A Nigerian-American journalist in Kenya

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Poetry in Nyeri September 16, 2010

Filed under: the journey — Admin @ 10:07 pm
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I was able to witness, actually, not only witness- but to participate in the first ever open mic poetry event in Nyeri, Kenya! It was organized by a guy named Sam. I went with Kevin, a cameraguy at K24 and was not expecting to recite anything. But I decided to go ahead- hey, why not? So, I skimmed through a book of poems. But I couldn’t find anything that I particularly liked so I quickly wrote my own poem in about 5 minutes. I titled it, ‘7000 miles.’

I’m 7,000 miles away from home

What am I doing here?

I’m 7,000 miles away from home

My mother, she’s quite worried about my safety…

They say Africans are dangerous

And that I should be very

Very careful

I can’t be careful enough


I’m 7,000 miles away from home

But I feel like I am home

Because the people that I see here

With the same sun-kissed hue that I have,

They have the same

Kinky hair that crowns my own head

And even though we have different accents

We speak the same language

The language of the

African soul,

And the heart

I’m 7,000 miles away from home

And I’m having the best time of my life

In the most beautiful land in the world

The motherland of great people

And of even greater dreams

I’m 7,000 miles away from home

No, I think I’m home

Pardon me,

I know I’m home

After reading it, I quickly scribbled another poem called ‘One by One.’ I borrowed the title from a South African song used in The Lion King movie. Here is the other poem that I read that evening:

The color of my skin

That is dark

I am proud of it

The color of my skin

That is dark

I will die

With it

The one thing that really frustrates me

Bothers me

And tears me apart

Is seeing black skin bleached yellow

I don’t see it often,

But when I do,

The image stays with me,

And it’s hard to forget the ladies

With yellow faces

And black arms

And bluish fingertips

Would you change the color of rich soil?

The color of good coffee?

The color of sweet chocolate?

Show me the liars who said black is not beautiful

And I will show you a weak people

We can never change Africa

Until we stop bleaching our skin,

Bleaching our minds

And bleaching our culture

The color of my skin

That is dark

I am proud of it

The color of my skin

That is dark

I will die

With it

The greatest part of this shindig was seeing young Kenyans engaging in the art of poetry. They were quite talented! And after the warm applause I received after reading my poems, my heart told me that Africa is the place for me; that Africa is where my heart was all along; that Africa is where I will find true happiness; that Africa is where my future will unfold; that there is no place, and no place in this universe, like Africa.