Two poems by Demere Kitunga

Two poems by Tanzanian publisher, writer and feminist activist Demere Kitunga- founder/director of Soma cafe in Dar es Salaam.

Whack!

Whack!

A lash rips her skin open

Slut!

Comes out of the prodigal tongue

Of her loving father’s mouth

Whack!

I shudder at the sound of another lash

Tongue tied

Mother and I watch, immobilized

Like marble frozen, mute!

Whack!

Heart pounding, mouth dry

I close my eyes and will my tears to roll

A floodgate of memory of humiliation,

Mine, hers, ours!

Whack!

Another lash, harsher than the previous

A sound I can no longer bear to hear

In a furor of action I mingle, angry

No longer stupefied!

Whack!

Tables turn a switch grabbed and flung at him

It misses!

Rancor settles at the sound of her voice

No more…

A shudder…

Inexplicable sense of guilt

All this cruelty as punishment

For the most natural of all emotions

And we let it happen?

Frustrated…

Teeth clenched we claw and rake

Root it out we call and sing together

Impotent ‘tis his turn for stupor

Pride plummeted!

© Demere Kitunga


Siasa gani hii?

Jicho limefunga

Shavu limevimba

Mguu unachechemea

Michubuko mwili mzima!

Kulikoni ndugu rafiki?

Aah! Utelezi

Jana usiku gizani

Maji yakichuruzika sakafuni

Nikateleza nikaangukia kisiki!

Ah! Kisiki ndani ya nyumba?

Uongo mwingine…

Nyuma ya pazia jembamba

Ningesemaje?

Juzi nikabururwa hadharani

Hamkuingilia!

Ni ugomvi wao wa  ndani

Niliwasikia mkisema

Nikajiona dhalili!

Mliposhika midomo yenu

Mkinicheka…

Leo mwataka niseme nini?

Wacha nivumilie vitendo vyake

Niifunike aibu yangu na yenu

Ndani ya ukimya huu

Pamoja na uongo huu

Tunaouishi!

Hizi ndizo zetu mila

Ndivyo wanavyotufunda

Ndio wetu utamaduni

Na yetu maadili pia

Lakini niambie ndugu rafiki….

Mila na utamaduni wa nani?

Na hayo maadili?

Yanamlinda nani?

Siasa gani hii…

Yenye mambo ya nje na ya ndani?

Inayohalalisha ukatili!

© Demere Kitunga

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3 Comments

Filed under poetry

3 responses to “Two poems by Demere Kitunga

  1. nii k

    and how can we (african) non-swahili speakers enjoy your gems?
    another reminder of how we need translators of more than one kind.
    congrats kitunga

  2. queenter Mbori

    Good job from Demere, we need more inspirational writers in Africa

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