Fallen Angel

•March 8, 2012 • 1 Comment

Apologies. This piece has been removed as it is to be published.   Watch this space for the new anthology.

Happy women’s day!

Stripped

•March 8, 2012 • Leave a Comment

“You don’t need this!  You’ll be a whore!”

With a blunt knife they took my womanhood

Leaving me feeling less of a woman for good

 

“You are nothing!  You’re worth no man!”

Like a dry twig he broke my soul

Leaving nothing he took it all

 

You are breaking my insides

Covered with bruises

Trampling the core of my being

Taking away my dignity,

My pride and my respect

Maybe I am to blame
For putting myself to this shame

For I have no voice

And I have no choice

 

What will it be today?

Will I be a slut or a bitch?
A useless lout or an evil witch?
Will I be just a cheap whore
That nobody loves anymore?

Or will you accuse me of lies and deceit?
That I sleep with every man on our street?

Will you threaten me with violence and death?
Wanting to squash my very last breath?
In your eyes I don’t seem to exist
For you have killed me with your words and not fists.

I just want and pray for my peace

In a place where hurting will cease

Give me shelter from a storm

As my soul is completely torn

 

But I put on my best dress

My face with powder I press
Hiding the truth

Hiding the uncouth

Stripped is all that is mine
But I smile and say I am fine

 

I Be Standing

•March 8, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Apologies. This piece has been removed as it is to be published.   Watch this space for the new anthology.

Happy women’s day!

Change Tanzania(ns)!

•February 12, 2012 • 2 Comments

Unajua tunapiga kelele about #changeTanzania, but kiukweli it starts with individuals. Tanzanians hatuna msimamo, tuko vuguvugu – we are neither black or white but grey – na tunaridhika haraka sana!

On kuridhika – umeme ukikatika miezi, mradi nina kibatari, life goes on. Maji hamna mwezi mzima, mradi we can buy, life goes on. Fuel ikiisha kwenye fuel stations for weeks, mradi I can take a cab, life goes on. Mume aki-cheat, mradi ananlisha, life goes on. Nkifukuzwa kazi bila kutendewa haki, mradi nina buzi la kuchuna, life goes on. Sina ajira, mradi kesho I can bangaiza, life goes on. Yakinzidi as a woman ntauza k na as a man ataiba. Yakinzidi sana I dump my kids with bibi vijijini na as a man nakana watoto. Ili mradi life goes on.

On the kutokuwa na msimamo na kuwa grey – jamaa kaoa but pembeni ana nyumba ndogo tatu. Binti kaolewa but ana buzi na Serengeti boy. Leo nmesimama napigania haki za wananchi as mwanachama pinzani, kesho nakaa kimya after kununuliwa. Unamkuta mama anajiita mkristu na kanisani yuko mbele mbele, mpaka magoti yamechubuka but come Saturday yuko kwa mganga Chungu Chekundu with jogoo jeusi kwapani na wikiendi anabubunya kikombe cha Babu.

Society doesn’t ask a woman unakula wapi or unalala wapi or unafanya wapi kazi? Una maendeleo gani? But instead utaulizwa unazaa lini. Society won’t ask a man unakula wapi or unalala wapi or unafanya wapi kazi? Una maendeleo gani? But instead utaoa lini.

Society haitamsema the man sleeping with a 16year old. The wife with mafiga matatu. The 16yr old found at a pub drinking. The priest with a girl at a guest house. The mjomba anayeiba. Hatusutani na kuongozana kwenye maendeleo. The mwanaume anayechafua meza sehemu sehemu but nyumbani hamna hata unga! The mwanamama aliyevaa gold mpaka kitovuni na kwenye meno but nyumbani mtoto kavaa matambara. The kaka anayemtwanga wifi mpaka jino la Christmas linatoka. The dada anayeacha watoto wenyewe usiku shemeji akisafiri, ili akalale na buzi na amchune vizuri.

We are not strong as a nation or as a people. Tunababaishwa na vitu vidogo sana! Hatuna msimamo na tu-wanafiki!

Change should start at individual level! Change starts at individual level, then it moves to group level and so forth, hii kitu ni muhimu sana regardless of which political party you belong. Upuuzi utapunguaje while mimi na wewe as a people hatuheshimu nyumba zetu, wenetu, Mungu wetu? If I can’t respect my own family, kweli wewe mtu wa nje nitakuthamini? Kenya na Zambia wameweza because first as a people na a society outlook yao ni tofauti kuliko sisi mno! Tusimsubiri rais, mbunge, mwalimu wala daktari! It should start with me and you! Tukishajifunza kujiheshimu, kujiamini, kujithamini, kujipenda na kutokuogopa ndo change will take place.

Unajua unaweza ukawa unafanya kitu bila mwenyewe kujitambua unless someone points it out. I want the best for my country na wananchi wenzangu. So kila siku nmekuwa nakuna kichwa mpaka nywele zikawa nyeupe, wondering where we could have gone wrong with a country this rich in resources etc. It might be the blonde in me, kuwa imenchukua this long mpaka leo ndo nmepata light bulb moment, nkapata jibu. But atleast I got it and said it!

As I was saying the solution ni mimi na wewe kubadilika! Mtoa rushwa na mpokea rushwa ni mimi na wewe. Mchunaji buzi na mhongaji ni mimi na wewe. Anayeenda kwa mganga Chungu Cheusi na anayetupa majini ni mimi na wewe. Mbangaizaji na muuzaji ni mimi na wewe. Mimi na wewe ni waTanzania, so mimi na wewe must change!

Wengine wata-argue tusipige kura as tumechoka CCM. Lakini, tusipopiga kura halafu? Hiyo itasaidia chochote? Tutakuwa hatujarekebisha chochote! Wakurekebisha ni sisi wenyewe! Sio Mungu, raisi, mbunge, mwalimu sijui nani – it is you and mimi! Kususa kura or kuwanunia CCM won’t solve anything!
Because of this, whomever comes next – unless he is a dictator – such, as long as we don’t change as a people, matatizo yatakuwa ni yale yale. Ataanza vizuri, and he will try hard, but atatokea Sandra atakayejaribu kumhonga ili apate a certain deal. Then atatokea Aikaruwa, then Mushi, after that ataona “schitt, I might as well join them!”

Again – the issue here ni mimi na wewe! Kama mimi as a person, as an individual ningekuwa najiheshimu, ningeheshimiwa basi na wengine. Kama ningekuwa naheshimu my place of work, my family, my place of prayer, my community etc. Na hatuna hata aibu!

But mimi ndo unaniona kwenye blogs I’m showing off gari yangu ya millions and dining at 5-star hotels daily while mshahara wangu unajulikana, na huo mshahara huufikii hata 5% ya my spendings. Mimi ndo naonekana mchana kweupe na buzi najirusha sehemu sehemu while mister kapinda mgongo kazini. Hapo kazini nmeaga naumwa. Mimi ndo naingia kwenye harusi ya sista na nyumba ndogo while wife yuko home. Na hapo ndugu zangu wanamkumbatia na kumkaribisha nyumba ndogo kwa furaha zote, na kumuita ‘shemeji’. Mimi ndo naonekana kwa mganga Chungu Cheusi while shingoni nmevaa zinga la rozari. Mimi ndo namega plot ya jirani na barabara ili kujiongezea size ya plot na nikitoka na gari langu la millions, shamelessly ninatupa empty bottles barabarani nkishamaliza kunywa maji. Who will clean after him? Na wengine kumi wakifanya hivyo atalalamikia municipal council that they don’t keep the city clean? Hongo inapokelewa because tunatoa! Tusipotoa and while tunajua haki zetu itakuwaje kwani? Mabuzi wanachunika because wanatoa. Na kadhalika.

Hembu tell me, traffic police akikusimamisha what do you do? Kuwa mkweli! Tena ukiwa una haraka I bet unatoa chai haraka haraka ili uwahi mkutanoni, huku unamalizia na, “msalimie shemeji nyumbani!”.

Right now things are like this because sisi na wao ni kitu kimoja. How and why should we expect to be treated better while wenyewe hatujiheshimu? I am sorry vitu vingi ni sisi wenyewe! If change doesn’t start with us as individuals then there is no hope for our beloved Tanzania! “Mtoto umleavyo ndio akuavyo,” na tumejilelea vibaya sana!

Halafu we always talk about accountability, this is how accountability starts nchi nyingine – says nimeajiriwa kampuni ABC, kesho niko mitaani nikalewa mpaka nikatambaa. If my company wakisikia they won’t take it lightly, because I am a representation of that company – from my behaviour, my outside appearance.

Wenzetu take everything very serious. We hardly ever do. Infact wote we have behaved quite irresponsibly in one way or another bila kujali tunamuumiza nani – in the name of being youthful and having fun. The one person anayeumia the most ni sisi wenyewe. Such accountability should start at individual level. If na sisi wananchi tukiwa accountable na wenzetu (wakubwa zetu etc) pia watuheshimu.

When wenzetu are running for a position, wanachambuliwa kuanzia family background mpaka childhood, who his friends and and what he drinks. na unachambuliwa proper! And all this is for a simple reason – how is this person as a family person? Anaheshimika? Does he support his family? And how is he in his community? Anaheshimika? Is he responsible? And how was he growing up? Because if he does then atatuongoza vizuri.

Under my email signature nimeweka as a reminder to myself that, “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation. Your character is what you really are while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”

Tuanze with me and you kwanza. My salutation ya God bless Tanzania naibadili to God bless Tanzanians.

God bless Tanzanians!

Writing and Living

•November 5, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I borrowed this from the Storymoja blog, whom borrowed this post from the Sheblossoms blog.

“Creative gifts are not the kind you can turn off when it’s inconvenient. They are not a part of you. They are you. Once you are born a painter or a writer or a musician, it reflects in everything you do.

You feel more; words have special kin with you when you are a writer, so their weight bears harder on you. Emotions come to you as music because musical notes and lyrical poetry are part of your thought processes when you are a musician. Colours and shapes have special meaning to you so every detail of landscape, environment, facial expressions and gestures are captured and eternalised in memory. It’s a blessing, but it can be a curse.

Once you accept the gift as yours, you can’t shirk it off when it becomes too heavy to bear. This is the reason my partner and I take writing as seriously as a matter of life and death. Art, writing is sacred to us. So sacred that our friends and associates are judged on the basis of how they carry their gifts in art.

When something is not part of you, you have no special obligation to guard it and honour it. You will use it as you wish because if it suits you, tomorrow you can flush it down the toilet.”

I loved this post so much that I just had to share it. And to add – art is a lifestyle – a representation of what you believe in as an artist – which reflects from the inside out. As such you will notice that alot of artists, be it a writer, designer, musician, fine artists or otherwise, tend to stand out as they believe in individualism.

My blackness and blondeness for instance, many might not undertand it or even think I am rebelling, but alas – it is just me expressing myself. Period.

How To Make A Guy Bolt

•October 16, 2011 • 1 Comment

I found an ingenious way of putting of wasumbufu men. This has been tried and tested! Mind you, I don’t put all men at bay. But sometimes a girl has no choice, once whenever you say “I’m not interested” he suddenly gives you that look at is you just spoke in tongues. Wapo! He sees your ass and he sees dollar signs bouncing on it. He just gotta have it and tap it!

So he calls you, “what are you doing, mrembo? I was thinking we hook up for moja baridi, moja moto.”

In honest truth, I don’t want to be seen anywhere with him, even if my life depended on it. And I have told him in every language I can master that I am not interested but he wouldn’t have any of it. Hasikii wala haelewi! So I put on my best smiling face and I reply cheerfully, “I am looking at wedding gowns! I was thinking black and silver as the colours of the wedding, what do think, future hubby darling?” If he calls again after that atakuwa anaumwa!

After telling him of the colours you have in mind, finish off with, “so what’s your favourite colour, cheesecake love? What colours would you have preferred?”

Then go on dreamily, “just imagine in a year, we’ll have a little someone running around! I’ve always wanted to name my first daughter after my bibi. I hope you won’t mind, sweet snowpeas.”

I promise you, suddenly he will tell you the line is not clear, there is an echo and he can’t hear you. And just as suddenly, your number will be lost! If lucky, he might even suffer from amnesia and forget how you look like. Tried and tested I tell you!!

So brother man will just shrug off his loses and scream, “neeeeext!” Afterall, all he wants is to tap and bolt, so there will always be a next victim somewhere.

Now if all fails, pull the baba Paroko card. Manake there are some hardcore out there whom once they start lusting over you they will cling harder than a kiroboto on a stray dog! So after he calls have gotten so much to the point of your phone automatically assigning a special ring tone for him, tell him this …

Mkate wa kumimina honey, you know I grew up going to St Peters cathedral. Baba Paroko has known me since I was this high! When I had a belly button the size of a tennis ball. *fake shy giggles* Anyway my sukari guru darling, so yesterday I went to see him about my wish to get married there. He’s so excited that I have met ‘the one’ God intended for me *bat eyelashes* and he’d really love to meet you, my sweet peremende. So maybe we go to mass at St. Peters together next Sunday, kitumbua cha nazi lovie?”

This should definitely make him bolt. Lust or no lust, J.Lo’s ass or yours truly’s ass, very few would dare want to play fiddle sticks with the man of the cloth.

However, you might find a mad hatter who is readily prepared for combat! They will want to introduce you to their families the very day he meets you! He will want you to meet his teen daughter and introduce you as her ‘new mommy’! These ones grin, slurp and jump up in joy at the mention of babies Junior, NBA, Shanay-nay Bonqui qui Fri’Chickenisha, Madiba Malcolm X Nyerere, 1J, BJ, SJ, MJ, XJ, QJ, picket fences and puppies. They won’t get scared if you bring in ten kids with sijui bibi’s names, famous people’s names, Ghetto names or names with sex acronyms – these ones just don’t care! These ones really want a wife, while you are just not as interested. They might be sweet and all, you might even like them but unfortunately you just don’t feel them.

So what to do when you meet this lot – fasten your hair weave securely with super glue and run as fast as your spindly legs on heels can take you and pray he doesn’t stalk you and find out where you live! Change your number too, if you’ve too!

I recently met one of these too. As heavy and big as my ass is, I did run! Until that day, I didn’t know I could actually run, let alone run that fast!

AFRICAN POETS NEEDED FOR SOUTHBANK CENTRE’S POETRY PARNASSUS

•August 5, 2011 • 1 Comment

Nominate Sandra, Langa, Asha, Clara, Maya, Bahati, Sunday et al.

Nominations have now closed for Southbank Centre’s Poetry Parnassus – set to be the largest poetry festival ever staged in the UK, but although over 1,500 nominations have been received, more African poets are still needed.

There have been no nominations for poets from: Algeria, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Libya, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia or Zambia.

There have only been a few nominations for poets from: Angola, Cameroon, Cape Verdi, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Ivory Coast (Cote-d’Ivoire), Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

About Poetry Parnassus

205 poets, one from each competing Olympic nation, will come to Southbank Centre for the week-long celebratory gathering from 26 June – 2 July 2012 as part of the finale of the Cultural Olympiad; the London 2012 Festival. This hugely ambitious Southbank Centre project, led by Artistic Director Jude Kelly and Artist in Residence Simon Armitage, will include readings, workshops and a final gala event with all the poets. Every poet will also contribute a poem in their own language to be published in The World Record, a book which will champion translation and be housed in the Southbank Centre’s Saison Poetry Library.

Jude Kelly, Southbank Centre Artistic Director said:

‘Poetry Parnassus will be a landmark event in the Cultural Olympiad – a week-long gathering of poets, for poetry’s sake, to celebrate language, diversity and a sense of global togetherness. By bringing poets to London from Samoa to Senegal, Tonga to Azerbaijan we go back to the roots of Poetry International, the festival that Ted Hughes and Patrick Garland launched at the Royal Festival Hall in 1967, to address notions of free speech, community and peace through poetry.’

Simon Armitage, Southbank Centre Artist in Residence said:

“Southbank Centre’s Poetry Parnassus draws inspiration from Mount Parnassus in Greece – one of poetry’s spiritual and mythical heartlands, the home of the lyricist Orpheus and the dwelling place of the poetic Muses. My hunch is that this will be the biggest poetry event ever – a truly global coming together of poets and a monumental poetic happening worthy of the spirit and history of the Olympics themselves.”

Members of the public can nominate African poets via the weblink below, between now and 14 August 2011. A panel including Simon Armitage will then shortlist and the final selection of poets will be announced in spring 2012.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NominatePoet

Poetry Parnassus patrons include: Carol Ann Duffy, Sir Andrew Motion, Melvyn Bragg, Michael Billington, Mark Lawson, Seamus Heaney, Joan Bakewell and Antony Gormley.

Poetry Parnassus partners include: the Arts Council, the British Council, the Poetry Society, the Poetry Book Society, the Poetry School and The Reading Agency.

For further press information, contact Katie Toms on 0207 921 0926 or katie.toms@southbankcentre.co.uk

Notes to Editors

Southbank Centre is the UK’s largest arts centre, occupying a 21-acre site that sits in the midst of London’s most vibrant cultural quarter on the South Bank of the Thames. The site has an extraordinary creative and architectural history stretching back to the 1951 Festival of Britain. Southbank Centre is home to the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and the Hayward Gallery as well as The Saison Poetry Library and the Arts Council Collection. The Royal Festival Hall reopened in June 2007 following the major refurbishment of the Hall and redevelopment of the surrounding area and facilities.