Spotlighting Pan-African Poetry

Biography

Aids

Enlarge poem

how cruel
these modern times

we make love
in the dark

and at birth
a terrible

new death

is born

Barolong Seboni

Featured Poem:

AFRICAN HAIR

Enlarge poem

The roots of our history
Are planted in our hair.
The big, bold afros of the 70s;
Strong, powerful, confident,
Greeting the sky like a clenched fist
Defiant in their stride
Bobbing from side to side.

The kinky close shaves
Of the first African slaves
Sweating their way across
Salty seas in strange ships.
Bald heads bare like broken backs
Split, and sliced by a whip,
Red like a watermelon.

Then came the liberated heads
Of emancipated dreads,
Skanking to the reggae beat
Flashed in black, green and red
Reclaiming souls that were sold.

Through our African hair
Lives our culture and landscape
The geography of our African spaces
The peopling of rural and urban places.

The kinky curls, dry like beans
Are like the open bushes
Sparse and scattered across the desert
To withstand the harshest seasons.
This is the Kgalagadi mop
With very little on top
To stop the sizzling sun.
Our African hair, so brittle
Is like the dry moretlwa sticks
And the hard brown berries, so little.
And up North beyond the Sahara
Their heads are not like our Savanna
The women have flowing strands
Black like the darkest wintery night
Long and sinuous like the Nile
That weaves through many lands;
Tropical forests, rich soils and barren sands.

But now in the new age I fear,
And openly have to declare
That we must really conserve
Our endangered, polluted, African hair:
It’s immersed in oils of all sorts
Steamed, creamed and preened,
Like plastic goods, glossy and sheened.

Our African kinky curls
Have straightened and unfurled
Like ropes and strings
And sometimes look like they will
Take off on their own wings.

We must preserve our heritage (hair-itage)
By conserving and protecting our hair
Because in every black curl
And every black strand
Is rooted our African world;
Our very African brand.

Barolong_ badilisha

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (1)
  • Pride (2)
  • Optimism (2)
  • Anger (1)
  • Delight (0)
  • Inspiration (0)
  • Reflection (2)
  • Captivation (1)
  • Peace (0)
  • Amusement (1)
  • Sorrow (0)
  • Vigour (2)
  • Hope (1)
  • Sadness (0)
  • Fear (1)
  • Jubilation (2)

Comments

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Biography

Barolong Seboni was born in Botswana on the 27th of April 1957. He spent his early years of primary and secondary schooling in London, England (1966-1970), and was in the USA from 1984 to 1987, where he studied for his MA in English Literature at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He was a teacher at the Mater Spei College, Francistown, Botswana (1978-1983). He is currently a Senior Lecturer in the English department at the University of Botswana.

Seboni has a long and fruitful experience in radio, television and print media, which started in 1985 when he gave several interviews on TV about his works as a student in the USA. Seboni has performed and recited his poetry in Zimbabwe, Malawi, South Africa, India, England, Scotland, Ireland, Colombia, Italy and the USA.

Seboni is also co-founder of the University of Botswana Writers’ Workshop and the Writers’ Association of Botswana. He is the founding chairperson of the Petlo Literary Arts Trust, and founding editor of MAHUBE literary journal of the Writers’ Association of Botswana.

He toured the UK in 1990 as part of Poets on the Frontline. He was poet-in-residence at the Scottish Poetry Library, Edinburgh, Scotland in 1993, and Visiting Writer of the International Writers’ Program at the University of Iowa, USA in 2003.

Barolong Seboni

Barolong_ badilisha
Barolong_ badilisha

Biography

Barolong Seboni was born in Botswana on the 27th of April 1957. He spent his early years of primary and secondary schooling in London, England (1966-1970), and was in the USA from 1984 to 1987, where he studied for his MA in English Literature at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He was a teacher at the Mater Spei College, Francistown, Botswana (1978-1983). He is currently a Senior Lecturer in the English department at the University of Botswana.

Seboni has a long and fruitful experience in radio, television and print media, which started in 1985 when he gave several interviews on TV about his works as a student in the USA. Seboni has performed and recited his poetry in Zimbabwe, Malawi, South Africa, India, England, Scotland, Ireland, Colombia, Italy and the USA.

Seboni is also co-founder of the University of Botswana Writers’ Workshop and the Writers’ Association of Botswana. He is the founding chairperson of the Petlo Literary Arts Trust, and founding editor of MAHUBE literary journal of the Writers’ Association of Botswana.

He toured the UK in 1990 as part of Poets on the Frontline. He was poet-in-residence at the Scottish Poetry Library, Edinburgh, Scotland in 1993, and Visiting Writer of the International Writers’ Program at the University of Iowa, USA in 2003.

Aids

Enlarge poem

how cruel
these modern times

we make love
in the dark

and at birth
a terrible

new death

is born

Featured Poem:

AFRICAN HAIR

Enlarge poem

The roots of our history
Are planted in our hair.
The big, bold afros of the 70s;
Strong, powerful, confident,
Greeting the sky like a clenched fist
Defiant in their stride
Bobbing from side to side.

The kinky close shaves
Of the first African slaves
Sweating their way across
Salty seas in strange ships.
Bald heads bare like broken backs
Split, and sliced by a whip,
Red like a watermelon.

Then came the liberated heads
Of emancipated dreads,
Skanking to the reggae beat
Flashed in black, green and red
Reclaiming souls that were sold.

Through our African hair
Lives our culture and landscape
The geography of our African spaces
The peopling of rural and urban places.

The kinky curls, dry like beans
Are like the open bushes
Sparse and scattered across the desert
To withstand the harshest seasons.
This is the Kgalagadi mop
With very little on top
To stop the sizzling sun.
Our African hair, so brittle
Is like the dry moretlwa sticks
And the hard brown berries, so little.
And up North beyond the Sahara
Their heads are not like our Savanna
The women have flowing strands
Black like the darkest wintery night
Long and sinuous like the Nile
That weaves through many lands;
Tropical forests, rich soils and barren sands.

But now in the new age I fear,
And openly have to declare
That we must really conserve
Our endangered, polluted, African hair:
It’s immersed in oils of all sorts
Steamed, creamed and preened,
Like plastic goods, glossy and sheened.

Our African kinky curls
Have straightened and unfurled
Like ropes and strings
And sometimes look like they will
Take off on their own wings.

We must preserve our heritage (hair-itage)
By conserving and protecting our hair
Because in every black curl
And every black strand
Is rooted our African world;
Our very African brand.

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (1)
  • Pride (2)
  • Optimism (2)
  • Anger (1)
  • Delight (0)
  • Inspiration (0)
  • Reflection (2)
  • Captivation (1)
  • Peace (0)
  • Amusement (1)
  • Sorrow (0)
  • Vigour (2)
  • Hope (1)
  • Sadness (0)
  • Fear (1)
  • Jubilation (2)

Aids

Enlarge poem

how cruel
these modern times

we make love
in the dark

and at birth
a terrible

new death

is born

Comments

Your email address will not be published.