
Ti o ba jina si’wa ti eda nfe,
Tani je fe o s’ile bi aya?

Tabi ki o je onijibiti enia,
Bi o tile mo iwe amodaju;
Tani je gbe’se aje fun o se?

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Toju Iwa re, ore mi,
Iwa ko si, eko d’egbe;
Gbogbo aiye ni ‘nfe ‘ni t’o je rere.

English
TRANSLATION


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Enhance your character, my friend,
Prosperity could depart from one’s home,
And beauty could retreat from people’s bodies.

Today’s rich could become poor tomorrow,
Opulence is like ocean’s surfs; it is like ocean’s waves,
They come and go from one’s home as they please;
But, only good character follows one to the grave.

Money is not everything to anyone,
Good character is the beauty of a mortal,
What if you are wealthy without good character?
Who would trust you with something serious?

Perhaps, you are a gorgeous woman,
If you are far from societal norms,
Who would marry you as a wife?

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Or you are a fraudulent person,
May be you are well educated;
Who would transact business with you?

Enhance your character, my friend,
In the absence of character, education is a waste;
The whole world appreciates a well-mannered person.

Poetry by the late Chief J.F. Odunjo, renowned Yoruba playwright, poet, politician, and statesman – from one of his popular Alawiye series.

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