“I Am Black and Beautiful”
Front Cover of Old Testament Essays, Volume 34, Issue 2, 2021


Song of Songs 1:5-7
Am black but beautiful

How to Cite

Wabyanga, R. K. (2021). “I Am Black and Beautiful”: A Black African Reading of Song of Songs 1:5–7 as a Protest Song. Old Testament Essays, 34(2), 588–609. Retrieved from https://ote-journal.otwsa-otssa.org.za/index.php/journal/article/view/455


Adamo’s article on Ebed-Melech’s protest brings fresh insight into my earlier article on Song of Songs 1:5–7, prompting me to reread the text as a protest song (essay) against the racial stigmata that continue to bedevil black people in the world. The current article, using hermeneutics of appropriation, maintains the meaning of שְׁחוֹרָה as a black person, who in the Song of Songs protests against the racism, which transformed her status to that of a socio-economic other. The study is informed by the contemporary and historical contexts of racial injustices and stigma suffered by Blacks for ‘being’ while Black. The essay investigates this question: In which ways does Adamo’s reading of Jer 38:1–17 influence an African reading of Song 1:5–7 as a protest against racism? The article employs African Biblical Hermeneutics, as part of a creative and literary art in the protests against racism, to read the biblical text as our story—a divine story, which in the language of Adamo, has inherent divine power that can empower oppressed black people.



Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:

  1. Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
  2. Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
  3. Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).