Monday, February 14, 2011


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.