Running Circles

we are strong together

the struggles seem a-plenty
the solutions too far and too few
we squabble over space amongst ourselves
while our world is constantly shrinking
squeezing us too tight
that we must ration our breaths

we’re too busy running circles
we’ve dropped the basics along the way
it’s time
to slowen our pace
time to go back
pick up the pieces
of ourselves and each other we’ve left behind

Advertisements

Weeping clouds

weeping clouds
By Amira Ali

On the hazy open road
Migrant’s journey under one sky
Clasping suitcases
Full of unspoken longings
Inner complexities
Memories and dreams

And in the orphaned life
Making the best of burdens
In spite of the dead
Whose absence trail the living
In spite of events that split open the sky
And crack the grounds
Resiliently spirited
Migrants survive
Under weeping clouds
Through tough terrains
Of xenophobic attacks
Ruffled skirts and names
With hopes of unfurling tongues
Unravelling fears
Holding onto faith that one day

They
We
All
Will chant, “We know you. We see you.
I am in you like you are in me.
I am you like you are me.”

A Letter to my Unborn Child

There were many who came before you
Who decided that the world they were born into
Was not going to be the one they would die in
Ones who dared to dream of another future
And woke up every day to realize those dreams
They didn’t need to be told their dreams were valid
 
I pray that this is the world you will be born into
One in which you’re able to chart your own course
Without seeking the permission of others
 
I pray that you will not know of days when
Our bodies
Were fragmented
Compartmentalized along with our identities
When the dignity, integrity and autonomy
Of our bodies which house us
Was up for negotiation
 
I pray that you will not know of
Violence, abuse and discrimination
At the hands of
Those meant to protect you
Your parents/teachers/partner/police or employers
And perhaps worst of all, by the society at large
Condemning your very birth and gender
 
I pray that
FGM
Child and forced marriages
Rape, widow inheritance
Breast ironing
Honor killings,
Will be foreign words to you
A taboo to the entire community
That the only culture you know
Puts your safety and well-being
Above all else
 
I pray that you will not know of a time
When bullets were more readily available than bread
When profits came before people
When industries were mined on our backs
When our own drowned in foreign shores
Searching for a life worth living
 
I pray that
Your realities will only be peppered
By the understanding that those before you
Overcame the most horrendous of sufferings
 
I pray, my unborn child, that you will only know days
Where those who used to be at the margins of our societies
Are now at its centre
 
Where gender parity and equality are not principles
In an idealist conversation
But rather your daily reality
 
Where you have an equal say, share and control
Of the resources this continent has to offer
Where your voice and your choice
May be questioned, but never threatened
 
Where we care for the earth
And the sustenance it births
 
Where your chances of becoming the next
President
CEO
Pilot
Scientist
Engineer
Media Owner
Is equal to that of your brother
 
Where the guns will be silenced
Where justice & peace are simply
The constant and consistent state of affairs
 
Where all people, everywhere
Are treated with
The Dignity & Respect
They deserve and were born entitled to
 
And I pray, my little sweet one,
That as I end this letter
And read it to others,
 
That they won’t dismiss it as the rantings
Of a mad idealist who dreams of an impossible utopia
I pray that they will wake up from their stupor
Wake into a state of consciousness that makes them realize
We can and we must refuse to accept things as they are
We must be mad and ‘dare to invent the future’
Another reality is not only possible—
It is necessary

After all, we are reminded:
‘Africa is still waiting for its makers to re-make it’
‘We shall be the ones we’ve been waiting for’
 
Together, we’ll create that world for you
And for those who come after you
 
And when that day comes,
My unborn child,
I can’t wait to welcome you into it

©Nebila Abdulmelik, November 2014

Dream Keeper

By Langston Hughes

Bring me all of your dreams,
You dreamer,
Bring me all your
Heart melodies
That I may wrap them
In a blue cloud-cloth
Away from the too-rough fingers
Of the world

The Africa I Envision – #TheAfricaWeWant/Need

#TheAfricaWeWant

I envision an Africa
Where our little ones grow up
Believing the world is their oyster
Knowing that whatever dreams they may have,
‘Their dreams are valid’
And not only are pockets packed with dreams
But dreams also pack pockets

An Africa
Where our elders are well taken care of
Because we’re not only thinking about the ‘youth bulge’ but also the resulting ‘aging bulge’
Where our youth are not robbed of today at the promise of tomorrow
Where our educators, our healers, our artists, activists and creatives are valued
Where we tell, retell and value his and her stories equally

An Africa
Where our dignity cannot be bought or sold for a dollar
Where we don’t have to fight to survive
Where we don’t struggle for
Sima/Ugali/Foufou/Injera/Aish
Or Freedom

An Africa of
Solidarity and Sisterhood
Beauty and Brotherhood
Unity but not uniformity
Where the multiplicity of our voices strengthen us

Where our Africanness is not determined
By the shade of our skin
Our ability to Afro-speak
Dress in ‘African’ garb
There is no shade of African
#TheAfricaWeWant is one
Where we recognize
‘I am not African because I was born in Africa,
But because Africa was born in me’

I envision
Seamless borders
Where no visas are required for African citizens
Where I can travel freely from Cairo to Capetown,
By road or rail
Where my journey from Dakar to Mogadishu is not punctuated by a stop over in Europe
Where the color of my passport is only a mere technicality

I envision
An Africa of conscious citizens
That would rather take a stand than take a seat
An Africa that respects its people and the planet
And an Africa that reflects the realities, aspirations and ambitions of its people

I envision
An Africa where our voices matter
Not simply at the ballot boxes
An Africa where half of our 55 nations have females heading them
An Africa which has no room for rulers preaching ‘democrazy’
No room for impunity
Where leaders realize they are public servants
Hired and fired by the will of the people
Where the bellies of people trump pockets of the high & mighty

An Africa
Where war drums and guns are silenced
Overwhelmed by the tranquility of peace
Where police protect rather than harass
Where we critique our governments without risking our lives

An Africa
Where harmful practices – FGM, early and forced marriages
Mothers dying giving life, children on the streets
Disease and poverty
Are confined to story books

Where security is defined by
Satiated bellies, healthy bodies, educated minds,
The safety of our streets, our homes, our schools
Our communities

I envision
An Africa where we pull each other up
For when one is down, so are we all

I envision
An Africa of the highest standards
Where “TIA” is a statement of excellence
Because there’s no room for mediocrity in #TheAfricaWeWant & Need

I envision an Africa that is the epitome of
Equality
Integrity
Solidarity
And self-sufficiency

One in which all members of our African community lead and live lives of dignity, respect and justice.

This is not only #TheAfricaWeWant, but also #TheAfricaWeNeed if we are not only to survive, but to thrive for generations to come.

#TheAfricaWeWant is becoming…

By Fungai Machirori

The Africa We Want
Is becoming
The Africa We Wanted
Past tense
Because we are tensing our muscles
Too tight
Packing bags
And bagging dreams
Wanting Africa to want us,
Leaving Africa to need us

*Join us for #TheAfricaWeWant tweetathon. All day. May 26. In Your Respective Time Zones.  Don’t feel constrained by 140 characters. We welcome poetry, blog posts, articles, photos and much more. Define The Africa You Want – tag it with #TheAfricaWeWant – you can also share directly on The Africa We Want facebook page.

#TheAfricaWeWant

Dear Momma

I write this to you today as the World commemorates Mother’s Day. I salute and pay tribute to you – everything you do, all you are, have been and continue to be. For reminding us that the revolution will only be sustained by love, and that we must begin by loving ourselves. For teaching us to breathe beauty. To seek knowledge. To grow and build by picking others up along the way.

I cannot wait to be a mother, so that I too may be able to pass these things on, as you have done for me. But I’m also anxious. Anxious about the world in which our offspring will grow up. Disheartened by the fact that 300 girls can be abducted from their schools, what is meant to be a safe refuge and still not found close to four weeks later. Heartbroken and enraged by the 25 who were abducted and the 50+ school boys who were massacred months prior and got little attention.  Disillusioned by the kind of governments who seem to have little if any regard for their citizens – at least those in far-removed remote areas whose socio-economic status perhaps doesn’t threaten.

Perhaps the love and the beauty that we’re taught can counteract all the ugly in this world.

Today, I stand in solidarity with all the mothers whose children have been abducted, tortured, killed, disappeared – who are victimized by terrorism and the counter terrorism efforts which seems to have the same effect. As we agitate to #BringBackOurGirls, may we never forget the thousands who are currently detained at Kaserani, whose homes are barged into every night, whose lives are  disrupted, whose dignity is trampled.

As we begin to shape #TheAfricaWeWant and the #Post2015, next development agenda, may we never forget that at the core of it all, we all want Dignity, Justice and Respect.

In Solidarity and Struggle,

The Lion’s Daughter.

 

 

International Women’s Day

International Women's Day

Image

Mad [Wo]men

banksy - keep your coins

“You cannot carry out fundamental change without a certain amount of madness.
In this case, it comes from nonconformity,
the courage to turn your back on the old formulas,
the courage to invent the future.

It took the mad [wo]men of yesterday for us to be able to act with clarity today.
I want to be one of those madmen.
We must dare to invest in the future.”
-Thomas Sankara

And I want to be one of those mad women.

%d bloggers like this: