Welcome child! by Coumba Toure

A praise poem for a new child by Coumba Toure – Senegalese feminist changemaker, artist, publisher  and educator.

Welcome child

To Azali Isisa

I welcome you child

I welcome you to our world

Forgive us it is not very tidy

We are doing our best

But we found it quite messy

Hope you will help us face the madness

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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.



A lash rips her skin open


Comes out of the prodigal tongue

Of her loving father’s mouth


I shudder at the sound of another lash

Tongue tied

Mother and I watch, immobilized

Like marble frozen, mute!


Heart pounding, mouth dry

I close my eyes and will my tears to roll

A floodgate of memory of humiliation,

Mine, hers, ours!


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!


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?


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


Juzi nikabururwa hadharani


Ni ugomvi wao wa  ndani

Niliwasikia mkisema

Nikajiona dhalili!

Mliposhika midomo yenu


Leo mwataka niseme nini?

Wacha nivumilie vitendo vyake

Niifunike aibu yangu na yenu

Ndani ya ukimya huu

Pamoja na uongo huu


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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Sista, why do you run? by Jessica Horn

From her debut poetry chapbook Speaking in Tongues, Jessica Horn’s solidarity poem for women facing sexual violence.

Sista, why do you run?
(dedicated to those women who have not survived sexual violence)
been a long time
in these bruised bones
long time in my rituals
of burnt eyes
and painted smile. 

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Khethi chanting down domestic violence

South African soul-sister Khethi’s music video for “Lady Tupandve” – about domestic violence and how it places a shadow over so many women’s lives……

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african, artist, feminist…..fierce

So why are you doing this sisters? African women are notoriously “spoken for” in colonial and post-colonial media and art. Yet we rarely hear African women’s own voices in galleries, on the silver screen, or in print. So what are women from various countries, backgrounds and contexts in Africa saying about politics, religion, tradition, their bodies, the future? What happens when African women take up the camera, pen or chisel themselves? What images of their lives and their worlds do they produce? Whose voices do they foreground? Are African women as wedded to culture and tradition as we are led to believe? Or are we challenging these limiting norms, and creating new forms of cultural expression?

There is a vibrant tradition of subversive artistic expression among African women across the continent. However what many artists lack are the platforms to share this work widely. Distribution mechanisms within Africa are dominated by for-profit companies who believe that women’s oppression “sells”.

nyangoma (mother of the drum) is a space for innovative, vibrant, sometimes unsettling, always fascinating expressions by African women artists working against the grain. It is fed by a collective of feminist artists and art-lovers linked to the African Feminist Forum.

This is us! nyangoma. A space for creative dissents * fierce sisters * artistic troubadours * africans in all our complexities * activist because the world needs to change * uncompromisingly feminist because that’s who we are….

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