Spotlighting Pan-African Poetry

Biography

Mama Refugee

Enlarge poem

Suffer my people, they chant freedom cry
There’s got to be more to life than just living to die.
Since early this morning woman has tears in her eyes
The sky is her family but she is missing the sun.
It took one bullet for darkness to come into her life
One stray bullet came and put a hole in her heart.
Her whole pillar of strength came crumbling down,
It happened so fast she had no time to say her part
Quite uncertain which road she has to trod
Quite uncertain what lies on the other side.
She’s moving her feet and blending with the crowd
Leaving her son unburied by the roadside.
His body exposed invites vultures to a meal
Decomposing in the heat it releases a stink.
The stench it gives brings news that war is brewing within.

Thunder is heard from soldiers marching in
A neatly choreographed dance to songs of the gun,
They’ve got blood on their hands and more hate in their hearts.
They talk to the world through the barrel of a gun
Bullets fly high there’s no birds in the sky.
The earth is empty: no more hope for man, woman and child
Villages disappear into the jungle a mile on top of a mile
Woman must be strong to cross the borderline.
In search of her refuge she turns her back to her land

Now she’s lost I the wilderness with no shoulder to cry on
The skies reach for her skin as showers fall from above.
The soil is quenched and rivers start to fill
The earth is her worst enemy as mud forms around her feet.
Her tears drown in the rain but no water can wash her pain.
She carries a bag of many memories and one option only
To live or to die.

This poem was translated to Pigeon English by my colleague Eriata Oribhabor and reads as follows

Wuman we no get haus
Mai pipul de sofa…
Dem de krai fo ‘’freedom’’
Laif pas to liv and dai.
Sins monin wota ful di wuman ai
Na im famili get ‘’sky’’ bot ‘’sun’’ no de.
Na onli won bulet put wahala fo im laif
Won kona-bulet kom put hol fo im ‘’heart.’’
Ol im bakbon fol daun yakata,
Di tin hapun gbam and shi no fit tok ha oun
Shi no ivun sabi di ‘’road’’ to tek
Shi no ivun sabi wetin de fo ha front.
Shi de waka de blend wit pipul
Foget im pikin wen don dai fo kona of ‘’road.’’
Di pikin opun bodi kom de kol volsho as fud
As di bodi de rotin, na so evriwia de smel.
As di smel de skata tori, na so kasala de smel.

Wi de hia gbam-gbam from soja wen de mach de kom
Korekt dans de folo di gbam-gbam from di ‘’gun,’’
Dem don kil pletin bifo and vex ful dem bele.
Na onli ‘’gun’’ languej dem de tek tok to evribodi
Bulet de flai fo op and ‘‘bird’’ dem don waka.
Graund no get enitin…no fusho fo man, wuman and pikin
Vilej dem de finish from won ples to anoda ples
Wuman wen get pawa na-im go kros to di oda said.
To faind wia to ste, shi riton bak to ha land
Nau shi don lost and no get pesin to krai to
Hevun kom rich im bodi laik ‘‘rain’’ from op.
Graund don kwayet and di riva-dem don de get wota
Shi no laik graund at ol bikos potopoto raund im leg.
Wota from im ai plenti bot no wota fit wosh im wahala.
Plenti tins fo ha ‘’head’’ de insaid ha bag, bot na onli won tin shi fit du
To liv oo to dai.

Xolisa Ngubelanga

Featured Poem:

Victoria’s Secret Threat

Enlarge poem

Under my feet lie many graves
Across continents I’ve left a trail of death, and perfumed the world
with the stink of my breath
I have spoken aloud and silenced many
The sound of my voice came with a thunderous force
Parting your heavens, until your definition of God you lost
Now we stand in your presence stone and marble, cold and upright
For you to idol-
Worship me!
Bent on one knee
Fear me; I am a plague that travels by sea
Smooch my blistered lips and taste the philosophy of my saliva
Between my legs I warm civilizations; a lion’s den
Where natives only escape as ghosts; shells of themselves
My kindness is shallow
My arms were not meant to embrace those whose minds are still infant.
My mission is to build walls around you and box you as primitive
My milk is toxic, my breasts have crippled nations
My ass is a veil, it hides your truth and steals visions from your prophets
My hand covers your mouth muzzling your speech
I have broken all your finger tips, you cannot reach
Purchased your ancestors’ every bone, they were expensive slaves
That died before their time, now you must account as the deficit
Therefore amount to your worth, less of a human being
You shall forever be

xolisa_badilisha

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Biography

Xolisa Ngubelanga born in Port Elizabeth is a playwright, actor and director responsible for the underground hit – Dinner with Bantu. He has a passion for availing the artistic experience for the marginalized from mainstream art outlets and is currently establishing a vibrant township theatre culture in Nelson Mandela Bay.

Founder of Mdali – a program to revive critical cultural activities among the youth in New Brighton. The program is to stimulate audience development for the arts through early exposure of the arts to the youth and empowers youth to become catalysts of community art experiences through creative and critical writing.

Xolisa Ngubelanga

xolisa_badilisha
xolisa_badilisha

Biography

Xolisa Ngubelanga born in Port Elizabeth is a playwright, actor and director responsible for the underground hit – Dinner with Bantu. He has a passion for availing the artistic experience for the marginalized from mainstream art outlets and is currently establishing a vibrant township theatre culture in Nelson Mandela Bay.

Founder of Mdali – a program to revive critical cultural activities among the youth in New Brighton. The program is to stimulate audience development for the arts through early exposure of the arts to the youth and empowers youth to become catalysts of community art experiences through creative and critical writing.

Mama Refugee

Enlarge poem

Suffer my people, they chant freedom cry
There’s got to be more to life than just living to die.
Since early this morning woman has tears in her eyes
The sky is her family but she is missing the sun.
It took one bullet for darkness to come into her life
One stray bullet came and put a hole in her heart.
Her whole pillar of strength came crumbling down,
It happened so fast she had no time to say her part
Quite uncertain which road she has to trod
Quite uncertain what lies on the other side.
She’s moving her feet and blending with the crowd
Leaving her son unburied by the roadside.
His body exposed invites vultures to a meal
Decomposing in the heat it releases a stink.
The stench it gives brings news that war is brewing within.

Thunder is heard from soldiers marching in
A neatly choreographed dance to songs of the gun,
They’ve got blood on their hands and more hate in their hearts.
They talk to the world through the barrel of a gun
Bullets fly high there’s no birds in the sky.
The earth is empty: no more hope for man, woman and child
Villages disappear into the jungle a mile on top of a mile
Woman must be strong to cross the borderline.
In search of her refuge she turns her back to her land

Now she’s lost I the wilderness with no shoulder to cry on
The skies reach for her skin as showers fall from above.
The soil is quenched and rivers start to fill
The earth is her worst enemy as mud forms around her feet.
Her tears drown in the rain but no water can wash her pain.
She carries a bag of many memories and one option only
To live or to die.

This poem was translated to Pigeon English by my colleague Eriata Oribhabor and reads as follows

Wuman we no get haus
Mai pipul de sofa…
Dem de krai fo ‘’freedom’’
Laif pas to liv and dai.
Sins monin wota ful di wuman ai
Na im famili get ‘’sky’’ bot ‘’sun’’ no de.
Na onli won bulet put wahala fo im laif
Won kona-bulet kom put hol fo im ‘’heart.’’
Ol im bakbon fol daun yakata,
Di tin hapun gbam and shi no fit tok ha oun
Shi no ivun sabi di ‘’road’’ to tek
Shi no ivun sabi wetin de fo ha front.
Shi de waka de blend wit pipul
Foget im pikin wen don dai fo kona of ‘’road.’’
Di pikin opun bodi kom de kol volsho as fud
As di bodi de rotin, na so evriwia de smel.
As di smel de skata tori, na so kasala de smel.

Wi de hia gbam-gbam from soja wen de mach de kom
Korekt dans de folo di gbam-gbam from di ‘’gun,’’
Dem don kil pletin bifo and vex ful dem bele.
Na onli ‘’gun’’ languej dem de tek tok to evribodi
Bulet de flai fo op and ‘‘bird’’ dem don waka.
Graund no get enitin…no fusho fo man, wuman and pikin
Vilej dem de finish from won ples to anoda ples
Wuman wen get pawa na-im go kros to di oda said.
To faind wia to ste, shi riton bak to ha land
Nau shi don lost and no get pesin to krai to
Hevun kom rich im bodi laik ‘‘rain’’ from op.
Graund don kwayet and di riva-dem don de get wota
Shi no laik graund at ol bikos potopoto raund im leg.
Wota from im ai plenti bot no wota fit wosh im wahala.
Plenti tins fo ha ‘’head’’ de insaid ha bag, bot na onli won tin shi fit du
To liv oo to dai.

Featured Poem:

Victoria’s Secret Threat

Enlarge poem

Under my feet lie many graves
Across continents I’ve left a trail of death, and perfumed the world
with the stink of my breath
I have spoken aloud and silenced many
The sound of my voice came with a thunderous force
Parting your heavens, until your definition of God you lost
Now we stand in your presence stone and marble, cold and upright
For you to idol-
Worship me!
Bent on one knee
Fear me; I am a plague that travels by sea
Smooch my blistered lips and taste the philosophy of my saliva
Between my legs I warm civilizations; a lion’s den
Where natives only escape as ghosts; shells of themselves
My kindness is shallow
My arms were not meant to embrace those whose minds are still infant.
My mission is to build walls around you and box you as primitive
My milk is toxic, my breasts have crippled nations
My ass is a veil, it hides your truth and steals visions from your prophets
My hand covers your mouth muzzling your speech
I have broken all your finger tips, you cannot reach
Purchased your ancestors’ every bone, they were expensive slaves
That died before their time, now you must account as the deficit
Therefore amount to your worth, less of a human being
You shall forever be

How does this featured poem make you feel?

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

Mama Refugee

Enlarge poem

Suffer my people, they chant freedom cry
There’s got to be more to life than just living to die.
Since early this morning woman has tears in her eyes
The sky is her family but she is missing the sun.
It took one bullet for darkness to come into her life
One stray bullet came and put a hole in her heart.
Her whole pillar of strength came crumbling down,
It happened so fast she had no time to say her part
Quite uncertain which road she has to trod
Quite uncertain what lies on the other side.
She’s moving her feet and blending with the crowd
Leaving her son unburied by the roadside.
His body exposed invites vultures to a meal
Decomposing in the heat it releases a stink.
The stench it gives brings news that war is brewing within.

Thunder is heard from soldiers marching in
A neatly choreographed dance to songs of the gun,
They’ve got blood on their hands and more hate in their hearts.
They talk to the world through the barrel of a gun
Bullets fly high there’s no birds in the sky.
The earth is empty: no more hope for man, woman and child
Villages disappear into the jungle a mile on top of a mile
Woman must be strong to cross the borderline.
In search of her refuge she turns her back to her land

Now she’s lost I the wilderness with no shoulder to cry on
The skies reach for her skin as showers fall from above.
The soil is quenched and rivers start to fill
The earth is her worst enemy as mud forms around her feet.
Her tears drown in the rain but no water can wash her pain.
She carries a bag of many memories and one option only
To live or to die.

This poem was translated to Pigeon English by my colleague Eriata Oribhabor and reads as follows

Wuman we no get haus
Mai pipul de sofa…
Dem de krai fo ‘’freedom’’
Laif pas to liv and dai.
Sins monin wota ful di wuman ai
Na im famili get ‘’sky’’ bot ‘’sun’’ no de.
Na onli won bulet put wahala fo im laif
Won kona-bulet kom put hol fo im ‘’heart.’’
Ol im bakbon fol daun yakata,
Di tin hapun gbam and shi no fit tok ha oun
Shi no ivun sabi di ‘’road’’ to tek
Shi no ivun sabi wetin de fo ha front.
Shi de waka de blend wit pipul
Foget im pikin wen don dai fo kona of ‘’road.’’
Di pikin opun bodi kom de kol volsho as fud
As di bodi de rotin, na so evriwia de smel.
As di smel de skata tori, na so kasala de smel.

Wi de hia gbam-gbam from soja wen de mach de kom
Korekt dans de folo di gbam-gbam from di ‘’gun,’’
Dem don kil pletin bifo and vex ful dem bele.
Na onli ‘’gun’’ languej dem de tek tok to evribodi
Bulet de flai fo op and ‘‘bird’’ dem don waka.
Graund no get enitin…no fusho fo man, wuman and pikin
Vilej dem de finish from won ples to anoda ples
Wuman wen get pawa na-im go kros to di oda said.
To faind wia to ste, shi riton bak to ha land
Nau shi don lost and no get pesin to krai to
Hevun kom rich im bodi laik ‘‘rain’’ from op.
Graund don kwayet and di riva-dem don de get wota
Shi no laik graund at ol bikos potopoto raund im leg.
Wota from im ai plenti bot no wota fit wosh im wahala.
Plenti tins fo ha ‘’head’’ de insaid ha bag, bot na onli won tin shi fit du
To liv oo to dai.

Comments

Your email address will not be published.