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African poetry: CONFESSIONS

These are my confessions to you dali wami
Ngiyakuthanda from the bottom of my soul
I gave you my love and
You gave me 54 children.
I met this girl in 88
And she had a majestic figure
With each curve complementing the next
I fell in love with her heart.
When I was sad she would cry
When she was happy I would smile.
She had so much beauty
Some had never seen before.
Her exotic beauty attracted foreign men
They came overnight in ships and boats.
They were amazed by her beauty and charm.
Some of them wanted to take her back home
And some of them wanted to stay with her
I even heard one say “If I can’t have her no one can.”

So I took her by her hand
When we fell asleep
They took her from my arms.
I awoke to an army of men
Ready to fight me to death
Just to keep away from her.
I put down my heart
And I picked my swords
One on one they can never stop me
Two on one I will kill them gladly.
I was trained the art of war
The warriors’ way
Similar to the Zulu boys
In the mountains far away
Three on one I devour them like a hungry lion
Four on one they finally get me to my knees
But I ain’t praying to you please
They tied my feet and wrists
And they threw me at the bottom of the ship
And now they must call me slave
I heard she cried so much like a waterfall
As they dragged my unconscious body into their ship
She has an unconditional heart
So she can only give that unconditional love.

They used her and abused her
For her beauty and wealth.
I promised her I will never leave her
But now I am stuck at the bottom of this ship.
They were never planning to stay
Because they raped her, robbed her, and beat her
And on top of that they named her A-Freak
I escaped after 27 years and swam for 27 days
Back home so I can see her.
You can still see her beauty through her scars and
Now she is walking on crutches
She was so happy to see me
But these days she just keeps her distance
She used to be the centre of attention
But now she just feeds with the background
Last night I tried to make love to her
But we stopped because she felt like I was abusing her
My eyes are watery nut my lids are sponges
They won’t allow a tear to run down my cheek
I’m filled with anger, pain and guilt

For what they did to you
I’m sorry I wasn’t strong enough to protect you.
I’m sorry I wasn’t wise enough to hide you.
I’m so sorry they raped you.
I’m so sorry they beat you.
And I’m truly sorry that I wasn’t there
When you needed me the most.
Revenge is mine, says the Lord.
I promise to make you happy
For as long as my heart beats.
And I promise to love you
Even after my body is dust.
Africa my Queen, my Love
My main mission in this life
Is put you on your Throne.


Poem extracted from the anthology Afropolitan State of Mind

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