KENYA: THE LAND OF CONTRAST AND AMAZING LANDSCAPES. Besides the varied terrain of coastal white beaches and fresh lake bodies as well as major Rivers, Kenya too, boasts of high mountains, sprawling Savannah lands teeming with wild life galore. Dry zones close to deserts are an added variety to the blessedness of the land. Its peoples are as unusual as their terrain. Hosting Forty-two tribes all royal to their tongue and cultural inclination, mild jest is the bane of jokes that unite and divide the people. Of note however is the spirit of resilience and the spirit of Harambee that unites the population whenever eternal or external wrangles threaten to rip the fabric of this society as has happened during the war of independence, during and after the coup of ’82, during the clamor for multiparty democracy and worse during the post-election violence that saw the Nation at the brink of collapse in 2007. Still, sanity prevailed though with outside help in the negotiations that followed the power sharing government. That Kenyans are a hardworking people is a fact regardless of whatever regime is in Power or weather. There is a reading culture in Kenya that has seen quite a number of public and private publishing houses doing business in the land. Quite a number of reputable authors are household names in the literally world such as Ngugi Wa-Thìongo, him of the River Between fame and many others. The last twenty, or more years seems like Kenya concentrated on writing school texts and not other literature’s for leisure. This scenario is changing now with many young people engaging in the writing craft. Of note is the re-emergence of poetry writing and recitations that are quite in Vogue now. If writing is the mouthpiece of social passage of time and chroniclers of events and incidents of a people’s life, then Kenyans need to reawaken to their responsibility of doing this battle as diligently as the writers of the past who wrote against social political vices that seems to slowly be creeping back. Social media daily commentary’s is not enough. Writing goes to capture the truth and store it to reflect on and comparisons for the future generations. To not do so, is to let down the gift that writing is to an individual on behalf of his community -(Commentary by NANCY NDEKE- Multi-genre Writer and Writers Clinic Consultant)
BEATRICE OTHIENO -AHERE – He is Osiepa
JERUSHA KANANU MARETE- Smile Again Katrina
CAROL AKUI- Fight for Inheritance
OMWA OMBARA- In honor of Press Freedom day( Satire)
NANCY NDEKE- Cheaply Expensive
Morning Hymns from Kirinyaga Anthills ( Poetry)
IN HONOR OF PRESS FREEDOM DAY 2020
I am an armchair journalist scouting Zuckerberg’s ever busy streets for free information
Feeding off the sweat of front-line journalists and eyewitnesses
Taking credit for those who risk their lives everyday in the COVID-19 war to bring the news home.
I am an armchair journalist, I work in pajamas and bathroom slippers
I sip endless cups of coffee and hug my whiskey bottles against my protruding potbelly.
I am Media
Proclaiming freedom of speech to justify my waywardness
Scrounging for leftover news to analyze, interpret, criticize.
I steal pictures faster than they hit Facebook
Downloading, cropping, filtering.
I switch my remote control 24/7 to keep up with the latest news channels
Give me forty winks and I’ll do the trick, I sleep with the pen and notebook on my lap for tips and balance.
I am the yellow journalist
Conveniently starved from the appetite of quoting sources
Too entitled to attribute websites and pages I have stolen from.
I am an armchair journalist
I celebrate press freedom today
Can’t you see my armchair is rugged from my tired butt?
I am the press,
I hold the power of the pen.
I ‘kill’people with rumors and post their photos before they truly die.
I do not use the share button
‘Copy paste’ and ‘stolen’is my Press Plagiarism Card
I am an armchair journalist begging politicians and fans for donations to buy bundles and pay for internet.
I have not been to any COVID-19 spotlight zone
I’m so afraid to die
And leave all the news behind
Let the other journalists with spine sweat it out in the hot seat.
I am the armchair journalist
Mocking journalists in jail, those murdered for speaking truth to power and asylees
Holding my large nose high in contempt
But I have thousands of likes and followers and I must feed my fans.
Don’t you know ‘image is everything’?
SMILE AGAIN KATRINA
Happy was she before the news,
Laughed her heart out before her woes;
She tumbled and tossed
With her son while they played;
When will Katrina smile again?
How could such news pass her by?
She hadn’t gotten a wind,
She had been playing with her lad,
The breaking news broke her;
When will Katrina smile again?
There had been a serious attack,
In the camp where Kibby worked;
Many soldiers were feared dead,
When will Katrina smile again?
She checked the list,
Her eyes misty;
He was among the dead,
When will Katrina smile again?
She broke down,
She wanted to die.
Her son thought it was a lie,
On the floor she sobbed
When will Katrina smile again?
She grieved mourning her sun,
And forgot her son;
She locked herself in her room,
Her life was now gloom.
Her all soaked in tears
When will you smile again Katrina?
Her son sank into depression,
Tried to get his mother’s attention;
Katrina never got out of her room,
Your son needs you Katrina
When will you smile again?
During the burial
Her eyes sunk deep into the sockets;
Her mind far away,
Her face a blank stare,
When will Katrina smile again?
She went back to her room,
Broke glasses and whisky bottles
Fighting inner battles—
She was slowly losing her son;
Smile to your son, Katrina.
Sam sat silently in a corner doodling,
His room messy,
He didn’t talk to anybody,
Hot tears scalding his cheeks.
Sam needed Katrina
She was about to do the worst:
She served whisky,
a cocktail with poison—
She was tired—
Your son is knocking, Katrina!
She looked at the glass;
“Open the door, Mum;
I want to sleep next to you.
Why do you hate me, Mum?”
He was sobbing.
Come back to your senses, Katrina.
She went to open the door:
Her son was there, his nose bleeding,
She hadn’t known, he was sick.
It was not time to cry, her son needed her.
I’m sorry, Katrina, take heart.
She gave her son first aid, but she was scared,
“I’m sorry, son,” she told him.
Sam picked the poisoned glass,
He thought it was soda;
Katrina had forgotten about it—
She hit the glass off his hands.
You almost killed your son, Katrina.
Her son was shocked,
Mum had never been like that before.
Katrina lay on the floor, crying:
Stand up, Katrina; your son needs you.
Sam knelt beside her,
‘Get up, Mommy,
I am here,
All will be well.”
It’s okay, Katrina; put yourself together.
She looked at her son,
She tickled him, he tickled her back and they fancied the tickles
and smiles for the first time in a long time;
She stood up,
Wrapped her son in a lingering hug:
“Come here little Kibby
We will get through this together.”
Sam imitated his late father:
“You look beautiful, Mrs Kibby.
Kibby misses you
But I love you more.”
Katrina is laughing again.
Echoes Of Military Souls by Jerusha Kananu Marete
Is the thrill of fat purses,
Amid the dashing cameras
and red carpets.
Higher than kites,
Soaring like eagles,
Pledges are taken and vows owned,
Tell non but the initiated says the shaman,
Pay to belong give to receive.
The high priest bathed in red water.
Drinking the ponds of purity of death.
A lost world losing more,
For the trader focuses on profits,
Like the devil on your fall.
A world of glitter doused in perfumed stench,
Building falsehoods into an empire,
One fed by the unwilling forced by the willing,
Death is cheapened for life to be expensive.
What a Shame that dust rises above it’s maker,
With it’s tutoring from a total failure.
HE IS OSIEPA
He is Osiepa, mon ami
He is the kiss on my lips
He is food for my soul
He is everything I want
And much more
He is my friend, Rafiki yangu
Osiepa to be exact
Just know, aheri ahinya
Tightest connection ever
Ikelo kwe ichunya
He is my muse
An inspiration for my words
The catalyst for love
The release of thoughts into feelings
Feelings into words
Words into action, no holds barred
Words once lost but found again
He is the reason my heart feels warm
A splash of paint speaking to my palette
New images, new memories, new dance
Nothing like a new coat of paint for a fresh start, my canvas is ablaze
He is my new beginning
My brand new picture of life
My partner to share time with
My friend to experience life with
My friend to walk with
Walk the different series of life moments
Cutting slices of life together
Making a life together
Eating life together
Sharing the pieces both big and small
He is after all my friend
Osiepa, no other can take his place Imperfections and all but perfect for me
Rafiki yangu nakupenda
Je t’aime mon ami
(C) Written by Beatrice Othieno-Ahere, for my special friend 28/12/2018
FIGHT FOR YOUR INHERITANCE
From the deep of the wilderness of oppression
The blowing horns and the drum beats, listen
Are getting louder stirring the brave bloodline
To awaken from slumber and take back the reigns
From the deep state, of corruption & destitution
The murmurs are getting clearer, listen,
Urging the warriors,we ,the children of greatness
To rise up and fight for justice and fairness
The drum beats and the murmurs, listen
The women who birthed our warriors, listen
They have torn their garments, they’re charging
Sounding the war cry, singing war songs
Mekatilili Wa Menza, Wangu wa Makeri, listen!
Can you hear Mary Muthoni Nyanjiru? listen!
The prophets in the wilderness of oppression
Can you hear them, agitating for a rebellion!
Koitalel Arap Samoei, Lenana the laibon
Kipchomber arap Turgat, can you hear them Our ancestors, Chief Waiyaki Wa Hinga
Luanda Magere the legend, hear them
Let their brave spirits invoke a revolt
Mental, spiritual & intellectual revolt
Feel the anger, in the winds of change
Let the winds feed the hunger for change
Let the drum beats raise our heart beat in rage
Let the murmurs fester and prompt us to fight
Fight for our inheritance, it’s only right!
Take back our country and our pride
©️ C Akui 2020/08/18
Contributing Poets Bios
BEATRICE OTHIENO -AHERE is a creative spirit, with a deep and quiet soul. She has great belief in the motherland Africa and her richness often mistaken for poverty. Her passion is working with young people and women to amplify their powerful voices to maximize their potentials and break the chains that hold us back. Words are her power tool that ensure her thoughts are not just shadows but a light to a path of change. Dismantling the status quo and the socially accepted norms that create imbalance in our lives and are deeply rooted in who we are and determine our thoughts and actions give her a reason to inhale and exhale hoping for a better today and tomorrow.
CAROL AKUI was born and bred in Kenya. She gets inspired by the world around her, putting into words observations, feelings and her thoughts and those of others who share their experiences and feelings of what is happening around them. Reading other poets also inspires her. She considers poetry and literature a mouth piece for the unheard and a tool for effecting necessary change where it is needed. Her poetry is a committed means to bring positive change. She is concerned about the downtrodden in society. She hopes her poetry can provide them with a voice and a platform to be heard. She also hopes that her poetry can connect people with their humanness and bring out the best in humanity.In her poetry, she is conscious of her African identity, values and culture and the need for positive advocacy. In order to flip the negative narrative of Africans and the African Continent. She is a wife and a mother of two boys.Carol is yet to be published for now. Her poetry appears on her Facebook and poetry groups such as Modern African Poetry.
JERUSHA KANANU MARETE, a Kenyan writer is the author of power-parked -package anthology of poems titled Echoes of Military Souls that promise to keep you at the edge of your seat. She has her heart in narrative poems. Her touch on the military theme in her anthology is splendid..She graduate from University Of Nairobi with a degree in Education (English &Literature) and currently a MA student at Kenyatta University (Literature/Theatre departments). Jerusha is a teacher, a performing artist & a film and theatre enthusiast .She is also a full time mother to Emmanuel. Her poems have been published in Best New African Poets 2019 anthology. Her work was also featured in the annual military magazine Reconnoiter.
NANCY NDEKE is a multi-genre writer. She writes poetry, hybrid essays, reviews, commentary and memoir. Ndeke is widely published with four collection of her full writings Soliama Legacy, Lola- Logue, Musical Poesy and May the Force be With you. She has recently collaborated with a Scotland based Writer and Musical Artist Dr. Gameli Tordzro of Glasgow University on the Poetry Collection Mazungumzo ya Shairi and also co-authored poetry anthology, I was lost but now am found with USA Poet Renee Drummond-Brown. She contributes her writings to the Atunis Galaxy Poetry ( Belgium), TUJIPANGE AFRICA (Kenya, USA), Ramingo Porch, Africa Writers Caravan , WOMAWORD Literary Press, BeZine for Arts and Humanities (USA). Andinkra Links 5. Wild Fire Publication, Williwash Press, The poet by day webzine,Writers Escape at Poetry Different Truths, ARCS PROSE POETRY. Nancy Ndeke also works a literary arts consultant, Copyeditor and Writers Clinics Moderator.
AUTHOR OMWA OMBARA –The Editor in Chief at Tujipange Africa Media, a diaspora based Magazine in United States of America. A Consul at Large at poetasdelmundo.com /POETS OF THE WORLD .A motivational speaker. Writers Consultant with her amazing projects, Walks and Talks and Tips for Writers Show .Omwa is a political Asylee for seven years. An International investigative journalist, poet, vocalist, performing and visual artist. She is author of a Memoir, “God’s Child on The Run.” .Published in several anthologies including Our Secret Lives, Holding the Center and other journals of International acclaim. Omwa is a former Bureau Chief, The Standard Group and has published over 4000 articles in her journalism career spanning 20 years. Her passion for standing up to power and corrupt leaders in the media circles is unmatched. Her experience in journalism spans from more than two decades. She stands firm against the abuse of power, corruption and mass killings .she is an advocate of true journalism. She comes aboard with her vast understanding of global humanity issues, journalistic experiences and women rights knowledge. She holds a postgraduate diploma in journalism and mass communication and a BA degree from the University of Nairobi
MEET THE AFRICAN WRITERS CARAVAN PUBLISHER
UNESCO-RILA Affiliate Artist .Freedom of Speech Fellow to PEN- Zentrum Deutschland,Germany. Alumni of the International Human Rights Arts Festival in New-York, USA.Literary Arts Activism Diplomatie. Globally Certified Arts Mediums Curator and Influencer. Internationally Published Page and Spoken Word Poet. Writer in Residence. Arts for Human Rights Catalyst. Core Team Member of the Bezine Arts and Humanities Project. His illustrious poetry , hybrid writings , political commentary ,short fiction , book reviews and Arts Features are published in more than 400 spaces notably the Monk Arts and Soul in Magazine in United Kingdom. Atunis Poetry.com in Belgium. Demer press poetry series in Netherlands. World Poetry Almanac in Mongolia.Poesia journal inSlovenia. Bezine Arts and Humanities Webzine in USA. The Poet a Day in Brooklyn ,USA. Litnet Writers Journal in South Africa. African Crayons in Nigeria. Poetry Bulawayo in Zimbabwe. Pulp-pit USA.the FictionalCafe international Journal , Texas USA. Best New African Poetry series in Zimbabwe, Zimbolicious Poetry Collections in Zimbabwe. Co-edited Street Voices International Publications with Andreas Weiland in Germany.Co-Edited Silent Voices Anthology, a Tribute to Chinua Achebe. Co-Edited the Corpses of Unity,solidarity collection to victimzed Cameroonians with Nsah Mala. Curated and Edited the Zimbabwe We Want Poetry ,Inside Digraceland speaking poetic truth to the Mugabe regime and other bad regimes. He owns the Time of the Poet blog zine ,MIOMBOPUBLISHING that published the #GlobalCallforPeaceProject titled the Second of EARTH is Peace.A LETTER to the PRESIDENT his experimental resistance poetry colection was released in August 2019 by Mwanaka and Media Publishing.. Co- Authored Whispering Woes of Ganges and Zambezi with Sweta Vikram in India. Good Morning President his first poetry collection was published in 2011 by Zimbabwean published based in United Kingdom, Diaspora Publishers.COVID 19 Satansdeadly fart is forthcoming. Chirasha is Founder and the Chief Editor of Brave Voices Poetry Journal, https://bravevoicespress.home.blog/ and WOMAWORDS LITERARY PRESS,https://womawordsliterarypress.home.blog/
AFRICA WRITERS CARAVAN~ This is a Virtual Cruise -Ship of African – Word Smith , Pen-Slingers and Young Poetry Artists. The Digital Caravan carries in its insatiable belly breath taking short writings, mesmerizing essays, heart warming reflections, bone crashing poetry, marrow chilling commentary and mind spinning Hybrid by African Writers ,Poets , Essayists ,Thought leaders in Colleges , Universities and Out of School Writers. The African Caravan celebrates Literary Prowess ,Creative Diversity and Poetry Arts Scholarship. The platform also proffer regular mentor- ship and opportunities to the budding creators of words and rising Literary Artist. It is Founded and published by Literary Arts Diplomatie. UNESCO-RILA Affiliate Artist .FreeSPEECH Fellow at PEN-Zentrum Deutschland. Featured Poetry Artist at WorldBeyondWar.Org.2020 Poet in Residence of the Fictional Cafe .2019 African Fellow at Ihraf.org.