Ode to the Ghanaian Vulture

Wed, 11 Apr 2012 Source: Sakyi, Kwesi Atta

The Vulture, such a patient bird

It descends upon the kill

With such consummate drill

Onlookers ogling from a hill are thrilled

They admire with envy and rile

That such factotum of birds

Has such practised skill

Even animals of prey

Cannot engorge ravenously to their fill

As does the Vulture from his innards and entrails-

Leftovers from the food chain high table,

If there is any bill,

We owe the Vulture its scavenging skill,

Environmentalists should pay his bill

For keeping our environs free of carrion,

Affording us nice breeze from the window sill


Sometimes, I wonder and ponder over the fact that vultures were a common sight when I was growing up in the 50s and 60s in Winneba. I lived near Mary Street where there was an unsightly public toilet and where garbage was also disposed off. Vultures were ubiquitous and galore at rubbish dumps at Abowiei, Oseenee, Pepe Tsiefi Danho, Mburabamu, and other places in the town. But these days, these vultures are not seen. Have they become extinct or we have trapped them for meat by selling them to the chop bars? Or have we become more civilised and therefore have improved our sanitary conditions? I remember in Primary 4 in 1960, our teacher, Miss Sackey, gave us an essay to write on the vulture and I was the odd one out as I wrote in defence and importance of the vulture to society, and I was the butt of jokes and taunts from my friends. My name Sakyi has an appellation of kokosakyi, which is the alternative name for the vulture. So am I a VULTURE? Ha, ha, haaaa! LOL.

Columnist: Sakyi, Kwesi Atta