Spotlighting Pan-African Poetry

Biography

Grandma

Enlarge poem

Grandma has no wrinkles
On her magic skin
Tatoos on her belly
She’s a Luba queen
She holds me in her arms
Late at night
When I’m afraid
Lets me sit on her lap
When I need a place
To rest my head
She tells stories from the past
From when she was my age
From when children were dancing and gathering
In our village
She uses words like ‘diulu’ ‘kwanisha’ ‘mwabilayi’
To remind me that we’re from the province of Kasayi
She teaches me ancient songs ancient games ancient names
Her eyes are wise and strong
And she has healing hands
Mother
Healer
Storyteller
When I grow old
I wanna be just like her
She’s like a library
Open late just for me
Never tired of teaching
New words to me
Then when the evening comes and it’s time to go to sleep
She waits patiently for me to go hide under my sheets
And to close my eyes…
And then she starts
Singing
Shakena oh, shakena ani
Ndi mukusua
Ndi mukunanga
Shakena, oh, shakena ani
Ndi mukunanga bikola
Mwanani
Then she blows me a kiss
And goes back to her sleep
There’s a smile on her face
While she rests
In peace

© Sabrina Moella

Sabrina Moella

Featured Poem:

We are not ruined

Enlarge poem

We are not ruined

We are the ones who wear cornrows in our heads and draw tattoos on our wombs to show the world our precious uniqueness

We are not ruined

We are the ones who tie wrappers around our hips to go out, two for the married women, one for the single ones

We are not ruined

We are the ones who eat white clay when we’re expecting, to give strength to our babies while they’re growing inside our wombs

We are the ones who gather together in the evening to share stories and laughter and to ask one another: “citoyenne, tokoseka na biso nini?”

We are not ruined

We are the ones who wake up every morning to go sell dumplings and cassava at the market to provide for our families

We are the ones who manage to make a living despite the power cuts, the unpaid salaries, and the unmaintained roads

We are the ones who are tired of our corrupted governments who steal the country’s money while our own children are starving

We are not ruined

We are the survivors of colonialism, imperialism, dictatorship and genocide.

We are the ones who know that when foreigners come and take our diamonds, our copper, our cobalt, our coltan and give us a rice bag in exchange, this is not fair trade

We are not ruined

We are the ones who reclaim justice for the 5 millions dead in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 1998

We are the women whose mothers and daughters and granddaughters are abused and raped every day by soldiers who use guns and machetes to make sure that our bodies will never give birth again

But we are not ruined

We are the ones still standing on our feet, shaking, in tears, but still standing

Because they might destroy our bodies but they won’t destroy our spirits,

And though they want us to keep crying, we’re the ones who’ll keep on praying and singing, like

“Lelu tudi tudila malaba lutulu ne luikala”

We are not ruined

We are the women of Bukavu, Goma, Uvira, Beni, walking together in our streets to reclaim our dignity

And as long as we’ll be breathing, we’ll have the strength to keep on telling

To the soldiers who think that they can kill us

We are not ruined

To the westerners who think they can manipulate us

We are not ruined

To the governments who think they can despise us

WE ARE NOT RUINED

WE ARE NOT RUINED

WE ARE NOT RUINED

© Sabrina Moella

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (2)
  • Pride (2)
  • Optimism (3)
  • Anger (0)
  • Delight (2)
  • Inspiration (4)
  • Reflection (1)
  • Captivation (0)
  • Peace (0)
  • Amusement (0)
  • Sorrow (1)
  • Vigour (0)
  • Hope (3)
  • Sadness (1)
  • Fear (0)
  • Jubilation (0)

Comments

Your email address will not be published.

Biography

Sabrina Moella is a writer, a poet and a filmmaker based in Toronto, Canada. Born in France from Congolese parents, she started writing as soon as she was old enough to hold a pen. She now lives in Canada and writes both in English and in French.

Sabrina’s poetry is based on reflective thoughts about her own life. Her films focus on studying and narrating the everyday life, traditions, and culture of the Afro-Caribbean diaspora.

She is a member of ‘I Get Out’, a collective of black female storytellers from Toronto. She is also a yoga practitioner who strongly believes in healing through the arts.

Sabrina is currently writing a collection of short stories entitled Mayi.

Sabrina Moella

Biography

Sabrina Moella is a writer, a poet and a filmmaker based in Toronto, Canada. Born in France from Congolese parents, she started writing as soon as she was old enough to hold a pen. She now lives in Canada and writes both in English and in French.

Sabrina’s poetry is based on reflective thoughts about her own life. Her films focus on studying and narrating the everyday life, traditions, and culture of the Afro-Caribbean diaspora.

She is a member of ‘I Get Out’, a collective of black female storytellers from Toronto. She is also a yoga practitioner who strongly believes in healing through the arts.

Sabrina is currently writing a collection of short stories entitled Mayi.

Grandma

Enlarge poem

Grandma has no wrinkles
On her magic skin
Tatoos on her belly
She’s a Luba queen
She holds me in her arms
Late at night
When I’m afraid
Lets me sit on her lap
When I need a place
To rest my head
She tells stories from the past
From when she was my age
From when children were dancing and gathering
In our village
She uses words like ‘diulu’ ‘kwanisha’ ‘mwabilayi’
To remind me that we’re from the province of Kasayi
She teaches me ancient songs ancient games ancient names
Her eyes are wise and strong
And she has healing hands
Mother
Healer
Storyteller
When I grow old
I wanna be just like her
She’s like a library
Open late just for me
Never tired of teaching
New words to me
Then when the evening comes and it’s time to go to sleep
She waits patiently for me to go hide under my sheets
And to close my eyes…
And then she starts
Singing
Shakena oh, shakena ani
Ndi mukusua
Ndi mukunanga
Shakena, oh, shakena ani
Ndi mukunanga bikola
Mwanani
Then she blows me a kiss
And goes back to her sleep
There’s a smile on her face
While she rests
In peace

© Sabrina Moella

Featured Poem:

We are not ruined

Enlarge poem

We are not ruined

We are the ones who wear cornrows in our heads and draw tattoos on our wombs to show the world our precious uniqueness

We are not ruined

We are the ones who tie wrappers around our hips to go out, two for the married women, one for the single ones

We are not ruined

We are the ones who eat white clay when we’re expecting, to give strength to our babies while they’re growing inside our wombs

We are the ones who gather together in the evening to share stories and laughter and to ask one another: “citoyenne, tokoseka na biso nini?”

We are not ruined

We are the ones who wake up every morning to go sell dumplings and cassava at the market to provide for our families

We are the ones who manage to make a living despite the power cuts, the unpaid salaries, and the unmaintained roads

We are the ones who are tired of our corrupted governments who steal the country’s money while our own children are starving

We are not ruined

We are the survivors of colonialism, imperialism, dictatorship and genocide.

We are the ones who know that when foreigners come and take our diamonds, our copper, our cobalt, our coltan and give us a rice bag in exchange, this is not fair trade

We are not ruined

We are the ones who reclaim justice for the 5 millions dead in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 1998

We are the women whose mothers and daughters and granddaughters are abused and raped every day by soldiers who use guns and machetes to make sure that our bodies will never give birth again

But we are not ruined

We are the ones still standing on our feet, shaking, in tears, but still standing

Because they might destroy our bodies but they won’t destroy our spirits,

And though they want us to keep crying, we’re the ones who’ll keep on praying and singing, like

“Lelu tudi tudila malaba lutulu ne luikala”

We are not ruined

We are the women of Bukavu, Goma, Uvira, Beni, walking together in our streets to reclaim our dignity

And as long as we’ll be breathing, we’ll have the strength to keep on telling

To the soldiers who think that they can kill us

We are not ruined

To the westerners who think they can manipulate us

We are not ruined

To the governments who think they can despise us

WE ARE NOT RUINED

WE ARE NOT RUINED

WE ARE NOT RUINED

© Sabrina Moella

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (2)
  • Pride (2)
  • Optimism (3)
  • Anger (0)
  • Delight (2)
  • Inspiration (4)
  • Reflection (1)
  • Captivation (0)
  • Peace (0)
  • Amusement (0)
  • Sorrow (1)
  • Vigour (0)
  • Hope (3)
  • Sadness (1)
  • Fear (0)
  • Jubilation (0)

Grandma

Enlarge poem

Grandma has no wrinkles
On her magic skin
Tatoos on her belly
She’s a Luba queen
She holds me in her arms
Late at night
When I’m afraid
Lets me sit on her lap
When I need a place
To rest my head
She tells stories from the past
From when she was my age
From when children were dancing and gathering
In our village
She uses words like ‘diulu’ ‘kwanisha’ ‘mwabilayi’
To remind me that we’re from the province of Kasayi
She teaches me ancient songs ancient games ancient names
Her eyes are wise and strong
And she has healing hands
Mother
Healer
Storyteller
When I grow old
I wanna be just like her
She’s like a library
Open late just for me
Never tired of teaching
New words to me
Then when the evening comes and it’s time to go to sleep
She waits patiently for me to go hide under my sheets
And to close my eyes…
And then she starts
Singing
Shakena oh, shakena ani
Ndi mukusua
Ndi mukunanga
Shakena, oh, shakena ani
Ndi mukunanga bikola
Mwanani
Then she blows me a kiss
And goes back to her sleep
There’s a smile on her face
While she rests
In peace

© Sabrina Moella

Comments

Your email address will not be published.