Tuesday, February 22, 2011


He gave me life,

I tried to give it back.

He gave me hope,

But, I received anger.

He gave me laughter,

I shield it and cried.

He gave me grace,

I trade it for disgrace.

And then…

He gave it to me again,

I shed my tears in disbelief.

I told him that I loved Him.

I cried and cried again that night…

He went away.

Just then, I remembered

How can I not love myself?

And claim that I love him?

And so…

He gave me his truth

I took it and trade it, for a lie.

- This poem was published in the “That’s write antholoagy” the early 2000’s (2001-2004, I’m seated right now… I really can’t be bothered to stand and go ALL the way up the stairs.. then back down again just to check the facts…) it also won me a 1st prize distinction award for poetry in high school.

This piece was inspired after a Friday at Church. I rarely used to go to church, all I remember was the pastor talking about how we ‘gotta love Jesus’ and he said something along the lines of, we can’t love God and others without loving ourselves first. I guess most of us are still coming to terms with ourselves and our weaknesses or just those little quirks we would like to change, I knew then that I didn’t fully love myself. I suffered from depression and anxiety, my body was changing and I was aware of it. I hated it. I felt I was too aware of too many things all at once about myself and growing up in a middle eastern country where barely anybody looked like me it was hard to accept the way I looked, being overweight made it that much more difficult too.

Today, I still have body hang-ups as well as unconventional personality traits that sometimes work to my disadvantage, but I grow more and more accepting and sometimes loving too. I’m a proud Christian and a Jesus lover and this poem in a way symbolises the many times in my life that God has come to my rescue and how I fail and falter but am once again delivered through His Almighty Grace and through the power and the blood of Jesus Christ, my saviour.

THE FIRST ARCHIVES- A poetic journey into and through adolescence


THE FIRST ARCHIVES- A poetic journey into and through adolescence


Imagine a world…

Where you couldn’t ask a child what they wanted to be when they grew up.

You couldn’t ask what they would like next Christmas.

Not even what they wanted for their next birthday.

You couldn’t even ask what they wanted for breakfast tomorrow.


- HIV.

Imagine a world…

Where a child looks back instead of forward

So as not to be too impassioned about tomorrow.



Imagine a world…

Where a child was accepted.

A child was happy, not looking back

And not afraid of looking forward.

Just imagine a world… without… HIV.

- This poem (slightly edited here) was published in TACAIDS, Tanzania in 2005. I was 16 and making my mark as an AIDS activist.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The good old days

The good old days

when friends were friends.

They would let us be,

Just us there.

Conquerers of the carpark.

Our source of energy,

Is that of a lighted cigarette.

There is mischief in the air

It grows heavy too.

We girls know what we got to do.

We pick a fight with some skinny boys,

Our little fighting toys.

Soon enough…

We retire

We retreat home as ou former selves.

“The good girls”.

The good girls- the good old days.

When friends were friends

Just us three,

The TKT.

- I ’m really not sure what TKT stands for anymore, but this short piece definitely describes the misguided part of my adolescence and the larger part of it too.


THE FIRST ARCHIVES- A poetic journey into and through adolescence ~

It’s true what they say,

About people who pray,

They pray when they have committed a sinful deed,

Or are truly in need.

I pray because I have committed a sinful deed

And feel I am in need.

“Dear God…”

…I pray…

“Help me father”, I say

Please Lord, Please.

Lord, God Almighty- let this trouble cease.

I’ve learnt my lesson well

This lesson I will spread and tell,

Be wise and know that crime never pays,

Be careful and someday goodness may.


- This is a prayer I wrote when I was about to turn seventeen. I had been caught shoplifting by the local authorities and I had a court case to settle. I had no lawyer, we did not have the finances and it was the beginning of my summer vacation, my mother and brother were back in Tanzania and my dad was regularly at work, so I was staying with some family friends. Eventually my parents found out and I was screwed, I thought my life was over. I prayed and prayed and a month later, the day before my seventeenth birthday I prayed again, I got a revelation from God and an hour later I got the call that the charges were dropped. I have learnt my lesson and am no longer that person.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


THE FIRST ARCHIVES- A poetic journey into and through adolescence

“YOU LIED TO ME!” I screamed. (People lie, but not to me.. .) “Admit it, you liar! You did.”

I knew I couldn’t let this one slide; I put my ambitions on hold for him (like I was getting any younger). It hurts, no, it makes me mad. I’m such an idiot. “I’m such an idiot!” I screamed it so loud in my head that the next thing I heard was complete and utter silence. “I’m an idiot and you are a fucking liar” I whispered gently into his ear as he continued dreaming inhaling and exhaling in his sleep. I wiped my tears and sunk my head into the pillow which smelled of fresh fabric softener. I began to dream too, but my dreams were sour.

That night I had cooked us dinner and you showed up late, “delicious” you exclaimed. Your eyes reflected the flickering of the candlelight… In silence I began to think how lucky I was, every cell in my body was soaked in gratitude at the sight of you in our almost cluttered apartment enjoying the dinner I prepared. You munched away in pure delight.

Cleaning up, after dinner you resided to our chamber and spoke on the phone. You seemed relaxed and comfortable. I knew it was because you were so full, almost too full I thought cheerily as a smile crept upon my face. “I had a wonderful dinner” my imagination heard you say.

The table cleared, candles blown out, doors locked, dishes washed up… going through the virtual checklist, I made sure we could move on to the more anticipated slice of the evening.

My head filled with mischievous thoughts I crept into our bedroom and there you were, on our bed, fast asleep. Each and every lively thought deflated. I took off your socks, unbuttoned your shirt etc… folded your trousers. Folding your shirt I noticed a gravy stain, a murky brown colour. I smelt it. The scent was faded but it was chicken gravy.

A new set of thoughts inflated almost all at once… all of them questions. We are vegetarians, why would you have a chicken gravy stain on your shirt? We had lunch together this afternoon…Why do you insist on having a password to your phone?

“YOU LIED TO ME!” I started. “Admit it, you liar! You did.” “I’m such an idiot”… “I’m an idiot and you are a fucking liar”… All this I said to you in your sleep. Why didn’t you kiss me when you came in today? Why didn’t you kiss me yesterday? Why do talk so much on the phone?

Why does my imagination hear you say the things you say? Why is it that I’ve seen this gravy stain before? Why is it that I lived this scene a yesterday-ago? Why do I always forget my lines but seem to remember them just in time?

When did you stop loving me? And when did I become a celibate whore?

The diamond on my ring blinds me like before.

The things I own and the time I’ve spent on creating this set I call home, allows me to ignore it all while I believe once again that indeed, you are the man that I adore.

I suppose one extra shirt added to the laundry pile won’t hurt.

Tomorrow, the stain will disappear, the shirt will be clean and I will be happy, but then, you will wear this very shirt again and it will have to be cleaned again.

There will always be dinner at the table and laundry to do.

- This, I have no idea where it came from but I remember waking up on the school bus on the way home and just writing. I remember reading it a few days later and just being a little startled at how much sense it did make. I almost tore this page out of my little green book, it still has a tear at the corner of the page, and luckily I read it once over. I always remembered this piece though; I think it was one of my favourites because it was so random yet coherent.


THE FIRST ARCHIVES- A poetic journey into and through adolescence


My skin is black or close to that.

Some think I lack what it takes to be a person.

I want the chains removed off me,

I want to be happy and free.

It’s not my fault, my lips are thick,

That, my hair won’t glide down my back.

That my nose is different.

It is not my fault I look this way!

Please don’t hate me the way you do

- Is all I have to pray.

I didn’t chose my looks,

I hope one day we’ll get past this.

I’m sorry I’m not the way you’d prefer.

Until I hear the ageless cry of equality and freedom.

For a moment I forget about my pain and sorrow,

I dwell on thoughts of a brighter tomorrow.

I start to think of a brighter day,

One which I don’t have to pay

The price of “sin”

The colour of my skin.

Simon said end slavery.

Simon says end discrimination.

Simon says end racism.

- Living as a minority, I felt it all throughout my childhood and adolescence. Racism was very real to me. It never physically touch me but it left scars.

Friday, February 18, 2011


THE FIRST ARCHIVES- A poetic journey into and through adolescence


The sun slaps the ground.

Once again I’m woken by the city chaos.

Mummers and whispers.

Jangling, banging

Clashing, squeaking

Shouting and yelling.

Horns beep and traffic forms as “wauza maji”

Try to lure their customers by the jingle jangle of coins.

Cars grunt, snarl and honk as drivers sit

Disappointed and annoyed in traffic jams.

Colourfully clothed people skip, drag, run and walk by

Forming a cocktail of pinks, purples, reds, oranges, browns…

Sirens go off, one after another,

Startled thieves flee the scene,

The bicycle boy buzzes off too.

The lane is now free and cars slowly roll by:

Whizz, voom, sssprrrreee, grummmm…

Lorry, motorcycle, van, taxi, “dala- dala”, saloon,

Saloon, “dala- dala”, van, saloon…

Diga- diga- daiga- diga- diga…

The drivers wait again in protest as their vehicles breath in and out

Diga- diga- diga diga-diga… vrrrr… oooom

The car motor’s beating stops being audible and the cars are off again travelling into the distance.

Pairs, groups, singles and couples.

Dressed in brown formal attire she runs towards the kiosk,

“clack- clack, clack- clack” say her shoes against the tar.

A rainbow of hair is on display:

Braids, afros, dreads, relaxed…

Curly-short, curly-long, Straight-short, wavy,

Wigs, straight-long

And all styles in between.

A spectrum of brown toned flesh….

Green is plentiful, like decorations placed elaborately

on the side of the road or within, or within private office zones,

to form mini gardens.

Walking sticks accompany old men

While “kanga’s” and scarves wrap the older ladies.

Blue and red are the “masai’s” colours, bald is his head.

It smells of labour and a hard days work.

Thirst and hunger attacks the city.

Darkness set in and night lands.

Shouting and yelling,

Clashing and squeaks,

Jangling and bangings

Murmurs and whispers.

People shed off the tired streets.

Bars fill up, music plays.

And plays.

Eventually the city rests…

it yawns as it drifts off into that land called yesterday.

- My first stop in Tanzania was always Dares salaam. And here is a portrait of her, as I used to see her and as I still remember her now. I used to stay at my aunts apartment in heart of the CBD area, we were almost on the tenth floor and there was a balcony large enough to walk across. I used to sit on this balcony and just watch people for hours. When I would first arrive everyone would look so foreign and when I was about to leave, I would peer out over the balcony and wonder when I would see it all again. This is just a record of bits and pieces of what I saw one day.


THE FIRST ARCHIVES- A poetic journey into and through adolescence


They come in different shape and forms.

Blessings- they stay with you forever.

They clear the sky and the storms

Blessings- joy’s true endeavour .

Unable to control our fate

Perhaps able to manipulate destiny

Take or leave what’s on the plate

Let blessings bring out the best in me.

The fallen stars

That once one had aspired to reach.

Travelling back and forth like highway cars,

Sometimes leaving a tyre trail in efforts to teach.

It can come from people we see

It can forever or momentarily set one free

The mistakes made and the new growth that stems from it

They are life’s unseen puzzle piece that fit.

The power to overcome one’s biggest fears

The happiness that brings forth tears.

The empowerment to overcome pain

Blessings are gifts of nature,

In drought, the blessing would be rain.

- I remember writing this in the hospital, my aunt was having liver problemsand had been in surgery a few times already and here she was in the hospital again, turning yellow and sleeping al the time. I watched her fade in and out of her sleep and quietly pondered, hoped for a blessing.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


THE FIRST ARCHIVES- A poetic journey into and through adolescence


A quiet place

A place to pray in silence.

A place to say grace.

A quiet place

With silent songs, stacked with trees

And empty space.

A quiet place

With books

Enough to read at one owns pace.

A quiet place is hard to find,

Because sometimes all the noise is in your mind.

A room to reminisce

THE FIRST ARCHIVES- A poetic journey into and through adolescence

A room to reminisce

Being in this seventh grade English class allows me to become nostalgic and reminisce about when I was in seventh grade.

The class is filled with about twenty miniature adults, most of them still seeming innocent and not yet having an encounter with puberty. A boy arrives late and almost refuses to sit next to me. Prejudice, shyness, innocence? All have been taken into consideration; I chose to opt for innocence.

As the class continues memories float back into my head, I am twelve again. I can see myself in the eyes of all the little girls. I am the shy girl sitting at the back and the loud girl who sits at the corner of the room. I am the smartest and the student who just needs more encouragement. I have lived fragments of each student in this class or rather, one might say they are living segments of mine.

As the teacher shushes the students I am propelled into the future. I am five years older than I was a minute ago my spelling days are over, but its nice to know that some parts of us will always be lived through others after us.

- I had plenty of free lessons while I was studying my AS level in grade 13. So on this day I opted to stay in my English literature class room, where my teacher was teaching the grade seven students. Here they were just starting out high school and I, just about to finish. I had a moment to put to paper what was on my mind.


For a long time I felt that my soul was in the sky.

I felt my spirit was that bird flying by…

For a long time I felt my heart was red with streaks of white.

I would sense things before they came to sight.

For a long time I knew the sky,

But the sun would hide away

and the moon, the white round eye would not appear.

And things in my world would not be so abundantly clear.

The blue would turn a shade of purples, red and orange.

For a short time

my orange would turn into lime.

Suddenly I would sense a change.

Not good, not bad, but strange.

I would feel nothing but

The heart of the storm.

Behind the clouds of my calm

Would lie a glow.

A colour different from the ones I know.

The heart of the storm,

All of it, written in the lines of my palm.

THE FIRST ARCHIVES- A poetic journey into and through adolescence

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


THE FIRST ARCHIVES- A poetic journey into and through adolescence


“Beep, Beep, Beep…”I listened to the monotonous ring of the phone. I had called him. He wouldn’t pick up. With each beep my heart fell deeper into the swamps of sorrow. The wells within my eyes overflew. Waters poured from my soul and split my cheek in two. Pain ran through my veins.

My heart was sinking deeper. There was no answer, no reply on the other line. Why?

The monotonous beeping continued without hesitation and I thought, indeed I will need a heart transplant after all. – 2006

- My initial response is how much of a love sprung teenager could I have been? I know exactly who this is about and he did call me back by the way… this was just written in the ‘heat’ of the moment. I am so glad I am past that adolescent phase, well not entirely but for the most part, minus the dramatic notions of love…

A for Arusha

THE FIRST ARCHIVES- A poetic journey into and through adolescence

A for Arusha

A cold breeze blows across the land.

I yawn to the squealing of fattened pigs

and the incessant rooster

and the protesting squawks of chickens.

Newly walking kittens scurry about the porch

Bouncing and pouncing.

Breakfast is served.

Then a hearty meal of lunch.

Children go out and play.

My cousins and I get ready to go out today.

Released into the streets, street soldier for the day.

My heart races as I see faces and faces and faces.

Music plays from moving music carts,

Dogs roam and cats linger, crows hover.

Corn is roasted on the corner

Peanuts ar packaged and warm.

Vehicles circle around the roundabout noisily.

Babies cry, bus boys shout.

As I draw breath, the air is heavy with might.

Mischief is about as us girls allow for the taste of forbidden street food.

- This piece totally reminds me of margarine, ‘blue-band’ yummeh! It was the equivalent of butter that I would paste on my bread- and the bread in Tanzania was absolutely delicious. Blue band, is a national icon I think… Anyways enough about blue band and bread, I drool enough in my sleep as it is already. This is just a short piece that describes a day out with my cousins from my mum’s side. They lived in Arusha. I remember Arusha to be my favourite place because most of my cousins my age were there. I was always ‘not allowed’ to taste the food sold on the street so on this day I went for it and did not suffer diarrhoea or any digestive ails…so much for being the obedient daughter!


THE FIRST ARCHIVES- A poetic journey into and through adolescence


What would you do if the world stopped loving you?

What if everyone forgot your name?

Where would you hide if you had nowhere to go?

What would you hear if sound away?

What woul you see if light never shone your way?

What could you touch if you lost your senses.

What would you do if you were to die?

Would you die tomorrow or today?

I’ll give you the present.

A gift to remember.

Forever and ever.

Live it well and live it free

Take this chance to stay with me.

Follow the spirit

Set the world free

Make it bright for all to see.

Let life live through thine sight.

Here, take the present.

Set your world alight.

- Hmm…I feel this brief dissertation to be both weak and strong, I wrote it years ago. I guess its about living in the present and pondering life. I’m still trying to do the Eckhart Tolle and be present as often as I can. I suppose stumbling on the inscription reminds me that it’s all a journey… and as I have heard quoted many a time that this moment, right now is our life. Here’s to a new higher consciousness in all of us. Cheers!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


THE FIRST ARCHIVES- A poetic journey into and through adolescence


The ground is fresh, as morning dew is on the green.

Breath is visible and the call of bird awake the mountain.

Life has returned.

Call of birds awakens the people.

Simple greetings of “shkamo” and “marahaba”

Echo- o –o.

Song of bird rests, encouraging the cricket orchestra to commence.

In and out of tune they weave the song of night.

Sheets of night blanket the mountain.

Stars twinkle.

House lights below imitate

To form a mighty reflection.

Rains constantly poke the ground gathering in puddles.

The beads of water tap a rhythm on the roof tops lulling the village to sleep.

- Usangi is a mountainous village where my mother is from, as a child my brother and I would be coerced into visiting this mountainous green landscape. In the mornings we saw mist and in the afternoon we would climb the trees and pick guavas, jack fruit and other fruits of which I do not know the English name. I would go each year and each year it became less interesting and further deforested. In my mid-teens when I longer cared for climbing trees, picking fruit or exploring so I put pen to paper and wrote about Usangi.

Usangi is no longer as green and I no longer visit, but this poem conjures ageless memories that need not be influenced by my aging interests.


THE FIRST ARCHIVES- A poetic journey into and through adolescence


The weapon of mass destruction lurks in every corner.

A suicide bomb is installed.

In who? By who? – remains unknown

Listen, and you will hear a hostage cry.

Listen again, but you will hear no more. The merciless beast has struck.

Listen once more, to the silent crawl of the mass destructive beast. You hear nothing yet it draws cl-o-se-r.

And CL-O-S-E-R.

Fear sticks you to the ground, your body is motionless.

The breath of the beast is near.

The bomb is implanted.

You are a hostage.

Listen once again, to hear your own cry.

Does anyone hear it too?

You long to see your family, once more, but

Shame does not allow for you to even glance.

You kneel to tell the world of the beast and it’s army,

But you are blind fold and your wrists are tied together.

You throat senses the cold metal touch as death wraps it fingers around your torso.

Your death is broadcast.

Someone… hears your cry.

The light goes off.

A boy takes a stand and the limelight is his.

He talks about the unleashed beast that has its grip on him.

A child, a boy from South Africa.

An orphan in a parentless struggle against the growing beast.

The beast does not tolerate abstinence so it will climb on to the peaks of every needle.

Camouflaged and hidden.

Dressed in combat gear, hidden it will remain,

There are many of its kind.

A baby is born without the arms to be cradled in.

The beast is aware and without a moment to spare….

Dead is the baby.

Dead is the child.

Dead are the children.

Dead, dead and dying.

I you can hear the plea of the boy.

The plea of the baby,

And the plea of the people.

If you have heard the plea of Nelson Mandela for his 86th birthday.

Please hear mine.

AIDS is a weapon of mass destruction. HIV is a beast unleashed. We will remain HIV posistive until we tame the beast and free our families from its grip.

Help us end THIS war.

- This poem is so very dear to me because it is a poem I wrote in 2004. I must have been exposed to some form of televised news because I make references in here about former South African president, Nelson Mandela’s plea and birthday wish, which I remember being an aspiration to end all suffering from AIDS and HIV, and indeed being in my country one doesn’t have to go far to witness the ravaged remnants of an AIDS infested population. As much as people did try to hide it, there were posters everywhere advocating the use of condoms and even billboards urging people to get tested, public service announcements.. etc… etc. I also remember this was the era where I was first introduced to an America which was at war with terrorists. The word terrorist was thrown around the news constantly, in association with America. I felt sorry for my nation, which was and is being eaten alive by AIDS not to have as much publicity, and I thought ‘this is a war too’, we are all fighting against AIDS and the spread of HIV. I also make a reference to ‘a boy’ in my poem, his name is Nkosi Johnson, a South African boy, born with AIDS. Johnson put a face on AIDS and was and is considered a child AIDS activist. I only heard of him in 2004, he had died in 2001, but I had the privilege of hearing one of his speeches given in the year 2000 where he addressed delegates from all over the world in Durban at the 13th international Aids Conference. He shook my world. I will not forget him and in honour of him I will strive to continue his work as an AIDS activist myself. This poem was published in TACAIDS a bimonthly magazine distributed all over Tanzania in 2004.

Monday, February 14, 2011

(Thoughts from)ACROSS THE BORDER

THE FIRST ARCHIVES- A poetic journey into and through adolescence

(Thoughts from)ACROSS THE BORDER

You are an intruder

Who trespasses on to the borders of my thought

You allow me to be that someone I thought,

I could not.

I do wish I had met you sooner.

Our worldly tête-à-tête’s feel like first class seats across the galaxy.

I like you.

You are beautiful and like a dream.

I had tried fooling myself before,

Repeating over and over to myself how we were ‘just friends’

I know its more,

I catch myself rereading your texts and thinking how foolish I am.

‘Just wondering what you are up to and deleting unnecessary messages”

I would use an excuse. A failed attempt at persuading myself from the truth.

I have tripped,

Into the depths of the merciless ocean of affection.

Pretty soon I will drown.

It’s getting harder to breath.

I almost can’t feel myself.

It is a blissful ‘magicness’.

A feeling I can’t just stow away.

I don’t understand it,

But it understands me.

It is the fakest real thing I ever felt.

The time I have is not enough.

And the words I have insufficient

For me to explain hat this is.

You lift my soul.

You are an alien on my territory of thought

You are not invited yet welcome to stay.

You come and go. Each time nurturing the garden of my mind.

You’ve caused the dessert within me to bloom into lush greenery.

Beautiful intruder, where else do you go?

Which other gardens do you grow?

Charming trespasser won’t you let me know?

- Really don’t know if you can get anymore ‘teenage romance’ than this. I know exactly who I am referring to, I was just about to leave for college and suddenly I was falling in love. Yes, in love not infatuated or in-like.. . in love, the real deal ladies and gentlemen. We went out for almost nine months before it didn’t work out for us. Here is to -first loves! and to the year that was 2006! ~cheers!

( I find it very amusing, the ways in which I conjure up the occasion to toast and drink, when in reality.. I would drink and toast to most probably any old scenario ... ~cheers to that


THE FIRST ARCHIVES- a poetic journey into and through adolescence


Hairless and bald, revealing more brown skin.

Afro-licious- statcic hairs stand alive.

Neatly braided heads never go unnoticed.

Short, small. Big , tall.

From size to size, One to all.

From the richest ebony to the darkest night,

From copper coins to golden grains we yield,

From the deepest black to the lightest brown.

The Masia warrior who hunts the lion, while his eldest rears the oxen.

The strict teacher, who whips as punishment.

The Christian priest who lives by the Bible.

The “Bibi” who thanks the lord for every blessing, while her neighbours devour the “gongo” , much awaited since the last harvest.
The hard working farmer, that wakes at dawn.

The orphan who takes up the title of prostitute.

The common mosquito biting pick pocket who leaves the victim itching at his loss.

The vegetarian “Rasta” avoiding the drug abused “Rasta” who wears dishevelled locks and reddened eyes.

“Kibalakashe” on head “kanzu” ironed ready for prayer.

A stranger startled, by the strike of HIV.

A whimpering child, raped and abused. Surviving.

The busy “shamba” girl trying to balance school, home and shamba. None willing to toss her a bone.

The witch doctor chants.

The young man studying at midnight by the lamp oil, striving for better knowing the harshness of his world.

The shoe polisher, fish mongers and street vendors who meet up by the kiosk.

We are all a people,

Of the same tribe,

Warrior behind the same shield.

HIV sufferers, all are we.

Positive or negative we all suffer the loss,

As HIV continues to feast on the nation mercilessly.

God is not our enemy, we are a people of the same origin.

Much I cannot explain.

Examples and samples will not bring justice.

As we toil and laze under the African sun,

We carry our heritage from the darkest black to the brownest gold.

Hear the drum of the African.

This is the picture that was and still is Africa to me. I am African but have never settled there. This is a picture that is painted partly by the recollections of my parents and our African friends/family living outside of Africa and partly what I saw and felt during my month-long visits. It is hard for me to call it home but is easy to call myself African. I included excerpts of references towards HIV because even though there is a huge stigma surrounding it, it’s so very prevalent and cannot be denied in the African society. Africa, or at least ‘my Africa’ is infused with so many great traditions, great people, great customs, fun times and family yet whether we like to accept it or not HIV and poverty is a part of Africa, and as I put pen to paper I cannot deny myself my written truth.

Death of a Mother

THE FIRST ARCHIVES- A poetic journey into and through adolescence

Death of a Mother

Twenty three years between us.

Gravea and groud between us.

Heaven earth between us.

Mother was kind.

Mother was mine.

But, I was blind,

Pneumonia stole her.

A few words were said,

Mother sleeps in her new bed.

Down she goes.. into the ground.

Doesn’t even make a sound.

Howls and screams erupt.

I watch the ground swallow her whole.

They say goodbye to her sweet soul.

Mother is gone into the ground.

Her spirit spins around and around.

Mother watches from the cloud,

Playing the games that pneumonia forbid

Pneumonia can never find you mother, for you are safely hid.

I see mother happy and free

I see mother smiling at me.

Death Of A Mother was my 15 year old written description of a funeral. My love for writing was still fresh then, the poem was inspired by a funeral I had attended where three siblings all under the age of fourteen returned to the village to bury their mother. Only the oldest who was about twelve seemed to really recognise the grave chapter unfolding before him. I watched his body remain standing motionless while a fountain of tears sprung from his pink, blood shot eyes. I later came to find out that his mother had actually died of AIDS , due to the intense stigma of HIV / AIDS the family tried to conceal her illness and claim that it was pneumonia.

THE FIRST ARCHIVES- A poetic journey into and through adolescence By: Charlotte Makala

I had always wanted to write my own autobiography ever since I read the Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah, almost a decade ago. I wanted to document my life just like her, putting all my life experiences in print. Living as an African girl in the Middle East for all of my life, I knew I must have had something to offer the publishing realm. I didn’t quite know what, at the time… but I have had an experience or two since then.

I always thought of myself as somewhat dumb through primary school and in my early years I was painfully shy. Suddenly, in grade six and I became a class clown. It was good to be the center of attention for a change yet the realisation that I was different came into full apprehension a short while after. I took to writing as a source of release and out poured: confusion, observation, pain, love and infatuation.

These literary jewels where stowed away in a little green book that I recently stumbled upon. I have chosen to share my pieces with you. Infused is a short commentary, my response to the piece, either elaborating or just giving feedback as my 22 year old self.

This is my adolescence.