Spotlighting Pan-African Poetry

Biography

Naima Mclean

Featured Poem:

Out the box

Enlarge poem

I am Xhosa, Indian of Khoisan decent
I am Antigen cuz that’s where my forefathers were sent
Slave ships ride tyrant waves and seas,
And African American Grandma X is raped by an Irish gent.
First breath taken in the city of Manhattan,
But again we break the pattern and head south,
Where the mouth of my South African root is fed.
Bread all the way between Mmabatho and Cape Town,
In a house where celebrating Eid and Christmas facilitated common ground,
As we throw stones to consult our Ancestors through ritualistic sacrifices,
Sipping on holy red wine in the middle of Ramadan,
Believe it or not makes me one.
One with the sounds of father’s saxophone horn,
One with my mother’s nest where my soul was formed,
Born into a brewing pot of diversity,
I claim all of me and the beauty of my humanity.
The confliction does not come from the contradiction,
But rather the restriction of the box you constantly want to put me in.
Judging me because you think I form part of a black elite
Which is actually not about me, but a critique on transformed social structures,
But would it matter if I where white?
Questioning my black because there is a lack of African dialect
So you make excuses ‘cause I’m light.
Praising me on my well spoken English cuz I’m not like the others
But what are you saying about my fellow brothers.
Ahoi sista!!! Let’s get Irie high!!
Not considering the convenience of not having to relax, perm, braid, blow or die!
There’s no profound statement in these locks that consume my head, I just couldn’t be bothered to wear a doek every time I go to bed.
I’m drowning in the stigmas attached to being a strong black woman
And I’m tired you see…
The acknowledgement of my emotional state takes last priority,
Overlooking that my identity encapsulates immense insecurity,
And that strength is not mutually exclusive of overflowing rushes of vulnerability.
I need someone to cradle me,
I need someone to invest in me,
I need someone to embrace my vulnerability and not run away from me.
I need someone to catch my tears, confront my fears,
I’ve needed someone for years,
I need someone to engage my being,
Nurture the pain that I too am feeling,
Look through my eyes and listen to my silent cries
The confliction does not come from the contradiction,
But rather the restriction of the box you constantly want to put me in.
I rise I fall,
I have it in the palm of my hand and I lose it all.
A solid grip on reality for that moment remains eternally firm,
Then wrenched from my perfect dream and my world turns,
So I drink my sorrows to numb the pain,
Strip Naked and walk that lonely path praying to be soothed by cleansing rains,
And finally I’m breaking free!!!
Unlocking these chains that suffocate me
Music facilitates my poetry,
Releasing the realms that exist internally,
Creating the space I foresee as guaranteed possibility,
Because the truth is I just want you to relate to me,
Allowing us to engage our differences on a platform of similarity, simultaneously.
The point is I thank you.
I thank you for the confliction, I thank you for the contradiction, I thank you for the restriction of this box you constantly put me in.
You’ve paved a clearing,
Guided this life-long maze, providing me with certainty
That standing on this stage I embark on a journey to discover the whole African me

Naima-Mclean

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (0)
  • Pride (5)
  • Optimism (0)
  • Anger (0)
  • Delight (0)
  • Inspiration (3)
  • Reflection (0)
  • Captivation (0)
  • Peace (0)
  • Amusement (0)
  • Sorrow (0)
  • Vigour (0)
  • Hope (0)
  • Sadness (0)
  • Fear (0)
  • Jubilation (0)

Comments

  1. I am totally blown away by your amazing talent. Your story resonates with me. Thank you for giving us your gift.

    Venessa Chetty

Your email address will not be published.

Biography

Naima is an enormously talented writer, poet and vocalist born in New York City and raised in numerous cities across South Africa.

She has earned a degree in theatre and performing arts from the University of Capetown, performed, acted and sang in South Africa and Europe.

Naima performs as a poet in her personal capacity as well as with the collective Rite 2 Speak, a group of young South African theatre practitioners, who felt that the voices of their generation were not represented in theatre. The collective fuses the performance of poetry, music and theatrical aspects as a vehicle to encourage physical engagement with the audience.

Naima’s current TV roles include cameo features on one of South Africa’s most watched TV dramas Generations, presenting for South African Coca Cola game shows as well as a feature character in the internationally renowned UK TV series Wild AT Heart.

Naima Mclean

Naima-Mclean
Naima-Mclean

Biography

Naima is an enormously talented writer, poet and vocalist born in New York City and raised in numerous cities across South Africa.

She has earned a degree in theatre and performing arts from the University of Capetown, performed, acted and sang in South Africa and Europe.

Naima performs as a poet in her personal capacity as well as with the collective Rite 2 Speak, a group of young South African theatre practitioners, who felt that the voices of their generation were not represented in theatre. The collective fuses the performance of poetry, music and theatrical aspects as a vehicle to encourage physical engagement with the audience.

Naima’s current TV roles include cameo features on one of South Africa’s most watched TV dramas Generations, presenting for South African Coca Cola game shows as well as a feature character in the internationally renowned UK TV series Wild AT Heart.

Featured Poem:

Out the box

Enlarge poem

I am Xhosa, Indian of Khoisan decent
I am Antigen cuz that’s where my forefathers were sent
Slave ships ride tyrant waves and seas,
And African American Grandma X is raped by an Irish gent.
First breath taken in the city of Manhattan,
But again we break the pattern and head south,
Where the mouth of my South African root is fed.
Bread all the way between Mmabatho and Cape Town,
In a house where celebrating Eid and Christmas facilitated common ground,
As we throw stones to consult our Ancestors through ritualistic sacrifices,
Sipping on holy red wine in the middle of Ramadan,
Believe it or not makes me one.
One with the sounds of father’s saxophone horn,
One with my mother’s nest where my soul was formed,
Born into a brewing pot of diversity,
I claim all of me and the beauty of my humanity.
The confliction does not come from the contradiction,
But rather the restriction of the box you constantly want to put me in.
Judging me because you think I form part of a black elite
Which is actually not about me, but a critique on transformed social structures,
But would it matter if I where white?
Questioning my black because there is a lack of African dialect
So you make excuses ‘cause I’m light.
Praising me on my well spoken English cuz I’m not like the others
But what are you saying about my fellow brothers.
Ahoi sista!!! Let’s get Irie high!!
Not considering the convenience of not having to relax, perm, braid, blow or die!
There’s no profound statement in these locks that consume my head, I just couldn’t be bothered to wear a doek every time I go to bed.
I’m drowning in the stigmas attached to being a strong black woman
And I’m tired you see…
The acknowledgement of my emotional state takes last priority,
Overlooking that my identity encapsulates immense insecurity,
And that strength is not mutually exclusive of overflowing rushes of vulnerability.
I need someone to cradle me,
I need someone to invest in me,
I need someone to embrace my vulnerability and not run away from me.
I need someone to catch my tears, confront my fears,
I’ve needed someone for years,
I need someone to engage my being,
Nurture the pain that I too am feeling,
Look through my eyes and listen to my silent cries
The confliction does not come from the contradiction,
But rather the restriction of the box you constantly want to put me in.
I rise I fall,
I have it in the palm of my hand and I lose it all.
A solid grip on reality for that moment remains eternally firm,
Then wrenched from my perfect dream and my world turns,
So I drink my sorrows to numb the pain,
Strip Naked and walk that lonely path praying to be soothed by cleansing rains,
And finally I’m breaking free!!!
Unlocking these chains that suffocate me
Music facilitates my poetry,
Releasing the realms that exist internally,
Creating the space I foresee as guaranteed possibility,
Because the truth is I just want you to relate to me,
Allowing us to engage our differences on a platform of similarity, simultaneously.
The point is I thank you.
I thank you for the confliction, I thank you for the contradiction, I thank you for the restriction of this box you constantly put me in.
You’ve paved a clearing,
Guided this life-long maze, providing me with certainty
That standing on this stage I embark on a journey to discover the whole African me

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (0)
  • Pride (5)
  • Optimism (0)
  • Anger (0)
  • Delight (0)
  • Inspiration (3)
  • Reflection (0)
  • Captivation (0)
  • Peace (0)
  • Amusement (0)
  • Sorrow (0)
  • Vigour (0)
  • Hope (0)
  • Sadness (0)
  • Fear (0)
  • Jubilation (0)

Comments

  1. I am totally blown away by your amazing talent. Your story resonates with me. Thank you for giving us your gift.

    Venessa Chetty

Your email address will not be published.