Akoni is a Yoruba expression describe a brave man or warrior. In ancient times, when a soldier fought some battles, achieve some conquest and established himself as an institution to be feared, he would usually be surrounded by praise singers.
They would praise to level where he may be equated to the deities, the chant will contain his heroics and tell of his bravery. In some instances, the chants were capable of stiring fear in the minds of inexperienced enemies.
This piece below re-enacts how a chant in local dialect would have sounded;
When men flee, some to the right,
some to the left, at the sight of death
You do not stand, you surge forward like a rolling stone
fastening your charmed girdle,urging your men on
deeply meditating on the words of the gods
as you draw closer to a hundred villains.
You’re never scared
and when fear tangles on the edge of your mind
like displeasing taste, you spit it out in haste — tueeehh
You stir all the energy and deities in you,
in anger against these enemies of the state
as you reach for your poisoned machete,
preparing its bud for a taste of blood.
Akoni, you’re like a cassanova
seducing death with many gifts of men
as you plunge your machete into their vain hearts.
When you escape death’s blow by whisk and kiss dirt
you rise like a warrior again, and pocket death, Aníkúlápò!
Mortal men do not dare you, initiates fear you
Akoni, the generalissimo of doom
Prince of Ògún laka aye,*
Olomi nile fi eje we*
uncontrollably wielding iron.
As the enemy flees at his thought of forlorn
‘Dare me’ you say
‘my days are boring without a bloodfest’
You flay enemies as victory bants
their heads on a stall as you pleasure the gory desires
Of their hearts.
Akoni, ruthless, fearless
is your strength endless?
you’re brave, your hands do not wane
your victories have brought you fame
your conquest’s, a village tale
what better warrior shall the land seek?
Akoni, lord of the realm, will you ever see defeat?
* Akoni — Brave one
* Ògún laka aye — Ogun, Lord of the Universe
* Olomi nile fi eje we — (He who bathes in blood)\