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IWA - CHARACTER

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?


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



English
TRANSLATION




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?


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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