Friday, 9 November 2018

From Hollywood to Bongo 'The Big 3' with Angela Ruhinda

From left Alinda Ruhinda with her young sister
Angela Ruhinda they're the brave co-owners
of Black Unicorn Sturdios
in Tanzania
As Angela Ruhinda closes her thirtieth year by opening her own production company in Tanzania. Shubi as well welcomes her thirtieth birthday with a big move by deciding to introduce all the three men she’s dating to one fateful dinner! It’s a sunny Saturday afternoon in the sequestered neighborhoods of Masaki, Dar es Salaam, I am at the rehearsal of a play called ‘The Big 3’ featuring Angela Ruhinda as Shubi.

Angela 29 (will be 30 in Dec) is a native Tanzanian who is the co-founder of Black Unicorn Studios together with her big sister Alinda Ruhinda, who was also on set this afternoon. Black Unicorn a film/video production company opened its doors in August this year .

From left actors Iman Lipumba and Yann Sow,
in a rehearsal of 'The Big 3' scheduled to show
this weekend in DSM
“I’ve wanted to write and do entertainment in general all my life…I took my undergrad in ‘Philosophy and Film Studies’ at the University of Hertfordshire and after that I was like to my parents. ‘I want to go to LA and study screen writing’ and they were like ‘right people do that?’” Angela shares her last words laced with apprehensive humor, thankfully her parents came through as she took her MFA at the New York Film Academy in LA this in 2011.

The missing link in our mainstream ‘bongo’ movies of internationally accepted guidelines of stage production. Like having audition calls, following a written script from the first rehearsal, ensuring there’s at least a month to rehearse from table readings to stage rehearsals with props and costumes. Are guidelines that Black Unicorn Studios implement despite being a self-financed embryo company.

“I really believe you either go full throttle or you don’t do it at all. So if I did it just a little bit I could always just quit next week and be like ‘Oh maybe I’ll just get a regular job’ which I know I’ll never be happy doing, so this is me giving us the extra fire that we need to keep pushing.” Angela speaking as a bold entrepreneur who was brought up with feminist values, which have translated onto this script ‘The Big 3’.

Angela Ruhinda co-founder of
Black Unicorn Studios
“I have always been aware that I am female, when I went to the US was the first time I was made aware that I am also black...I’d walk into rooms with executives and stuff and my selling point would be ‘oh she’s African blablabla, which even my representation would push me to use that ‘you have a unique point of view, make sure you tell them your stories about back home and all that stuff'. And I was like this feels a little weird it feels like I am literally selling myself a little bit…But they gravitated towards the fact that I was coming from a different perspective in being African not African American.” Angela shares her experiences prior to Black Unicorn after finishing her masters, where she worked as a freelance screenwriter in LA for a couple of years.

Her big break came in 2014 when she managed to sell her thesis from her MFA, a comedy script called ‘Iman & Andy’ to ABC studios. She got encouragement from a faculty member to push the script onto the screen and then found a production company Electus, who liked the same and promised to work with her to pitch it to networks. It was here that Whoopi Goldberg got wind of the script and gave it to ABC, that year several scripts were sold for consideration at ABC. Where shows like Selfie and Blackish won production. In 2017 Angela Ruhinda’s name would appear for the first time on credits in the production of the film ‘Moonlight in Vermont’ this on the Hallmark Channel.

From left actors Jonas Mugabe, Angela Ruhinda and David
Msia in an early rehearsal of 'The Big 3'
Now Angela brings us ‘The Big 3’ which she wrote while in Tanzania. “It’s one of those occupations that everyone thinks they can do and I can’t even blame them, cause it looks like you just sit down and think ‘ah this happens and then..’ ...the course I took was really meticulous really thorough. We learnt everything from basic storytelling to, we had one class where we focused on character and our tutor had a doctorate in psychology. 

So she was a screenwriter but she also knew the psychology of people. So we had classes or assignments where we’d be like, cause people just think the character she lives here, she’s 29 blablabla but then our tutor would be like. 'But why is she here, how did she grow up, how does she feel about her mom..?' this really helps inform the story…” Angela adds, she has been outside of Tanzania for most of her life with parents that worked outside the country. She was born in Canada and spent a couple of years of her primary education in Tanzania but the rest of her time saw her in China, Kenya, the United Kingdom and finally the USA. Now she’s back in her native country and with the investment she and her sister have made in Black Unicorn, it looks like she’s here to stay.

From left it's Sharlyn Mthetwa and Alinda Ruhinda
supervising this early rehearsal of 'The Big 3' inside
Black Unicorn offices in Dar.
“That feeling like you’re foreign almost everywhere mmhm segregation of the travelled African, that touches me…”Angela talks as she touches her chest on the final words reiterating a phrase I have coined, in explaining the divide that those who have swam the waters of being non-residential Africans face, when they return back to their home country.

It’s this theme that I foresee Angela and her company having to unpack carefully so they make good returns on their investments. For though its clear with Alinda’s background in Advertising that Black Unicorn can pull its financing from the corporate world. It’s also true that to fulfill Angela’s passion in the creative film industry particularly for the Tanzanian public and even the diaspora on the continent. 

Future productions of Black Unicorn, may have to be pragmatically aware of their ‘diaspora’ perspective so as to be widely received by Tanzania's public. It’s not just the use of Swahili scripts or subtitles, which will endear the public but also a way of working with the mainstream 'bongo movie' scene as they have many advantages on their belt including market penetration and widely adored actors and directors. 

You can catch this first production of ‘The Big 3’ at the Little Theatre tomorrow and Sunday afternoon in Dar es Salaam. It features actors David Msia, Yann Sow, Iman Lipumba, Jesse Mihayo, Jonas Mugabe, Angela Ruhinda (as main character Shubi) as well  Sharlyn Mthethwa as the stage manager. 

From left it's actors Yann Sow, Iman Lipumba, Alinda Ruhinda,
Angela Ruhinda,  Jesse Miayo, Sharlyn Mthethwa and Jonas Mugabe
In between rehearsal I caught the crew in riveting discussion from the play's subject matter, they were talking of how 'open relationships' exist their forms in Dar and Tanzania in general. This makes me believe after we watch the show an interesting discussion will arise from the audience. So pool your girlfriends and guys for this weekend the 10th or 11th Nov from 7pm or 4pm respectively. Entrance is 20,000Tshs for more info visit their website above to gain tickets (there are already selling like hot cakes) it’s an all-Tanzanian cast new faces, bold talent lets support our own.

Also Black Unicorn is looking for Swahili or English Scripts for a short or feature film deadline being Jan 18th check this link for more info.

Monday, 29 October 2018

Veteran TZ Actress pays it forward 'Act with Monalisa'

She is a household name as an actress in Tanzania, who has been in the business for over 15 years. Yvonne Cherrie Hamisi better known as Monalisa following a character she played in a drama series back the in 90’s.

This Oct 6th at the national museum headquarters in Dar es Salaam, working with partners to include her own managing team and members of TAFF- the African Film Festival from the USA.  
Launched a mentorship program for actresses titled ‘Act with Monalisa’. 

The launch ceremony had the Deputy Minister of Information, Culture Arts and Sports Hon Juliana Shonza as the guest of honor. It was a heartwarming affair particularly for the chosen top 50 young actresses, many of whom were headlining a red carpet event for the first time.

“For a long time Monalisa has had this dream to mentor young actresses in this business. She always told me she would like to see a batch of actresses even after she’s aged, that are carrying the baton being successful actresses in Tanzania. Who have been mentored by her as part of her legacy.” Susan Lewis a.k.a Natasha Monalisa’s mother, a veteran actress herself tells us on what inspired Monalisa to venture into this project.

Monalisa left next to the Hon Deputy Minister of
Art & Culture Juliana Shonza
at the launch of the 'Act with Monalisa' program inside
the National Museum earlier this month in Dar es Salaam
After placing a call through her social media platforms (on Instagram alone Monalisa has over 1.8 million followers); asking young actresses across the country. To come audition and stand a chance to be among fifty actresses mentored for three weeks by Monalisa and other veterans in the film industry of Tanzania.

This to include Lecturer (creative arts department University of Dar es Salaam), film director and current Chairperson of the Board of TGNP (Tanzania Gender Networking Program Dr Vicencisa Shule; Monalisa’s own mentor veteran actress Susan Lewis; Mr Issa Mbura filmmaker and lecturer at Tanzanisa School of Journalism and Mass Communications as well as Teen Psychologist Sadaka Mtuka Gandhi better known as Aunt Sadaka to mention a few.

The response was thousands of girls turning up for auditions in Dar es Salaam come early August inside the National Museum. Who were very eager to learn and be in the business

Among the top 50 actresses chosen for the first mentorship program
of 'Act with Monalisa' present at the launch ceremony
inside the National Museum House of Culture
in Dar es Salaam earlier this month
“I chose girls because myself I am a womb bearer who has been in the film business for a long time. I therefore know the challenges young women in this business go through, in the quest to follow their dreams. 

When I was coming up I didn’t get enough mentorship so I thought at the level I am today, why not take this opportunity to mentor girls in this business.” Monalisa shares why she picked girls for this program.

Together with her team they managed to break down thousands of young actresses to 100 and finally to a top 50 batch, that were present at this launch ceremony. Which had celebrities like Singer Songwriter Banana Zorro grace the stage.

“We didn’t expect the Hon Deputy minister Juliana to grace our event...You see back in our days the public didn’t have as much access to films in the international market, we as well went through training particularly our involvement in theatre productions strengthened our craft. 

Singer, songwriter Banan Zorro inside the launch of
'Act with Monalisa' in Oct-2018 at the
National Museum
Today with the wave of social media and big access to foreign film for the masses, competition is fierce in this business particularly for young girls. So we are happy to get this chance to instill education in these young ladies, from how they should interact with the media strengthen their networks in the industry. To the flipside of fame and how to best handle it etcetera. Susan Lewis shares on what she expects to accomplish with her daughter inside this mentorship program.

Speaking with Monalisa’s manager Masafa we learned that the program has been approached for television but so far no network has claimed it. Currently the program is going on inside CDEA in Mikocheni, Dar es Salaam. This during the weekends as many of the 50 chosen actresses are students and were only available during the weekend, it is expected to continue till early December this year. 

Kids lifted with Poetry WoChiPoDa-2018

In the middle A poet from Poetry255 during WoChiPoDa 2018
inside 'Ujasiri Hostel in Muhimbili Hosp DSM' the kids are
patients living at the hospital.
Photo by Liyen Alex @photo_matics -Instagram
He quickly moves close to you not wary of strangers, his big ebony eyes invite a warm smile from your lips. He is ready to meet the world gaily expecting favour from adults present. As he continues to edge closer you squat down meet his gaze and say hello, as you are quickly reminded to live in the moment, as you continue to talk to this warm three year old you just met.

Footprints of various poets wafted to the Ujasiri hostel inside the Muhimbili National Hospital grounds in Dar es Salaam, on a warm Saturday morning. So as to celebrate WoChiPoDa-World Children’s Poetry Day.

The three year old above named Kisa is among various children housed at this hostel; who are afflicted with Cancer and undergoing treatment to free them of the disease. Yet Kisa like many of his mates’ present, show little signs in their demeanour of being any different from other healthy kids.  
Kids in Munich earlier this month celebrate
poetry hosted by Diana Mac Omolo-photo courtesy
of Gloria Gonslaves

“World Children’s Poetry Day WoChiPoDa wasn’t something I considered or mulled over. The idea occurred to me on the Sunday of May 25th in 2014 during a walk in the Fairy Tale Forest of Altenberg, is important for children to learn and experience poetry in a fun way other than school curriculums or what is written for them by adults.” Gloria D. Gonsalves a native Tanzanian living in Germany explains on how she registered the first Saturday of October, as world children’s poetry day. It is her efforts that inspired several poets including myself led by poet Zuhura Seng’enge to visit Ujasiri hostel earlier this month.

 Poet Rehema Kawambwa celebrates WoChiPoDa with her students
in Kisarawe, Tanzania photo by Gloria Gonslaves
Ujasiri hostel was built in 2013 by TLM-Tumaini la Maisha an NGO operating in Tanzania. Ujasiri houses out of post children cancer patients and their guardians, who require long or critical care treatments. TLM was established in 2011 following initiatives by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in Tanzania and the huge support of donor funding from within and outside the country. Its patron is the Hon former president Ali Hassan Mwinyi.

Here efforts by Dr Jane Kaijage (she ran the first children cancer ward at Ocean Road Cancer Institute), International Network for Cancer Treatment and Research, Children in Crossfire, Rotary Dar Marathon, Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin, the Abbott Fund, Resolute Mining, Karimjee Foundation and private donations; have ensured TLM has made significant milestones in the fight against cancer for children in the country.

Whereas before it was established of the expected annual 3500 cases of paediatric cancer in the country, survival rate stood at 12% compared to 85% in developed countries. Today TLM is happy to report the figures have improved to 60% annually.  Cancers found in children are largely curable especially when cases are reported early...” Alex Kaijage Marketing Manager TLM, source

A group photo of the WoChiPoDa celebrating crew in DSM
earlier this month at Ujasiri Hostel in Muhimbili Hospital
The resilience of the kids at Ujasiri was infectious, here Gospo a 6 year old from Kagera made me pause with admiration. Suffering poor vision a result of cancer, he was adept at using his hearing exceptionally well, catching the exact tone of your voice and responding with intelligence and enthusiasm as you spoke with him. He took pencil to paper though he didn’t see what he was drawing and always tucked his drawings in square sheets that fit into his pocket, so he could later show his dad.

Through the efforts of Gloria Gonslaves on this day Gospo, Kisa, Winner, Miriam and many more kids at Ujasiri, got to enjoy art and poetry. Supplemented by breakfast and a big cake specially made for them that read ‘poems are fun’. Indeed on this day poetry was a whole lot of fun, as the kids got into two teams’ one representing sunshine and the other rain. Both had to compose lines of poetry using a doodling and visual brainstorming method. The result was some amazing artworks and surprisingly articulate lines of poetry from a few of the kids present.

Adults are lady Zuhura Seng'enge and the Teacher at Ujasiri Hostel
Here the kids have just received presents to celebrate the
WoChiPoDa day
Gloria also on this day had three other celebrations taking place in different regions; students in Munich led by Diana Mac Omolo celebrated Wochipoda. Where in Tanzania also in Moshi students led by Eric Ndumbaro and students in the district of Kisarawe in Pwani region led by Rehema Kawambwa got to celebrate World Children Poetry Day.

Yes, I have sponsored all the events to date. You can imagine as the initiative grows, this self-funding approach will be unrealistic...This year my funding reason was to give thanks for being a mother after many attempts (Gloria is a survivor of Adenomyosis These events were my baby shower a ‘welcoming the baby’ party thanksgiving.” Gloria adds on how she has kept this movement alive, you can support this initiative that gives visible tools of self expression for children by

Climate Change Research for the Indian Ocean Rim-Imporntant or?

By +Caroline Anande Uliwa

This month the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report ‘Global Warming of 1.5°C’ It is sounding the alarm for real action to be done within next 12 years, so the world can avoid severe droughts, floods and other adverse effects of global warming.
“The next few years are probably the most important in our history, the decisions we make today are critical in ensuring a safe and sustainable world for everyone, both now and in the future” Debra Roberts, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II. 

You may think this doesn’t affect us living close to the Indian Ocean, as we aren’t emitting  as much Co2 compared to big Industrial nations like the USA or China. As it turns out they are other causes to climate change like deforestation that should have us committing to change.

“Eastern Africa’s coastal forests and Tanzania’s Eastern Arc Mountains are globally recognized by biologists as centers of Endemism, home to species found nowhere else on Earth. Most of the coastal lowland forests, inhabited by people for thousands of years have long since been cleared. A mere10% of the original coastal forest habitat remains”-Threatened Spaces, Disappearing Species: The Forests and Woodlands of the Coastal East Africa Region paper by WWF-World Wildlife Fund-2011

“In 2016 till 2017, I did research to see how the forest reserves in Dar es Salaam, Pwani and Lindi are doing. It’s clear that they are shrinking from the top with satellite imaging you don’t see it as clearly but when you are inside. You then see clearly, how big areas have been cleared for charcoal making, like in Ikwiliri at Rufiji.” Dr William Joseph Kindeketa (Ph.D), research officer in biodiversity at Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology.

Last month at the International conference ‘Africa-Asia a new axis of knowledge 2’ inside the University of Dar es Salaam. Several experts from over ten countries to include South Africa, USA, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, convened. To tackle the challenge of the lack of enough research with regards to how climate change is transforming the Indian Ocean region. 

I had the chance to walk in on these deliberations, where members present were discussing on ways forward the convener Alexa Dietrich had this to say in brief. “Our discussion focused on research capacity needs for scholars and institutions in the Indian Ocean rim and issues of ethical research collaboration were at the forefront of the conversation. Of particular interest were questions on how to bring indigenous knowledge into broader debates on climate mitigation and to promote urgently needed comparative work on the lived experience of environmental change across the region.”

Also on this panel were Thomas Asher- Director, scholarly convener world projects Columbia University; Alexa Dietrich Program Director Scholarly Borderlands, Social Science Research Council; Lecturer Majuto Clement Manyilizu from the University of Dodoma ; Paul Rabe-Senior Land Expert Policy, Planning and Development Erasmus University; Debjani Bhattacharyya Assistant Professor History Drexel University; Debojyoti Das Post Doctoral Fellow History Bristol University; Philip Gooding-Post Doctoral Lecturer History McGill University; Dotto Paul Kuhenga, PhD Candidate Climate Change Studies University of Dar es Salaam; Almas Fortunatus Mazigo -Faculty Philosophy and Ethics University of Dar es Salaam; Simi Mehta CEO/ Executive Director Impact and Policy Research Institute.

Various experts linked to Climate Change studies, convene
inside the Africa-Axis conference in Sept'18 at the University of
Dar es Salaam. At the head of the table is Alexa Dietrich from SSCRC
who were hosting the discussion.
As well Julius Wilbard Mngumi Lecturer Geography and Environment, University of Dar es Salaam;  Miriam Murambadoro- PhD Candidate Environmental Sciences, University of the Witswatersrand; Namika Raby- Emerita Faculty Anthropology California State University, Long Beach; Wilmar Salim-Associate Professor Urban Planning Institut Teknologi Bandung and Lareef Zubair-Principle Scientist Foundation for Environment, Climate & Technology.

The experts are working on collaborations and ways they can spearhead closing this research gap. I for one was very happy to meet the likes of Paul Kuhenga from Tanzania. I foresee catching up with various experts in the country as I am keen on this topic so stay tuned.

Friday, 29 June 2018

As an Adult in Germany 'Post Traumatic African-Dis Order'

By +Caroline Anande Uliwa

On cultivating a new sense of our practice, what kind of uhmn means in your context here in Germany, arise for culture journalists who want to know how to play with words or play with format, do they ask for training?” Heba El-Sherif culture journalist in her 30’s from Egypt, asks culture editor/journalist Von Ronald Meyer-Arlt from Hannover, Germany.

An installation detailing the life of Luz Helena Mavin Guzman
in a city window inside
Braunschweig's theatreformen festival 2018.

So much to depict from it, so much thank you anonymous artist :)
Meyer –Arlt has 31 years experience in his field in responding to Heba he says “By criticizing...First time and the second time it gets boring, you can’t always get new perspectives on this issue...maybe a book is a good medium for that but a newspaper. You have to bring out every day something curious something tricky, something brilliant.”

This summer (June 3rdth -15th) I found myself in the quiet city of Braunschweig in Germany, invited with other 11 culture journalists, from various countries in Africa. To document the ‘Theatreformen’ festival, as well coagulate and solidify a network of African Culture Journalists, in an all expenses paid and facilitated for trip.

I was ecstatic, see I hail from a country-Tanzania, where bloggers are currently asked to pay an annual fee of 900USD as tax and despite protests leading to a court case, the edict is now enacted.
As a culture journalist currently freelancing for newspapers in my country & region of East Africa, where according to existing rates, I get a maximum of 50USD per article, with an average 100USD salary from the same. I resorted to blogging back in 2014 not to make money initially (I haven’t made a penny blogging to date) but to fairly test my ability to; ‘bring out ...something curious...something brilliant’ as Meyer -Arlt puts it.

Yet here I was in Braunschweig a first world planned city. The universe dared clash me with titans of my industry, coming from all corners of the continent think Nigeria, South Africa, Mozambique, Cameroon, DRC Congo, Kenya and two from my host continent Europe, both hailing from Germany.

Something began to break open inside me, on both a professional and personal front. Something I saw reflected in the pieces I saw on several stages inside the ‘Theatreformen’ 2018 festival a festival which this year asked ‘what will freedom look like?’.

I answer it will be, once the stereotype of mainstream journalism patriarchal reporting as it were. Acknowledges it has had a wife, who for too long has been brushed aside as mere ‘gossip’ or ‘sensational paparazzi’. When this wife screams I am ‘culture journalism! Then more and more countries of our one world; will enable the likes of culture journalists Oprah Winfrey and Anna Wintour. Where I in turn will breathe see what freedom looks like. Then again I am probably venting.

Here are three performances I witnessed inside ‘Theatreformen’ that coaxed the following words from my cultural pen.

Independent Living

From left Mounia Melborg from Germany,
Mihel from Germany, facilitators
for the culture journalist afro network
It’s a Saturday night but the sun is still out, as we shuffle onto our theatre ascending like seats, citizens of Braunschweig are sweating profusely; where I find myself pleased to come from a humid tropical climate.

Soon the director Takuya Murakawa proceeds to introduce his play, “China, Korea and Japan have a big role in this play, and the home-care of a physically disabled person becomes the main subject...”

We sit attentively witnessing a play with mime like instructions, as the set save for the hospital bed, a chair, ‘television’ and border lines on the floor. Is made alive by gestures operating imaginary objects from the actors, with the main character (Mr Yokomori an old veteran now bedridden unable to speak or move) acted by a woman. ‘His’ body is automated by the care givers, at their whim they dictate how he sits, eats, what channel he sees, how he regulates his bowel movements and so forth.

Sitting there watching the monotony of painstaking motions, as I put myself in the characters shoes. I found myself wondering whether Mr Yokomori was truly taken care of, yes his body was 'alive' but was he free?

Hearing the actors speak in Japanese, Korean & Chinese, I felt a cognisance better explained by this African proverb. ‘Until the Story of the hunt is told by the Lion, the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.’ Independent living, made me see a country with a ‘dictator’ like Kim Jong-un, inhabiting persons not so cold, not so in-humane. 

 Hailu Mergia  

The  big city park in Brunswick, Germanny where Hailu Mergia
performed on the first night of the Theatreformen Festival
On the first night of the Theatreformen festival, at the city park in Braunschweig, under the smart direction of Chrstoph Braun (manager and curator of the music programme in the Theatreformen 2018 festival).

Smart for as I neared the stage, there were no sudden screeches from the microphones being too close to the speakers, despite it being a small stage (about four by six metres square) set outdoors. There was no rapid hand gestures from the musicians to the sound desk at the back, motioning for this’ or that’ volume to be increased.

As my ears witnessed the genius of Hailu Mergia’s trio, my bones were enticed to dance! What made his music special on this night was visible in how the eclectic crowd present. Including a band of native Ethiopians, a healthy dose of Caucasian Germans as well sprinkles of Afro/Asian-politans like myself.

Despite our melody v/s percussion affiliation in how we dance, Hailu together with Mr Atemseged Kebede’s base guitar and Kenneth Josephs drums; had us gurgling on real music myrrh as our bodies giggled to the music. “We do stuff that’s from the heart...if you’re not touching hearts you’re not doing your job.” Hailu 72 relays with a smile befitting an old kind wise man. He also gave me the best advice as a young musician that will stick with me for a long while "Keep practicing, don't abandon your instrument it's like breathing do it everyday." 

Because I always feel like running

21:20 sharp on the 10th June, the show begins Ogutu Muraya takes us on a journey weaving poetry, moving pictures and body installation. Whole script in his head the African griot is resuscitated on his tongue, as he tells us the story of three East African athletes.

From left culture journalists Heba El Sherif
from Egypt and Monica Nkodo, and Yvon Edoumou
‘Because I always feel like running’ isn’t for the faint hearted Mr Muraya in this performance, touches the live wire of African racial and colonial mutilation. Such that I found myself as an African woman, who had recently landed on European soil for the first time as an adult.

Acknowledging in a real way how this soil whose inhabitants in less than five generations past, had defeated mine. Looting items from the Serengeti (Ivory, Leather hides, Minerals), to the homes of thousands of my ancestors in Tanzania as though it was ok. Relics of which remain on this soil to date.

As Ogutu kept reciting the bravery of Abebe Bikila from Ethiopia, Kipchoge Keino from Kenya and John Steven Akhwari from Tanzania, something cracked open in my mind and I walked out. This poem below tries capturing why, for...

Somewhere I break

Like the wings of Sthembile Msezana
Najikuta natafuta wapi naruka
Kepi ntajitambua,
Ukiniruhusu, kama nnavyo pumua

My Post Traumatic African dis-order
Breathes in percussive resurrection
A hairstyle, squeezed fences,
All head to my great, great mother’s door.

Kama machozi ya anayevuliwa nguo k/koo
Najikuta natafuta wapi naruka
Kepi ntajitambua
Ukiniruhusu, kama nnavyo pumua