Ye ye o (between a dancer and a drummer) :: Jessica Horn

…embodying Oshun….from Jessica Horn’s debut poetry chapbook Speaking in Tongues.

yellow petal falls

into oshun’s river,

flows golden


waterspirit awakens inside

our pores bloom with drumbeats

melodious skin


I cover my hair with

white cloth, bathe in amber water-

falls of drumspeaksound



by space and sighs

we travel

from neck to ankle


our incompleteness


divine humanity


we dreamed

we dreamed

we dreamed

we could

make love

to music

ride high

on the sound

that     slips    off

leather and

mango wood


in its sap and




purple blue black

purple blue black beads

skins beads sweat beads skin

salt wet salt skin salt wet salt

tongue. teeth. thighs.

(c) Jessica Horn


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Mariska Taylor-Darko’s poetic reflections on domestic violence

A beating for love
Your fist pounded my face
In shock I stood there
Not moving, not screaming
The first time it happened
You said you beat me because you loved me.

You put the blame on me
I don’t remember doing wrong
Your gambling and drinking
Your womanising and flirting
Your problems and woes
Were all my fault
And you said you beat me because you loved me

I asked you why you did this
“You made me do it “you said
“I love you, that’s why I beat you”

I never knew love was like this
Maybe no one ever told me.
I thought love was loving and caring,
Laughter and happiness
Not this—a beating for love

I grew old in my heart
My love turned to fear and hate
I lived only in dread of that fist in my face
Why didn’t I go, why?
Because I loved you
And you said you loved me that’s why you beat me.
I cried myself to sleep, silently
So you wouldn’t hear in case I got another fist in my face.

Is this love?
A fist in the face
I must have dreamt the other love
The movie star love
The storybook love
The pure clean love
What have I done to deserve this?
This angry fist in my face.

The hand that beats me caresses me
I can’t move away
Can’t say what’s in my heart,
No one must know my shame
I lay there beaten inside, dead inside, hating inside, dying inside
Holding on to you- not in love but in fear
While dreading the morning because I’ll get another fist in my face
And you’ll whisper between the kisses, I beat you because I love you. Bull Shit!
(C) Mariska Taylor-Darko 2007

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Zimbabwe Freedom Fighters: Chiwoniso’s Rebel Woman

Zimbabwe’s mbira maestro Chiwoniso sings to the story of a woman freedom fighter in her country’s war of liberation and the realities of so many women who fought for Africa to be free– of being sidelined, undermined, not celebrated like the fighters they were! Rebel woman……

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“Insomnia, nyangoma and the rain” :: Amina Doherty

The sound of the heavy droplets beating against the corrugated iron roof mimicking ancestral sounds, drum beats and ancient calls…
Mother of the Drum.
Nyangoma they call her…
She wills me with each beat to stay awake and listen to her…to hear her stories.
To let myself feel.
To let herself heal.
To release.

Nyangoma begins her dance.
At first she starts slow building with each moment…but there is no order to her movements. They are scattered and disparate.
Djemebe and Doundoun.
Thunder and Lightning.

And as the rain subsides (only just a little) Insomnia lies in anticipation watching as Nyangoma once again takes the lead. Another dance. Pink flamingo’s, fluttering mariposas, Rhapsody in Blue, Firebird suite. Perfectly arranged concerto’s.

Insomnia is captivated and for a moment she can’t breathe. She is subsumed by the magic.

Then in an instant – Silence.

Nyangoma is gone.

And slowly my eyes begin to shut just as the sun begins to rise.

And in ways even she cannot yet understand Nyangoma has soothed Insomnia’s restless mind.

Her lids feel heavy as Nyangoma whispers

Sleep precious one. Sleep.

Let your body rest.


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Omawumi’s “If you go ask me”

An Ambassador for Project Alert in Nigeria — using music to talk about sexual abuse and the ‘taboos’ of our societies….Rock on Omawumi!!

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Isabella Matambanadzo’s “Black Granite”

Black Granite

That year, her grades dropped. It wasn’t a gentle decline. She went
from always being one of the three top performers across all her
subjects to hedging with failure. Because she didn’t loose her
unbending cheer, or fall off her sports teams, the teachers misread
her. Report cards would go home with the words “bad set of friends”
scrawled all over them, or “teenage tantrums” in the case of teachers
who thought they should have had a prestigious career in the world of
Psychology, rather than rub chalk off their fingers with damp cloths
at the end of a 45 minute class period.

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Amina Doherty on “The activist artist…”

Throughout (her)story and across our diverse cultures and backgrounds the arts have always played a significant role in shaping our identities. Pervading every aspect of our lives – our languages, our music, our dances, our poetry, our rituals, our celebrations and our struggles. The power of our artistic fiyah is undeniable. As feminists and as activists we use art to reflect our lives and experiences, to build consciousness and in many instances to share our political messages and stories.

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