Posted in Blog collaborations

Of being comfortable in your skin: Guest Post by Agasha Denise

Hiya!

I hope the second half of the year is faring well for you. Super-duper hopeful to see what 2021 still has in store for us as the remaining months unfold. This collaboration with Danny has honestly been cooking on these streets since the wake of the pandemic and I’m so glad that we’ve finally gotten round to doing it.

During this pandemic especially with lockdown, I’m sure a couple of us are chubbier because well, we are at home for the most part and while most work out and have all these fitness challenges going around, most just let the peace of mind and Netflix take over.

Have you ever been asked if you’re pregnant simply because of the increase in your arm size or tummy or legs? When it honestly is just your skin? Or have you ever been asked whether you eat or not and why you look malnourished?

This applies to ladies more than it does for the gents because well, when a man adds weight then society hails him and presumes it is because he has some money and is living well, but when a woman adds weight, then the opposite of hailing definitely trickles in.

When Danny and I decided to write on this topic, it was at the time when there were a lot of comments going about people’s weight gain or loss immediately after the easement of the lockdown and now even with the current lockdown.  Most of the people I was in conversation with, kept asking why it is that people loosely throw comments around without thinking about the impact that the words would have to the recipient.

I’ve definitely been in the space where I’ve gained the weight and been questioned about it and also where I’ve lost the weight and been questioned about it as well.  At the end of the day, society will always have opinions of what size you have to be, but what matters is if you are comfortable with who you are.       

What is body image to you? 

How comfortable and in love one is with their body or in their skin. I believe that body image is being content with your body in its current state even as you evolve. You know, our bodies are constantly changing because it is part of growth. So being able to love what you see when you look at yourself in the mirror, being secure even with your insecurities, having a loving mindset or perception of your body and not being too hard on yourself even as you evolve.

For the most part of your life, what body size has been attributed to you by society mostly? 

Huh…for a greater part of my life, I have been very small. Apparently I was a chubby child but I wonder where those genes went, lol. But yeah, I have always been so skinny and I liked it until I grew older. I started to become more cautious of people’s opinions about what I looked like. I remember, someone once told me “wakula bubi” loosely translated to mean you grew up badly, in terms of body structure. And for the longest time, I let that define me so much that I was cautious of what I wore.

How did that make you feel or affect how you looked at yourself?

It messed with my self-esteem greatly and made me prone to people’s comments about my body. For the compliments, I’d struggle taking them in because I wasn’t sure if they were genuine. Plus, it’s not something I was accustomed to as I’d mostly focus on the things I didn’t like about my body and ignored the beauty.

For the negative ones, yoooo…. those took a toll on me. At some point I wouldn’t wear tight jeans much because I felt like they would fully portray my tiny hip bones and I hated that. Also, I took a while to wear off shoulder tops because I felt like I was a bit muscular, lol, the lies we feed ourselves.

How best have you grown to be comfortable in your skin? 

Honestly, it’s still a journey but I can confidently say that I am in a much better place. I had to get to a stage where I sat down with my insecurities to address them. In so doing, I realized I was banking on people’s opinions who didn’t even create me.

So, I challenged myself to dig in to God’s word to know the truth for myself. Because listen, God created me with so much intentionality and I believe He made the very best version of me.

Once during my self-check evaluation, I remember thinking about the creation story and how after God created, He’d exclaim that it was good. And yet, here I was rejecting His idea of good, what authority did I have. Like who does that, haha…but its only because I know better now. I constantly catch myself shutting out the negative voices when the insecurities show up. This helps me focus on the truth and continually affirm myself through it. Like I said, it’s a journey of learning, unlearning and relearning the truth of who I am and walking in it.

Have you ever questioned your skin or wanted to be in different skin?

Umh, this one not really. I love my melanin [beams] But for a different body, oh my gosh yes. I’d countlessly find myself day dreaming about what my life would look like if I were in maybe a curvier body or if I had a bit more flesh to my bones [chuckles]. However, not anymore because I realized that what you hate about yourself maybe envied by someone else and vice versa. So the comparison games are really just a thief of joy and they deny you the privilege of genuinely thriving in who you are. It’s safe to say that I’m on an intentional journey of acceptance of every aspect of who I am.

What would you want someone who relates to your struggles, to know today?

You are beautiful just the way you are. And as cliché as that sounds, I want you to believe that God made the very best version of you and there’s no one like you. Embrace your beauty even with the flaws and just work on maybe improving them but not to completely change who you are.

Celebrate those parts of you that you wish you didn’t have or were different, because, it’s those little details that make you the awesome distinct human that you are. And that’s a gift… You are special. Don’t tread that for living a counterfeit version of yourself. Bask in all the uniqueness you embody, see yourself as God does because when He made you, it was love at first sight. So own who you are in every sense of the word. You are a work of art!

***

Thank you for allowing to be this vulnerable with my audience Dee. Your responses are profound and encouraging.

Dee blogs at https://pearlygash.wordpress.com/ be sure to follow her as well on her socials.

Twitter: @DeeGash143

Instagram: Pearly Gash

Cheers!

Posted in Poetry

How to Wake a Butterfly, Loic Ekinga: Poetry Review

“You’re a deeply sensitive man”

I took those words and crushed them

Inside my palm until they turned

Red like wine, I don’t want to cry.

She looked at me again and called me

River.

Loic Ekinga, How to Wake a Butterfly

***

This assemblage of poems by Loic is in four parts; Growing up as a boy and detachment from his parents, Mental health struggles and grief as a man, Denial, healing and acceptance, Love and finally thriving.

Under the first part; Growing up, he narrates the detachment that occurred in his family when his mother leaves to study and the silence of his father that became a language that he resonated with growing up but, he is trying to unlearn over the years.

My father taught me to be a wielder of silence

A master of body language

He taught me that questions don’t always guarantee answers

That sometimes, if you’re silent enough

The answer will come knocking.

All responses and questions he sought as a child were responded to with silence and so, finding his voice has been a pursuit that the protagonist in the book is learning to embrace and find. His vulnerability and acceptance of his weaknesses was profoundly brought out in the designated poems under this section. Growing up in Congo, he narrates the games his friends and himself used to play, informed by the violence and the constant deaths that surrounded them. This clearly depicted the role that environment has to play in the upbringing of a child.

The second part concerning Mental health struggles and grief as a man, the central character narrates the divorce of his parents and the effect it had on him and his siblings, loss of his grandmother and the struggles to accept her death and the molestation he underwent as a growing adult; his acceptance of the same. In his poem; My father: a lesson in mourning like a man, he continuously questions why his father never cried or wept at the loss of his friend but insisted on covering up his tears behind black shades and act macho while every feature in his body depicted his grief.

I asked myself,

Why aren’t you crying?

Why are you hiding?

Should I not cry too?

This pointed out the societal expectations that African culture especially has placed on boys to act macho in all circumstances regardless of their emotions and feelings. Crying and vulnerability is seen as a sign of weakness on the part of the boys and so, they have to internally deal with all these pressures and also be the same ones to hold the forte at the end of the day. This expectation has caused a lot of masculine depression and mental health issues that are springing up more rampantly and there is definitely need to have a change in the narrative in the way boys are raised as well as the gentleness with which both genders are considered.

Additionally, concerning mental health, and the third part of the anthology about denial, healing and acceptance, the protagonist narrates the ordeal of his molestation by an elderly woman under the poems; Likasi; which ultimately negatively affected his relationships and the desire for older women. The denial he had in the initial stages in due course affected his healing and there was so much freedom in relaying his ordeal and letting it go once he accepted and recognized what was happening to him.

It’s extremely wrong to be molested

And claim to be the man in charge

A lucky, lucky boy

Likasi… because I’m trying to get over it

The beauty about healing is that it gets easier once we accept and work towards deliberately relieving ourselves of the guilt, shame and ache we felt during whatever struggle and the author stunningly expresses this vulnerability, total healing and release. He talks about healing and the need to be understood, affirmed and hugged above all. There’s always relief that comes with hugs. I for one, are such a hugger so I definitely resonate with the authors anecdote for his healing and ache.

The last part is about love and moving on. The protagonist finds love and narrates this in his last poems. The beauty of the one he loves, how they met, and how the butterfly was finally awoken, with gentleness, love and light.

It is beautiful that his story has a happy ending.

Amidst the uncertainty and confusion, the fear of acceptance and the worry that he might never fit in with what society termed as his sensitivity, he finally finds his voice, his passion, embraces his sensitivity and is learning, just like a butterfly, to spread his wings each day and fly.

You definitely have to get a copy of this book from amazon!

It’s a remarkable anthology.

***

Loic Ekinga Kalonji is a Congolese poet, story teller, and a screenwriting enthusiast. His work in poetry and fiction focuses on the human experience and memories.

Follow him on twitter Loic Ekinga @1stLoicYouknow      

                                Instagram @Loic Ekinga

Cheers.

Posted in Book Reviews 📖, Uncategorized

Notes on Grief, Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie: A review

Grief is a cruel kind of education.

You learn how ungentle mourning can be, how full of anger.

You learn how glib condolences can feel.

You learn how much grief is about a language, the failure of a language and the grasping for language

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The closest I’ve come to death of a loved one was my father last year. Looking at his lifeless body and ghastly face gave me a tinge of what it is to look death in its eyes.

I’ve read this anthology over and over again in the course of the past few months and resonating with Chimamanda’s grief and her loss of words was profound.

The aching that comes with the constant reminder that your loved one has gone, the confusion and denial that comes with the continual condolences and calls, the loss of words and the numbness of the body is an aching that can never be under looked.

Allow yourself to grieve.

Allow yourself to not have to be strong.

Allow yourself to not have to receive and respond to the calls and messages,

Allow yourself stillness.

Stillness to know that your aching and grieving heart will find rest in the immobility.

Allow your tears to freely flow and not have to stop them because only you knows how the aching beats and eats at you every single second that you are filled with a thought or a memory of the person.

Chimamanda’s bravery in putting her grief on paper is something to be marveled at. The ability to be vulnerable with yourself and not shove the feeling to the back of your mind. The vulnerability to know that she wasn’t okay, and she wasn’t about to pretend that she was okay is something I need to learn, that we all need to learn.

Don’t rush the process.

Every story and every paragraph as she reminisces on the fondness of her father’s smile, the assurance of his voice and the memories kept in pictures, scents, clothes and places ate at her each day and each morning, waking to the soreness of her eyes and body.

Grief is a fierce roaring that is never really silenced.  

I regret my past uncertainties: surely you should mourn, talk through it, face it and go through it.

I have mourned in the past, but only now have I touched grief’s core.

Only now do I learn, while feeling for its porous edges, that there is no way through.

I’m at the center of its churning and I have become a maker of boxes and inside their unbending walls I cage my thoughts. I torque my mind firmly to its shallow surface alone.

I cannot think too much, I dare not think too much, I dare not think too deeply or else I will be defeated, not merely by pain but by a drowning nihilism, a cycle of thinking there’s no point, what’s the point? There’s no point to anything.

Chimamanda Ngozie

***

I’ve lost one too many the past few months. Either directly or indirectly and the pain is the same. I feel it every time a friend gets news that their loved one has gone; it stings because I’ve stared death in the face once and I wouldn’t want anyone to have to lose to it.

Grieve.

Feel everything.

Healing will come when it’s meant to.

God keep you.

RIP TO THOSE ALL WE’VE LOST!

May the angels receive your souls with celebration.

Cheers.

Posted in Afrobloggers: Winter Blogging Challenge 2021

Artificial Intelligence (The Minimalist edition)

Hiya!                  

Gosh seems like decades since a scribbled a few things on here. Glad to be back.

I was extra sad when Winter ABC had to happen in the month I had exams this year, but this week’s theme was super exhilarating. Business and Tech. I am definitely leaning towards the Tech for this blog post.

For the past couple of years, I have been fascinated by the notion of Artificial Human Intelligence. This was triggered in 2019 when I participated in an International competition where the question to be addressed involved a W.A.L.L (Weaponized Autonomous Limitation Line) that was set up at the boundary of two belligerent countries inorder to ensure that whoever breached the peace, would be brought to justice, without any form of human intervention. This thing had been designed and filled with information from across the world on identifying any form of resistance inorder to combat it. This same weapon had been used by many despotic regimes to stay in power and an argument had been made against it.    

I had also been following the creation of drones and the attacks happening using these drones, but the whole aspect of creating a whole automated machine that was said to have the ability to respond to outbreaks and lawlessness with a false positive of 0.000% definitely intrigued me.

Before I let my passion get carried away, for those reading who might not know, Artificial Intelligence (AI) refers to the stimulation of human intelligence in machines that are programmed to think like humans and mimic their actions. [source: Investopedia.org] It is the ability of a machine to perform various commands, based on information being fed into it, and the capability for it to respond with very minimal human interference. Infact! Why am I using many words to explain AI when Vision in Avengers was an AI. My work here might as well be done. *Tihee* I digress.

Anyhow, my interest in the subject was further spurred when I watched Black Mirror, a thrilling NetFlix show, on the recommendation of a couple of my friends. This series cemented my desire to actually study the nature and response of artificial human intelligence and the aspect of liability with regard to who can be held responsible in instances of harm or damage caused by the machine. For starters, Black Mirror is a series of independent episodes with one common theme; Artificial human intelligence. The ability of a chip or an application to do a couple of things that might even have legal implications, was portrayed through out the series. (I’ve been told to also watch Love, Death and Robots, can’t wait to!)

[Source: Google Photos]

To put this into perspective, ill talk about two of my preferred episodes in Black Mirror. Preferred because they had a lot of questions left unanswered regarding regulating these autonomous devices created by human beings.

The first episode I’ll talk about is White Christmas. In this episode, there was a chip that was created that had the mental version of a person, made from reading and absorbing the likes and wants of the host body, and then, being made as an assistant of the host. I don’t know if this makes sense but literally, a smaller you was created and put into a chip to organize for the bigger you. It was literally trapped and enslaved into that chip. Your conscience locked up to work for you *absurd, I know*. Anyways, this chip was used to get a confession from a certain gentleman who had committed murder, but it was done using the smaller conscious version of him and he was convicted based on that testimony.

This episode in particular spurred my curiosity on how such a confession could be used to convict a person who did not even know that that confession was gotten. Technology was used to create something that was later used by the same persons for a good cause, but to what end?

Anyways the second episode that intrigued me was Be Right Back. It was basically about an online service that helped people reconnect with their loved ones who had died, by absorbing all the data fed to them, inclusive of pictures, videos and likes, and recreating that same person online, with whom conversations could be had. In this particular episode, the protagonist lost her boyfriend and signed up for this program, but her need went beyond the need to speak and reconnect online, and so they gave her the option of physically brewing the deceased boyfriend. This was the creepiest because they actually created a flesh like body into which they installed all the data that had been collected from the memories of the deceased person and the person was actually recreated.

***

In short, the ends to which technology is headed, would need some form of legal regulation because in the event that harm was occasioned by the fleshy substitute in the last episode I mentioned, who would be held accountable? The online entity from which it was purchased does not have a physical person or location from which one can say they will sue and physically arraign them in court. Would it be a civil or criminal action?

The same question arises with the use of cryptocurrency which Benjie vehemently discussed in his piece written yesterday. The vast uncertainty of who would be held liable in case of online theft or any errors which may occur is such a big bet.

I might be speaking like this because I have the biased opinion of a lawyer who is always looking for solutions in instances of disagreement or breach let alone harm, but technology sure has come to make so many things easier especially with the creation of cryptocurrency and artificial human intelligence but there still so many blurred lines that need to be straightened before we fully get into the wave of the Tech Revolution.

I hope that one day I’d be able to answer this question.

I also hope that I have not confused you though. Ha-ha I still have so many unanswered questions but do let me know what you think about artificial human intelligence and whether as Africa, we are ready to use and adopt it.

Cheers.

Posted in Blog collaborations, Book Reviews 📖

A Tale of four books by female authors

Hiya!

This is the last Wednesday of the Women’s month and I decided to host the ever beautiful and Phenomenal Racheal Kizza who is the Project Coordinator at African Writer’s Trust to share some of the amazing Afro literature by powerful African Women which she has done so beautifully and I can’t wait to indulge in each of these books. She is a passion and lifestyle blogger and blogs at rachealkizza.com

At the start of this week, the Times Newspaper headlines describing the acting President of Tanzania, Samia Suluhu, as a mother of four in the headline, sparked an outrage from the general African community at large asking whether she had no name and whether they described male leaders as fathers.

This emphasized the sad state of affairs with regard to the recognition of women achievements globally and to be precise, African women achievements.

Thus, hosting Racheal to expound on her favorite black female authors on the blog is no better way to celebrate the brilliance and commendable prose of the African feminine community on the literary scene.

I hope you do enjoy and indulge with the books in her review and I pray that we will be more appreciative and recognitive of the achievements of fellow Africans and specifically, female writers on the scene.

****

In Daughters Who Walk This Path, Aunty Morenike tells Morayo, “some women collect shoes, I collect books’’ when she questions her new bookshelf crammed with new books.

I like Aunty Morenike have been collecting books more than anything lately. Books are my companions. I carry them wherever I go and I catch myself longing for them on dreary days but also sunny days. They are an all-season kind of companion.

Today I share with you some of my favourite novels that are on my to be read again list, to-own list, my children’s must-read list, hehehehe…. I could go on and on. It is safe to say that they are on my every list.

Daughters Who Walk this Path by Yejide Kilanko (2012)

Source : Google

Daughters Who Walk This Path is a coming of age novel by Yejide Kilanko. It explores the life of Morayo who is forced to harbour a shameful secret when she is sexually abused by a relative. The novel elegantly dissects three decades of her life after this traumatic experience, revealing the multi layered transformation she undergoes. Morayo`s baby sister Eniayo is born an albino and the blame is placed at the feet of Bisoye. The author shows the role of superstitions in African society. The myths people believe that encourage abuse and pain. In the case of Morayo`s mummy-Bisoye, she is told that because of her disobedience to her mother in law, bad luck visited her child.

“`During the pregnancy’’-she paused and turned to Mummy, catching her breath-“did you walk outside when the sun was up in the sky?’’

“Yes, Ma,’’ Mummy said quietly.

“Bisoye, did I not warn you that mischievous evil spirits walk about at noontime, looking for a body to occupy? Now, see what you have caused!’’ “Your disobedience has brought bad luck to this poor child and to our entire family.’’

Morayo struggles with guilt, pain, silence and emotional distress when she is repeatedly raped by the `relative’. She is scared to tell her mother who in the past has behaved riotously to simple queries about sex like most African mothers do. But she eventually informs her mummy and daddy who treat her like many African parents have done when their children report such cases. “Mummy was kneeling beside Daddy`s feet, tugging at his trousers, silently pleading for her nephew. In that moment, my anger towards Mummy reignited. She should have been worried about me! She should have been worried coming after me!

Aunty Morenike is the one person who understands what she is going through, having experienced the same fate herself. She admonishes her to come out of the shadows and live life again. Aunty Morenike is the guiding light to Morayo`s dark road. She holds her hand as she navigates the pain and shame of rape.

 “Aunty Morenike, Bros T… He raped me.’’ He did not just “touch me.’’ He did not just lift up my skirts. I said it again: “He raped me.’’ Aunty nobody understands how much it hurts.’’

She whispered the words in my hair. “Morayo, I do.’’

 The novel explores Aunty Morenike`s experience with rape by a close family friend and how her grandmother was her source of strength. She had thought her life was over because of that experience but the grandmother told her otherwise. “You, my dear child are no coward. What you`ve survived in this past year requires great courage.’’

She finds a sisterhood in the older and younger women of Omu. Kilanko proves that having a balanced circle of older and younger women is gainful for any woman. The wisdom they both bring to the table is second to none. The book also reinforces the fact that African traditions and family serve to uplift and guide.

Aunty Morenike armed with this wisdom, is the perfect ally for her niece. She becomes her safe haven, her light, confidant, constant friend. Morayo finds safety and healing and vows to break the oppressive web of silence for her children.

When Morayo has a baby of her own she promises her this, I promise that for you, there will be fewer secrets. I promise to talk about whatever causes you pain. I promise to listen even when I do not understand. I promise because you are worth it.’’

Yejide Kilanko through this beautiful book demonstrates the need and power for a safe space filled with women you can be vulnerable with as you go through life, women who have been where you are going and can walk with you through your process

Original post- https://rachealkizza.com/book-tales-august-edition/

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (2018)

Source: Google

The first book of a planned trilogy, the author weaves a tale of a world where people are suppressed for being different. Zélie, a heroine, attempts to restore magic to the kingdom of Orïsha, currently ruled by Kosidán. Kosidán brutally suppresses the magic practitioners that Zélie belongs to, the Maji.

The fear is real but so is courage for taking back what was stolen from the Maji. The book was an instant sensation in the US and now I understand why. The book harbours themes that have taken centre stage today; colourism, discrimination in all its forms, etc.

I enjoyed book one and I had to get book two immediately, Children of Virtue and Vengeance.

Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi (2019)

Source: Google

Children of Virtue and Vengeance is book two of the Tomi Adeyemi trilogy. It was overwhelming. Zélie and Amari succeed in restoring magic to the land of Orïsha, but something goes wrong with the spell! The enemy is now as powerful, and yet Zélie struggles to unite the Maji. Her problems are bigger than that; there is a looming civil war. Zélie finds herself in a dilemma. The tension is everywhere but the Maji must unite to win the civil war. Betrayal and love bloom in both camps. Will love conquer all things?

The ending of the book is one of the best cliff hangers I have experienced. The tension didn`t let up until I was on the last page. One of my favourite characters, Inan reminded me of Professor Snape from Harry Potter, right from book one (Harry Potter fans will understand this). The ending of the book had me in a moment of silence. I look forward to book three. 

In my view, both books (Children of Blood and Bone and Children of Virtue and Vengeance) revealed the state of affairs majorly in the US and the world. People have to fight for their freedom and when they almost have it, it’s taken away again. The war for freedom never ends.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi 

Source: Google

Homegoing is a story about the lives of two sisters who are separated, one remains at the gold coast, the other is shipped off to America as a slave. Subsequent chapters track their lives and those of their descendants while revealing the sordid details of slave trade, the involvement of the African people and the White people.

This book brought to life my history class on the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and its effects on the people of Ghana. Back then, I never felt the weight of the trade on the natives. This book brought it to my doorstep. I was sad and angry at what the trade did to the people who stayed on the continent, those who were taken away and the children born out of the intermarriages between the White people and the Africans. They didn’t fully belong because they were neither white nor black-meaning they didn`t fully belong to either race.

The book is an evocative read packed with rich story and history but it was a difficult read too, packed with many characters. But if you have read Kintu by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, you will enjoy this book from Ghana. It is the Kintu of Ghana literally.


Posted in Poetry

POETRY REVIEW; No speaking Vernacular, Kagayi Ngobi; Don’t love me in English, Bridget Ankunda

Hiya!

Wasn’t sure whether to title this book review or poetry review but its all semantics. *smiles*

I’m super dupa excited that we were able to host a total of three guests reviewing their favorite Afrolit through out the black history month but as Uncle B said, black history ought to be celebrated every day. This was just to open up the plethora of literature that remarkable people our color have written, from across the continent and Globe. I do hope you are able to indulge.

As I conclude this series, one of the matters that kept resounding throughout this black history month to me was our traditional languages. I was super excited when I saw that Kitara Nation had a poetry series out on speaking vernacular.

If we communicate on a regular basis, you will notice that I prefer to have most of the communication with Luganda phrases here and there and most find this odd.

Growing up, I’d always been taught to believe that English was the language of the civilized and boy oh boy, how I wanted to be one of the civilized! I decided to embrace this, and it stuck. What made it easier for me was that my parents spoke to us in English and we never had to go to the village to interact with our grandparents, because well, they had already gone to be with the Lord.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve heard stereotypes about people who speak vernacular and how the Ugandan society perceives them. It’s such a hurtful sight. It is this very stereotype that made me realize that we have succumb to believing in the notion that everything related to our African traditions is archaic and so we have chosen to lean towards the safer and more acceptable option. Modernity with a culture that is polluted by profanity and immorality.

We forget that our identity will always be rooted in Africa.

Its no wonder that people who try so hard to imitate the western accent always throw in an ‘R’ where there’s supposed to be an ‘L’ and the reverse. This is evidence that within us, our true identity will never be shadowed by the façade we try to put up.

‘If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head, but if you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.’

Nelson Mandela

Less talk let’s get into the review.

But before we get into that, let’s not forget what Elnathan John told us in Becoming Nigerian.

Never, ever explain satire!

***

No Speaking Vernacular; A performance poem by Kagayi Ngobi

These poem seek to portray the miserable state of our education system, imposing punitive, demeaning and crude punishments to children for making the slightest utterances of vernacular. It’s a sad state of affairs I must say!

The irony is that the teachers themselves, do what is commonly referred to as direct translation of phrases from vernacular to English, but still emphasize that the students will become nothing without English.

You speak vernacular

You are a villager

You are a commoner

You are embarrassing

Civilization

Excerpt from Don’t Speak Vernacular, Kagayi Ngobi

Don’t Love me in English, Bridget Ankunda

This is a compilation of poems, centered around the theme of sexual harassment of girls around the streets of Kampala and in public taxis, pain and heartbreak, the essence of cultural oriented relationships and a tinge of Biblical prose.

I loved this because it put perspective to some of the pertinent issues in society that we tend to shy away from talking about. The shamelessness of men staring at girls, drooling with desire to the nitty gritties of the miserable state of affairs of the service delivery in our country.

You compared my smile

To a mid-summer rain

Me, who only knows about

  • Mud staining white clothes
  • Wind stealing iron sheets
  • Boda boda men tripling prices
  • Vendors sliding in black market mud
  • Susu from city trenches remixing oxygen
  • Kampala collectively struggling to think, breathe, to survive floods

How was I supposed to know?

The rain you meant was a dance

Of two lovers; droplets hitting skin

And skin saying thank you?

Kale if you had compared me to the last seat of

The last taxi

In the old park

At ten pm

On a cold Monday night,

I would’ve understood you.

Did you have to love me with a cliché?

Did you have to love me in English?

Excerpt from Don’t Love me in English, Bridget Ankunda

***

I’d love you all to get more in touch with your skin, your traditions, your Africanicity and love it. Don’t try so hard to portray and be who you are not.

In the words of Oscar Wilde; BE YOURSELF, EVERYONE ELSE IS ALREADY TAKEN!

Cheers and I wish you a happy new month!

Posted in Black History Month, Blog collaborations

Book Review; Jesse’s Jewel, Nick Twinamatsiko

Hiya!

The third guest on the blog reviewing her fave Afrolit book is the ever sweet and satirical, Mable Amuron. She is an amazing book reviewer as well and you definitely need to check out her blog at www.amuron.com. Follow her on her social media pages too @Mableamuron on Instagram, @mablees on Twitter and @MargaretAmuron.

Before I hand over the blog to her, here’s something small to ponder on.

If a race has no history, it has no worthwhile tradition and becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world and it stands in danger of being exterminated.

Carter G. Woodson

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Book Review: Jesse’s Jewel

Author: Nick Twinamatsiko

Publisher: Pilgrim Publications.

Pages: 176

Synopsis: Condemned by the adults in the village as an eccentric child likely to grow into a lunatic, terrified 6-year old Jesse Yesiga learns, under the influence of 16 year old Helen that he isn’t eccentric, but unique and destined, not for lunacy, but a peculiar purpose. Helen, whom Jesse loves platonically but profoundly, soon dies amidst the siege of Mbarara Town by Museveni-led rebels. Later in life Jesse bases his choices in career and romance on societal conventions, and pursues them with the passion of a poet. But after he reaches every school boy’s dream girl, and enrols on every student’s dream course, the culminating disappointment revived the illuminations of his childhood. But can he find himself again?  And can he find a girl that can stir his affections the way Helen did? His flight from conventionality, inspired by a jewel bequeathed to him by his heroine, turns out to be perilous but worthwhile.

Review: The first question I’ll ask is, why is Nick Twinamatsiko not as well known!? This man is a genius. No, I’m not exaggerating, I don’t need to. This man is a serious, absolute genius.

This book, on its own, is one of the sweetest and cutest books I’ve ever read. No kidding.

I very much admire and envy his ability to shift the reader from one mood to the next. From elation to sadness. His descriptive powers are out of this world… From the way the book begins, with philosophical wondering on what memory really is and how it affects our lives right to the satisfactory ending.

The language in this book is not hard to understand and the simplicity in writing style makes it even better. The book is hilarious and has an introspective nature to it. The story is told with honesty that can be best described as innocent. I enjoyed how much he mixes the spiritual and reality.

From the outlandish characters to the ones we recognise in the pages. I’m not a child of the 80s, the era in which the book is set, but I recognised many of the characters in the book. The village gossip, the ‘prophet’, the teacher that loves his cane a little too much, nicknamed Mr. Bend.

The other wonderful surprise in this book was the beautiful poetry that was featured throughout the book. Each poem was inspired by an event happening to the protagonist.

In a world where we are made to admire a standard of life that is somewhat out of our reach, finding our true authentic selves is usually frowned upon. This may be because our true selves and what we are passionate about may be unsavoury to society and it’s standards.

Before I give away much of the book’s plot, again I ask, why is Nick Twinamatsiko not as well known? This is a page-turner.

 I think in my case, I’m way past the point of just being a fan. I’m a disciple.

Buy buy buy this book!

Posted in Black History Month, Blog collaborations

Book Review: These Bones Will Rise Again, Panashe Chigumadzi; Manchester Happened, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi and My Sister the Serial Killer Oyinkan Braithwaite

Hiya!

Super excited to host this series of amazeballs Afrolit books that you can’t miss indulging in lieu of Black History month. Today’s guest is an amazing book reviewer that I met on Instagram. Her page is a hive of sensational literature which will get you remarkable recommendations on good reads.

You can follow her blog on www.kweeninpages.wordpress.com and her Instagram is a booksgram at https://instagram.com/kweeninpages .

Before I hand over the blog to her, I’d like to quote what Billy Chapata said about black history month in an interview he had recently about his breathtaking poetry;

A month isn’t enough to quantify the impact of Black history. Black history has to be celebrated every day because its not celebrated enough, appreciated enough or nearly understood enough. But what Black history month does allow for me to do is to breathe, step back and appreciate all the strong, resilient and beautiful people of color who have paved the way for me and many others before me. It allows me to reemphasise my blackness in spaces that want to shrink it. It allows me to remember who I am, my magic and to remember that it goes beyond the color of my skin.

Over to Maya now. Thank you for allowing to review your phenomenal recommendations on the Resolute Scribbles.

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THESE BONES WILL RISE AGAIN by Panashe Chigumadzi is an essay reflection/ memoir that critically analyses Mugabe’s ousting “coup not coup” of November 2017. Panashe brings forth the pasts and presents that are omitted from history.

The power of storytelling is a an assignment left to the living for those that have passed on and it’s no surprise that the death of Panashe’s grandmother woke up a sense of duty to find answers to questions that weren’t being asked, stories unheard and lost memories of the big and small women in the history of state making.

The book holds themes like power, memory, chimurenga, colonialism, state/family history and the formidable presence of women who are forcibly silenced as is the norm. when I say I annotated a lot while reading it’s not an exaggeration because there was such wisdom in the authors writing and a lot of reflection to be made for a lot of African states and how politics is tailored to accommodate heroes and not heroines. This book is beautifully written and a brilliant educator everyone should read it to learn and be enriched. I am going to quite while I am ahead before I spoil your reading experience. I will however share some breath-taking lines from the book that will hopefully nudge you and show you how worthy a read it is.

“…history is like water it lives between us, and comes to us in waves…”

“… we are always living in the tension between water’s tranquillity and its tumult…”

“…oral tradition tells us, history lives in the mouth, and so we must draw on memory and myth to craft these alternative pasts, presents and futures.”

“A person is a person through other.”

 So, let us all take up our places in the art of being human and share knowledge and stories that would not have been told.

Happy reading

MANCHESTER HAPPENED by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi is a short story collection that accounts stories of Ugandans in the diaspora and their homecomings. The book carries themes like love, loss, betrayal, extended family and then some.

There is something to be said about how Makumbi just really knows how to weave a story and captivate her reader. She slowly unpacks the delicate subjects of her characters and their experiences. She truly knows how to make an awkward conversation readable and who knew dogs could talk?

I can not pick a single story from the 12 as a favourite because I loved every single one of them and appreciated the research she puts behind her work because the accuracy was uncanny. Better yet, I love that Makumbi came to the international stage centring her home audience unapologetically. Trust a Ugandan to find humour to usher you through calamity, distress and all, I was tickled in this book occasionally I read a story twice and out loud because I was not about to miss the hilarity of it all. Dear reader if you have not read anything by Makumbi yet please be kind to your self and start with this short story collection and it will launch you into her other writing.

Don’t be saying I never heard or I never understood…(read with Ugandan English)

Happy reading

MY SISTER THE SERIAL KILLER by Oyinkan Braithwaite is I do not know what kind of genre set in Nigeria and I found it both gripping and mind blowing. The book carries themes like beauty, sisterhood, social media, and love.

Two sisters one does the serial killing and the other does the cleaning up and the short punchy chapters just adventure through the dynamics of this relationship. Braihwaite, really does not wait for her readers to get distracted with character details, she quickly gets to the point which makes for a fast-paced read.

The authors poetic background does shine through her writing of the blog within the book, her words were very active which I found well done. And at the end if this I was convinced of the statement,

“blood is thicker than water”

The above has terms and conditions though so I’m not holding back on extraordinary circumstances (insert cheeky smile here)

If your looking for a change of pace and something new and haven’t already read it.

Happy reading.

If you do choose to read any of these books please let me know what you thought, because I can disclose that I have really held back on writing my thoughts away. And I love a good book chat honesty I could do book talking all day every day (insert song Monday paka Sunday).

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Cheers!

Posted in Black History Month, Blog collaborations

Fiction History and African Literature

Hi there!

Good to have you back for another read on here.

So, I’ve always wanted to do something like this on my blog when I started Reviewing various books for you to read and I’m glad I chose to do this during the Black history month. Well, everyday should be a space to celebrate the beauty and chaos that Africa is but these next two weeks on the blog, I’ll be hosting renown bloggers to review some of their favorite AFROLIT so that we get to know and celebrate African writers.

For so long, we have been taught to believe and have the perception that African writers don’t write as well as the rest, but we’re here to show the wealth of knowledge, creativity, ingeniousness and wit that flows so effortlessly within the African blood. That’s a trait that can’t be taken from us. Our prose.

The first guest is Uncle B from Zimbabwe and I’m honestly honored to have him on the blog to review some of his favorite African Literature. He went all out to recommend amazing reads for you all so please do feel free to indulge with the literature as well as on his blog.

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February is Black History Month (even though on this continent its black history month every day of the year as we embrace our roots) February is also the month of love (again even if you don’t have to wait for one day of the year to show someone you appreciate them)

In honour of the two I am going to share about my love affair with three books that unconventionally celebrate black history in the sense that they are fictionalized recollection of African History. If our history text books read like this, I bet I would have loved history class back in High School….

To quote the Aaron Brady From introduction of Kintu:

…History as it’s written down in books is one thing, but history as it’s lived is another.

how the past recedes into the background as we race irrevocably forward….

Kintu

Kintu is a novel by Jennifer Makumbi. Kintu is a story of Uganda and ultimately Africa, how the past has shaped what the present becomes following generations of Kintu’s bloodlines.

This multi-character tome sweeps across bloodlines following descendants of Kintu’s kin from the precolonial times to modern, giving a panoramic view of Ugandan history, culture and tradition. While the book is unashamedly Ugandan, it is very relatable to any country in Africa as we have travelled unerringly similar paths to get where we are.

review of  Kintu on BecomingTheMuse.net

The Old Drift

The Old Drift is a novelby Namwali Serpell and this gives a narrative of Zambia’s history and partly Zimbabwe with which it once shared the name Rhodesia and still shares the Kariba Dam and the Victoria Falls whose story is pivotal to how the plot plays out.

Once again this is a multi-character multi-generational story which not only spans continents it sweeps across time and genre, part history, part romance, part fantasy even part science fiction.

The blending of reality and make believe is so seamless that I am still down the rabbit hole of checking what really transpired and what did not and it has made me appreciate our history even personifying some moments which upto now have been footnotes in barely read history textbooks.

Review of The Old Drift on BecomingTheMuse.net

House Of Stone

House of Stone is a a novel by Novuyo Tshuma with a story whose backdrop is set in the Zimbabwean history, the struggle for independence and and the mostly untold, unwritten, unspoken and barely confessed about Gukurahundi Massacre.

Listening to the author comment on writing the book, they mentioned how difficult it was to research and get insights on this unfortunate period of Zimbabwean history as there is an unacknowledged trauma which people cant move on from something they cant talk about.

The story unfolds though one unreliable character who makes it possible for us to be a part of His story while being apart from the history yet witnessing the making of hi-story as the main character likes to call history.

And perhaps that just what history is the stories we tell about our past, real and imagined recollections of how things became the way they are ….

Review of House of Stone on BecomingTheMuse.net

Guest post on black history month and African literature by Beaton aka Uncle who writes about the beauty and chaos of the place he calls home on Becoming The Muse

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Please feel free to follow his blog and indulge in his musings.

Cheers.

Posted in Black History Month, Book Reviews 📖

BOOK REVIEW: At What Age Does My Body Belong To Me? Amanda Tayte-Tait.

Hiya!

Always a pleasure having you on here to read a few of my random thoughts and book recommendations to you.

This review has been a long time coming because I had the chance to read a pre-release copy from the author and to be honest, her words dug so deep that I found it hard to even try and regurgitate them to settle down on a review.

Amanda Tayte is a Zimbabwean author, blogger, TV Producer and tech-preneur who is dedicated to using media and tech to change lives. This is excitingly her first book release and I honestly can’t wait to read more of her. You can definitely follow her site on amandataytetait.com to see her other releases when they finally come out.   

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‘The true focus of revolutionary change is never merely the oppressive situations which we seek to escape, but that piece of the oppressor which is planted deep withing each of us, and which knows only the oppressor’s tactics and the oppressor’s relationships.’

Audrey Lorde.

Amanda quotes this in her first chapter, after her failed attempt at suicide.

Amanda was a victim of sexual and gender-based violence and throughout her book, she puts out hard questions to her family, society and relationships which expose the core and deep-rooted stereotypes that still surround sexual violence and the victims.

I can’t even begin to say that I comprehend what the victims go through because it is easy to be in the observer’s shoes and look from afar, directing what should and should not be done for their healing to suffice. It’s so easy to be quick to say that there is need to cover it up to protect the reputation of the oppressor and give no real justice to the victim. It’s easy to expect the victim to move past it after a few prayer sessions and visits to therapy.

But one thing that Amanda’s book has made visible is that the trauma never really leaves. Years down the road, therapy sessions and counselling efforts, the trauma never really leaves and different sights, smells, settings and even conversations, can trigger the victims.

Her courage in speaking out and just laying bare her struggles and experiences was extraordinary. Not even I would have the strength to re-live the moments of oppression as I scribbled down words to have my story heard. But she did it anyway.

I remember after reading the first 4 chapters of the book, I texted her and just had a strong desire to give her a big hug and to let her know that she will not have to go through this alone, again.

The sole essence for her book is to encourage victims to speak out and have others hold their hands. For so long, the silence around this sort of violations has protected numerous oppressors and diverted the attention of society to looking at the victim’s role in causing her molestation, which is absurd.

Victim-blaming has to stop because at the end of the day, we all have a choice to make and choosing to molest the body of another because of the lack of self-control or entitlement that one feels, is not justifiable AT ALL!

As I said before, it is not my place to re-tell Amanda’s story but to let you know, my dear reader, that this is a book you definitely do not want to pass you by this year. You can literally see, feel and experience her pain through her words and we need to have these tough conversations regarding such violations and what we can do as a community to protect the mental, physical, emotional and psychological health of these victims.

Please do head to her site and get yourself a copy of the book on amazon.

Let’s support an African author and her story.

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PS: Resolute scribbles made 5 years last week! It has been an incredible 5 years of having to get out of my head and share a few intentional perks on life in general and I’ve loved every second of it.  

In light of black history month that is celebrated this month between 1st February-1st March, I’ll be hosting a number of amazing bloggers to give reviews on different African literature that they have read and enjoyed over time and this is to just celebrate black authors and the beauty of our African history and nature.

Can’t wait to have this place buzzing.  

Cheers and thank you for passing by.