Monday, November 29, 2010


So yea there you have it. Raila has said it. Raila has validated the homophobic prejudices amongst most Kenyans. What Raila says holds a lot of clout in Kenya. When Raila speaks some people do not even pray on that day because "thus says Raila- the Lord".

It is saddening. Not just because of the struggles of the LGBTI community in Kenya but because of the systemic oppression of a people, citizens of a country by the same 'people' who need to protect them. It is this moralism that eats up contemporary society. It is this sort of 'universal morality' to which we all should subscribe that tears my heart. It is when a duality of 'good' and 'bad' sex is created by ignorant 'leaders' who do not themselves always fall on the 'good side of sex' that sexual 'deviance' is illegitimized. This is the 'trouble with normal', Michael Warner will tell you.

I do not particularly care about Raila's homophobia as much as I feel disheartened by his utterances on the arrest of gays to a community that is already (almost inherently) homophobic. For Raila to call for the arrest of gays makes a bad situation worse. Given the number of times that violence against gay and lesbian people are arrested and harrassed by both the police and millions of 'uninformed mobs' in Kenya, finally this violence has been validated by one of Kenya's most 'powerful' politicians.

I will not waste my energy ranting about Raila's utterances. I will not waste my anger on him because he does not even deserve a minute of my otherwise busy schedule but i will point out one thing (to whoever cares to listen): Calling homosexuality 'unnatural' is so I-dont-know-what century. i believe that it is during sex, whether queer or normative, that people become 'natural'. It is during sexual activity that people become more animal than human. They get rid of their inhibitions and sexual shame and stigma. After the activity then they go back to their 'unnatural selves' of separating the private from the public and trying to be 'normal'. An attempt at fitting in within 'norms' set out by Lawd-knows-who. It is an argument that can never hold.

This 'homosexuality is unnatural' claim is ignorant and utterly annoying. It is a construct of religion, the state and heterosexual normativity. It is a way of disciplining 'deviant' sexual bodies. It is way of thinking that enforces the dominant/ normative social order and it is way of excluding a percentage of the population based on patriachal rule.

I fail to understand why most Kenyans do not get it. With the new coinage of 'mpango wa kando' or South Africa's 'makwapeni', why do we still have heterosexual people who believe that their sexual orientation is 'right' and moral?? Why don't they think cheating on their partners is equally a form of sexual deviance? If we are looking for a society that is sexually moral, why is it important to keep pointing at Raila's uncircumcised penis anytime he starts a campaign? Why is it necessary for Raila to point out that his wife Ida is not complaining about his foreskin? Because whatever goes on between the two during sex is not anyone's business, right? Ok, so whose business is it when two women buy didldo's the size of a baobab for their own sexual pleasure? Why is homosexual pleasure a shame? Why is it stigmatized? Why is it punishable by your fucking-annoying law?

I will tell you why. it is because most of us grow up in societies that are supposedly heterosexual on default. We grow up with our families expecting us to bring someone of the opposite sex home. We are taught about sexual shame as toddlers. you are taught not to touch your genitals and they are 'christened' so that they do not sound so shameful. You carry between your legs a willy-nilly or a veevee, you are told. It is time for Kenya's utterly-homophobic community to realize just how equally 'shameful' their sexual lives are. It is time we learnt to stop this moralizing discourse and advocated for basic human rights.

If you think the LGBTI community wants to be 'normal', forget it. people should be able to carry their sexualities on their sleeves if that is what they want to do. They are not going to be ashamed of themselves as you are while driving through Koinange Street for a quick pick-up before you go home to your wife or husband carrying the 'odour of illicit intimacy'.

By the way, stop invoking the stupid Adam and Steve rhetoric because we all do not believe in the same god(ddess). And calling homosexuality 'Western/UnAfrican' is an insult to the intelligence of an African thinker.See More

Friday, November 26, 2010


Hands smooth and soft
Unscathed by life’s worries
Only haunted by ghostly fairies
Untouched by roughness
The roughness of the Black skin
Black skin born in the fields
Bred on bread from the worst breed of bran

Those hands I have touched
Those hands I’ve been rubbing recently
Hands that have held guns
Guns whose bullets have gone through hearts
Hearts of my little brother and drunkard uncle
...Listen to this deafening silence
And I have learnt to ignore the paleness of these hands
For I now know there is no Black and White
Only brown and pink, brown hands entangled in pink
And pink became pink when they peeled off brown
For years brown was peeled off and trashed in cans
Each can awaiting brown hands to pikitup

The soft hands whose bearer I now walk with
Hands that now hold me like a gun
Abreast, cocked up and set to shoot
Set to shoot at whoever dares the past
For the hands of our time to the raceless race belong

me speaks


i speak

speak while picking pears for your pickle

speak of love to these walls

speak love in your wars

speak is my peak

and if you see me speak to me

carry on like you saw nothing

my madness speaks

madness understands

for we speak


speak because we know love

because we see love

see love where it’s not

felt in the wave of flowing water

in the direction of the whirlwind

in the striking of lightning

in the gathering of rainclouds


me speaks because i can

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Fat Black Woman's Poem

I am so curvateous, voluminous and lumptous
I am the fat black woman that you loathe
The fat black woman so extravagant
Extravagant with melanin and body fat
The black woman who made fat a bad word

So I am fat and that bothers you
So you wish I wasnt as fat and dark
So you want me lean and pale but nay I refuse
For comfortable in its pitch black skin
Is this fat black body

And i shall speak until tomorrow
About my black skin and body
About your idealised feminine body
About your preference for light skin
For I neednt fit your description

While you want me slim and shady
I will watch the poor things with pity
As they diet, eat and purge
To walk down your runway
And with myself I toss to good living

This is the fat black woman
The fat black woman from the South
The fat black woman born in the North
The fat black woman you gotta live with
For she refuses to make an early exit

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

for the same reason

think of me as less human if you want
think of me as a heartless being coz you can
think of me as an agent from hell for you are not
think, think brother think

but while you sit, whine and cry over me
cry of a sister long gone, lost and never found
cry for i shall never stop; no i can never stop
stop this talk, this talk of a black woman

a black woman whose life to you belongs
a black woman whose life you run
yes, this black woman who can never be
the black woman who can never be her

because when i get pregnant i am loose
because when i use pills you say i'm fat
because when i don't i can't abort
because the church is god on earth

and the church lives my life
and the church runs my inner me
and the church makes laws for me
these laws that bind me, caught up under my skin

i am a woman, an angry black woman
yes, yet another pitch black bitch you think
and because you refuse to see me
caught up under your laws, oppressing and suppressing my being

that is why i will go on and abort
that is why i seek not your permission
that is why i too shall not see you
for i am a woman, a woman with choices

Monday, March 29, 2010

if i must die

if i must die let it be today
if i must leave make the exit now
for i tire of waiting, wailing and whining

if i must die let it be soon
if this must come make it smooth
for i hate to die like a loser, a pauper and a mourner

if i must die let this be it
if it must be you then take me in
for you for sure death must be a man.

thus the can moved

the breeze starts hard and violent
the can starts rolling in its direction
the wind blows again and again
harder than when it first began

the lights turn, green, amber then red
and the can stops just in time with the cars
this can with a mind of its own
keeps rolling, stopping and moving

the lights turn green again
the can joins the highway
just like the rest of the traffic
but turns right while the cars keep left

lights green on the highway
and I watch the can move on and on
totally undeterred, unstoppable and unmoved
the can pedals its accelerator

still in the opposite direction the can moves
moves then stops right on the yellow line
and with bated breath I watch the can
watching for drivers race with the can

attention shifts, cars, cars and more cars
but no one hits the can and there the can sits
lights turn amber, then red and the can parks
just right on its right and there it stops

the breeze continues; the can starts reversing
reversing into the T-junction right below my balcony
now back into its initial feeding road
my eyes follow this can, strange and alive

back and forth the can moves, up and down
faster, slowly then faster, slowly and faster
and conjures up these memories
memories of this life this life constantly in motion

memories of how often my life is this life of a can
taking risks on the fringes of the yellow line
going against the traffic; never getting hit
not getting crushed by life's oncoming traffic
this life, like the can, with a mind of its own.

faster, slowly then faster

and so I killed him

a quarter a century on, on and on
i grappled with the known and unknown
the known i knew not that i knew
the known only known to a few
but all the same known and no more new.

the knowns that bother me more and more
the knowns that matter so much more
and knowns that my thoughts still shapeth
knowns whose knowing to the unknowns leadeth
the unknowns we know not yet we know we knoweth not

the unknowns that I knoweth not I faced
the unknowns that made me what i became
the unkowns that so much eagered me
to know the unknowns whose not knowing i knew
those unknowns mattered to me no more

those unknowns mattered to me no more
when i stopped trying so hard to know
when i embraced unknowing as knowing
when he no longer was an absence but a presence
yes a presence, the presence of a desire

and in my mind he existed no more
in my mind he remained an unknown that i knew
in my mind his absence mattered no more
in my mind remained the presence of a desire
and so I killed my my mind, mind, in my mind

thus sleep died

a bare back did I see when i turned
denunciation, rejection and refutation
of a child once dear, of a thing once clear
so i watched the bloom of gloom and doom
I watched tight-lipped while off sleep slipped
and thus they left, the slices of death we call sleep

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

death and its other nightmares

death and its other nightmares
I was not sorry when my grandmother died. When I first read Tsisti Dangarembga's opening line in Nervous Conditions I was taken aback by such indifference towards death. "I was not sorry when my brother died", Tambudzai says of her brother Nhamo's death. Like Tambu, I was happy that my grandmother died. For different reasons though. Not because I didnt love her. Not because she never mattered to me. Not. Not at all.

So yes, there you have it. I was born when my mother was only 15 years, or was it 16? Whatever. Now you can imagine what my Gran meant to me. She was my mother. My mentor. My, my, my my everything. The greatest love I ever had. I miss her now that I am talking to strangers about her. She breast fed me even though my mum was her lastborn child and I am telling you those sagging-sacks-once-known-as-boobs had milk enough for me and whoever else would have wanted. So yes, my granny died last month and I am still stuck with this and I am still not sorry. I am sad. No, not so sad but kinda happy.

So mum tells me that Granny was in pain before she died and I have a feeling that she is tryna make me feel better about it but yes, she was in pain, I believe her. Well, wouldnt it be better if she remained in pain and I could still see her? No, that's selfish, isnt it? Ok, so now I am happy that she died and wasn't in pain anymore. This makes me sad.

I spoke at my Gran's funeral and perhaps what I should have said is that I am just a drunkard, a smoker, an ass that my Granny never wanted me to ever be. Perhaps what I should have told all those people is that my Granny always made me cry when I thought of how much she had sacrificed for me. For us. Her grandchildren. I never told them about people she had said should not even bother coming to her funeral. I refused to tell them because my uncles and aunties would have kicked me out of home. Especially now that the only one person who cared for me soooo genuinely was no more. Now that she was gone, I would have been sent to my father. A father I never had. My Granny was my father. She understood my tears. She read the subtext in my smile. Yes, she lives on in my life.

And with this t-shirt hanging on my wall. The t-shirt I wore at her funeral. With her picture and her favourite Bible verse. I see her everyday. I hear her telling me to take care of her family. I hear her so clearly. I look at her and feel the pain but though I cry, I shall not feel sorry.My Granny covered up death's ugly face. I never knew anyone in my family could die. Not her. No. Anyone but her. She was so immortal to me. When she hit 70 and prepared us all for her death, I ignored. I knew she wouldnt die. She didnt. Years, many years after she often went into a coma but I still knew she would live. This immortal woman still lives. To me she is not dead because I refuse to humour death.

But when my Granny died I went to see her at the morgue just before the funeral. And oh what beauty! I want to have a good looking corpse when I die. All the pain was gone. Absolute beauty. Granny made death look like a cool thing. She really did. Her death was exactly as she wanted it. Her funeral just as she told us. Church dress, white shoes, next to grandfather, Bible verses, hymns etc. My Granny buried herself. My Granny organised her funeral when she was alive. And that there is pure genius.