Tem love poem
Gnèdè lèzou wê limm bourê daa,
Mèdê alibatê kazaa gui m'blê,
Amah la'a dassam bivizi-naza,
Mèdê solim kèdêzia blê!
→ French poem ←
The Kotokoli love poem (Tem, Cotocoli, Kotocoli, Temba, Tembe, Tim, Timu), in a gur language spoken by about 400,000 people in 4 countries, Burkina Faso, Togo, Ghana and Benin.
The Kotokoli literature, as one might expect, is rich in orality, and some stories that cross the generations have been collected and printed.
If in these tales one finds of course nature, universe, fauna and flora, we must note that some denote a true bawdiness.
For the origin of the words "Tem" and "Kotokoli", different explanations are suggested, in general they would be derived from words of neighboring ethnic groups that served to designate this people.
For others, they traded with merchants who called them Koto Kolim in reference to their ability to take and take again.
Unfortunately, I have not found any that makes the obvious poetic link between the French "je t'aime" and the word "Tem"!
The history of the Tem people (Kotokoli), as for many other peoples of Africa is unknown and its history dates only from colonization.
At that time, the Kotokoli ethnic group lived on the territory of present-day Burkina Faso.
The Tem who often live along the old caravan routes are excellent traders.
They are also often farmers (sorghum, beans, okra, corn, peanuts, pumpkins, yams and millet) and breeders (poultry, pigs, sheep), the Kotokolis women will take care of picking and house.
Marriages are often determined when one is a child, and the Kotokoli society accepts polygamy, even if the first wife has a higher status than the other wives. It is the married who pays a dowry to the bride's family.
Their religion, whether Muslim or Christian, remains mixed with ancient beliefs, and rites such as animal sacrifice remain relevant.