There Are 7 Rivers in Africa???



As a child, I remember very well singing that song while clasping my hands rhythmically with that of a playmate. Up, down, Up down…


“There are seven Rivers in Africa,

Seven Rivers in Africa

Nile, Niger, Senegal, Congo, Orange, Limpopo, Zambezi…

Then we also added and I don’t know why

Azikiwe, Wolowo, Tafawa Balewa,

Onye ocha wepu aka n’okpu eze (white man remove your hand from the King’s crown)

I was humming this song recently when it hit me; Seven rivers in Africa? How? Only 7 in the entire continent?

I mean even in the akuko ifo that we were told growing up, the hero usually crossed 7 rivers and 7 forests to kill the villain and rescue the captives. Do you mean, he had to go round the whole of Africa just to cross seven rivers? I think not.

It’s either the author of this song was a school teacher back in the days who was trying to help his students memorize the names of the largest rivers in the entire African continent or the beginning of this song was written by an Oyibo man who just ‘dashed‘ Africa seven rivers.


It really does seem like we’ve been innately programmed through this song to believe that Africa has only 7 rivers, because if you ask around, the default response to how many rivers do you have in Africa might just be ‘7’! At least I know about River Benue, Aba River, Anambra River and several other rivers in Naija.

Having looked up the definition of rivers, it refers to a large body of water flowing into another body of water. And the difference between a River and a Stream is that a River is wider, deeper and longer. So it’s a thing of size.

Talking about body of water, there’s this particular one in my village known as Mmili Obiaja. I’ve never been to Mmili Obiaja before but there are some very interesting stories surrounding that body of water. Like the one about a tree falling and blocking the road to the river when a deity is passing. The stories are so plenty shaa, I wish I can remember more but let me consult with my elders first and I’ll come back with authentic gist. I might even visit and take a few pictures myself.

IMG-20151016-WA0002I hope you get the gist though, there are MORE than 7 rivers in Africa, actually there are over 67 major rivers in the African continent…

So do we re-write the song? Or allow it fade it into oblivion???


20 Replies to “There Are 7 Rivers in Africa???”

  1. I still remember the song ,it goes like this there are seven rivers in Africa Nile,Niger,Senegal ,Congo ,orange,Limpopo,zambezi


  2. Actually the song does not in anyway state that there are just seven rivers in Africa,,
    And in my place it’s been modified to “some rivers in Africa..”


    1. Really? But that’s what the song says. We sang it as children and if it has a deeper meaning, it wasn’t explained to us. Glad to know they’ve taken the initiative to modify it where you come from.


  3. That’s a good one. A reminder imdeed.

    Mental slavery is the worst of self-inflicted injuries. It destroys a people. There billions of victims worldwide, though some are definitely more in number.

    We may have been able to tell our own story through many individuals in time past and at different fora and circumstances, but more work is needed within. The reorientation work is such an enormous one that apart from loss of life, varying degrees of incapacitation and denials, those who are championing it on behalf of the rest of us from the standpoint of marketing and rebranding are at the risk if being tagged “Rebels.” Even the word “Africa” is an imposition born out derogation, it has been boldly accepted. I will start the re-orientation with myself, and I believe I must have converts.
    I appreciate your wonderful reminder.


  4. you see, how can you say there are 7 rivers in Africa. that why I tell people that school na scam. even in our village, we have nine rivers. 🤣🤣🤣


  5. Well, i want to first said that, we should not be angry with the acceptance of colonialism by our fore fathers. Many things were at stake if they have refused, and i so much believe that whatever they have done or accepted was to preserve the great African lineage for us to inherit and correct. A lot of stories have been misinterpreted about us, some because the WHITES really wants to portray a negative image of our people, while some are just because some WHITES explorers interpreted their views to the limitation of what they were able to see.
    But i must say, for every African country to gain that sufficiency it always dream of, we must cut certain ties between the western world. This is because, before colonialism, Africans have their ways of life which was working pretty well and co-existence wasn’t an issue. We must make our own research and put out valuable information’s for the public to understand mama Africa. Design our own way of government, cut out dependency of foreign nation, drive towards unified African Trade, create a common lingual e.t.c. and them we can operate differently from everyone else an excel in our originality.
    Quote me wrong in any of the above, but i reckon it is the way out of this post colonial slavery acts.


  6. Great! Well done Madam. Just highlights the need for re-orientation of our people from age long misconceptions of colonialism. Just realized recently that the usual slogan chanted in my village by a group of people who intend to apply force together at the same time to achieve a task – “Oshe Bei” was actually a colonial command to subjects to perform a task and it is ‘Apes Obey’.

    This actually is not the worst as it is in the past. The present predicament is our willing subjection of our patronage, loyalty and esteem for the foreign to the detriment of the local.

    God help us!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting revelation @ Oshe Bei. We need to consciously take pride in and become producers of tangible and intangible valuables from Africa to the rest of world. Imagine Donald Trump threatening to turn off the internet? Africa is indeed rising and I’m a firm believer in that.


  7. Lolol! Methinks it will be hard for it to fade if young folks like you know it.
    Let the rewriting begin. I would help, but I don’t know the song. Over to you.


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