You’ve Reached the Couple

You have reached the man
Who is not afraid to give it all up and start afresh
Who persists tirelessly night & day
To build an empire of his making
The man who puts family first and himself last
Who is not easily deterred nor easily fazed
You have reached Nebil

You have reached the woman
Who is full of soul
Who lights up a room
With rays of her high-pitched laughter
The one who stands tall
Regardless of how many times she falls
The woman who never ceases to be anbessa ye anbessa lej
You have reached Siham

You have reached the couple
Who have criss-crossed the earth
Sought the pearls
Beat the drums to their own rythms
And chose home

May love be your waking greeting
May respect cradle your every conversations
May joy never cease to be your constant companion
May blessings line your every paths
May understanding make up your very foundation
May progress be a daily ritual
May compassion dominate  your parting moments
May peace be your evening lullabies

May you put the ALMIGHTY at the centre of all you do
For if GOD is for us, who then can be against us?

Here’s wishing you a lifetime of bliss
May your today’s be beautiful
Your tomorrows bright
May the heavens smile upon your every days
Wishing you all the happiness and blessings this life has to offer.

With lots of love,


TIA is No Excuse

“You’re not to be so blind with patriotism that you can’t face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it.” -Malcolm X

TIA. This is Africa. We hear this phrase constantly, usually coupled with a shrug of the shoulders. TIA has become an excuse for substandard everything. For patching up the streets as though a quilt, for drivers not respecting zebra crossings and understanding that where sidewalks do exist, they exist for pedestrians and not for four wheeled cars. TIA is no excuse for government officials to be too busy playing computer games or speaking on the phone to attend to people waiting patiently in line. TIA is no excuse for horrible or non-existent customer service. TIA is no excuse.

I’ve had enough. Enough of outsiders and even more so, of us Africans settling for sub-standard when it comes to Africa. Do we not deserve better? Should we forever be condemned to remain stagnant? I critique only because of my love for this continent, for my desire to see it reach its potential. To see it be the best it can be. To see African citizens persistently and consistently giving it their all, no matter what they are doing. To have such pride in their communities, countries and continent that they will think twice before they litter the streets without a thought, or before they decide to urinate in any which place. That they will treat their mothers and sisters and daughters and loved ones with the respect and care they deserve. That they will innovate and conserve ingeniously. That they deserve more responsive service, answers to unanswered questions. That their suffering isn’t any less so because they experience it everyday.

I’m sick of politicians using TIA as an excuse to pocket all the profits. I’m tired of TIA used as an excuse to rule rather than lead. I’m sick and tired of bullets preceding ballots. Of bullets being more widely and more freely available than bread.

There are ingenious, innovative, progressive initiatives taking place in every corner of our continent. There is no doubt about that. However, as long as TIA continues to be used as a sorry ass excuse for not achieving or for not performing, we won’t progress. I hope to see a day where we use TIA with pride to say that because this is Africa, because Africa is precious to us, that we will reduce our consumption of trees, that we will ensure our streets are clean, water is potable and available, that businesses need to be accountable and efficient. TIA will no longer be an excuse for undelivered services and untapped potential.

TIA will be a call for the best of the best. Because Africa deserves nothing less.

I Didn’t Realize You Were a Poem

I didn’t realize you were a poem

I didn’t realize
That I could unravel your layers
With every line
That I could write you and re-write you
And you were always so forgiving
That I could mold you to my liking
And sometimes, you’d mold me to yours

I didn’t realize
That I could share you with the world
And still claim you as my own
I didn’t realize
How you so easily eased my sorrows
Just by being
That you came to define
A big part of who I am

I didn’t realize
That you enabled me to speak through silence
To see through the blind folds
To feel through the numbness

I didn’t realize
That you filled me with peace
That you helped me through today
So I could look forward to tomorrow
Propelled and not held back by yesterday

No, I didn’t realize that you were a poem.

I didn’t realize
You would sing the songs of my heart
That you could fine tune the lyrics of my soul
That you would hum the beats of my inner drums

I didn’t realize
That you could keep me grounded
That you could capture my dreams in flight
Without preventing them from flying

I didn’t realize
That you could be
Both teacher and pupil
Both pen and paper
Both earth and sky
That you could contain and liberate at the same time

No, I didn’t realize that you were a poem.

©Nebila Abdulmelik, September 2011


Today, September 28, marks RIGHT TO KNOW day. As part of my right to know, and yours, I would like to know who…

Who assassinated freedom
And buried it 10 feet under?

Who wrongfully convicted justice
And incarcerated it indefinitely?

Who orphaned peace
Scarring it eternally?

Who crippled progress,
Handicapping it permanently?

Who overthrew hope
And replaced it with fear?

Who paralyzed love?


©Nebila Abdulmelik, Sep 2011

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