WORKS FROM GIRD WRITING CAMP 2016: “PLEASE DO TELL THEM” BY MWAMBA JAGEDO

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We are back from a brief hiatus with more works from Gird Writing Camp 2017. This week, we present a poem from Mwamba Jagedo who was at the poetry workshop facilitated by Prof. Kofi Anyidoho and Nana Nyarko Boateng. And now:

Please Do Tell Them
By Mwamba Jagedo

Tell those who wished my downfall
that I have awoken from yesterday’s slumber
that their devilish thoughts
couldn’t consume my hunch flesh
I am still standing

Yes, tell them
Those who vilified me in long sleeps
And sold me cheaply in towns
When the day hasn’t dawned for a chicken crow
That they have done well
For out of Egypt, came Joseph

Though the path I walk on is shaky
And silently do I doubt greatness a bit
But I have found solace in the Lord
He whom I put my faith in

Ancient as Abraham
Warrior and fearless as the Zulu
He will be my comforter
And lead me through these destructive trials

They may be populous
my foes may be countess as sand
like an army wanting to claw my bones
and smear shame on my blackness
but do tell them
that their backbiting won’t keep me from fighting
Do tell them
their backlash won’t stop me from forging forward
They are not my God
and they simply cannot wipe me off.
Please do tell them.

James.jpgAbout Mwamba Jagedo:

James Robert Myers writes under the penname Mwamba Jagedo which means “Builder’s Rock” in Swahili and Luo languages respectively. He is an Amazon author of two global anthologies, trained software engineer and founder of MwambaJagedo.com; which is a Tech StartUp. He believes in his nation that has failed to appreciate talents like him.

Works From Gird Writing Camp 2016: “A Fool’s Paradise Grows” By Rita Siaw

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We hope you’ve been enjoying the pieces from participants of Gird Writing Camp 2016. Today, we have a poem from Rita Siaw. Rita Siaw was in the Poetry Workshop lead by Prof. Kofi Anyidoho and Nana Nyarko Boateng. And now, to her poem:

A fool’s paradise grows

She swings around her emotions like wild fire
catching every cold stick that needs a skin’s warmth
her dance pleases every eye, even when the music fades
She is golden only when the liar desires her touch

In her eyes, life is butterfly and flowers
her physical appearance is the primacy of her life
She wears an infinite gear of seduction
Her beauty is but a passbook to her stomach

Her joy depends on the cookers of lies
A pool of parasites she embraces as her guides
When will her sleep wash off to behold the true nature of her lover?
Her future withers even before she limps into it
Wake her now if you can!

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Rita Siaw

Rita Siaw is the assistant head teacher, curriculum leader and guidance and counseling coordinator at Likpe Nkwanta M/A Basic School. Her NGO, Feminine Star Africa, educates girls and empowers women to promote change and development. She is a part time radio show host who talks about issues concerning youth development. It is her dream to build a center which helps empower women, fight for their rights, prevent teenage pregnancy and shelter abused women and children to heal from trauma and live meaningful lives. As a writer and public speaker, Rita hopes to help raise a generation of thinkers and problem solvers through her books, seminars and trainings in schools and communities.

 

 

#GETBACKOURGIRLS not #BRINGBACKOURGIRLS cos they won’t

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I wonder what people did 50 years ago, when people got missing. I wonder what we can do now to #GETBACKOURGIRLS.

I think social media has made us delusional, detached and self-conceited without us meaning to be any of that.

We say Boko Haram should #BRINGBACKOURGIRLS, but will they? 

Don’t we need to go #GETBACKOURGIRLS from wherever they may be, in whatever state they may be in?

Are our political leaders only interested in wars that bring money?  Cos this is over two hundred wars in one. Each one of the girls is worth our time, our money, our blood.

Are our soldiers only interested in revolutions that will bring them political power? Cos this is over two hundred injustices in one. Each one of the girls is worth our armies, our money, our blood.

I wonder what people did 200 years ago, when people got missing. I wonder if they would have imagined the pain and torture these little girls are suffering and maybe get on their feet and pour libations to the gods before they matched to the village chief and demanded that they #GETBACKOURGIRLS.

I wonder if they would have tied their heads and arms and necks with red cloth because Boko Haram has taken our blood and we have to show Boko Haram, that we will get back our blood  to where they belong, with us.

I wonder if we could get up from behind our computers  and ipads and phones and actually think about our precious girls and their families for a minute so we can decide that it is us who need to go #GETBACKOURGIRLS.

 

Writer: Nana Nyarko Boateng 

 

“You Ambushed Me” — Prof. Kofi Awoonor

ImageI am slow at swallowing any news whole.  It gets even more complex when I face bad news; I think “oh my god no!” and then I think, “maybe there was a mistake, It can’t be, how can it be?” I stay in denial for as long as I can.  And then, there is always a day that knows how to slap better than the rest of the days.  I am waiting for that day, and maybe I will accept wholly that Prof. Awoonor is dead, gone, and his flesh means nothing at all anymore.

And if we tried to, we can only hear his laughter from our memory, see his smile in photographs, visit him in books held close to our chests.  His flesh means nothing at all anymore.

“You ambushed me!” he said pointing at me.

I smiled and he smiled back, seemingly impressed by my mischief. That wasn’t the day I begun to like Prof, I liked him a long long time before then.  When he told me, ‘I ambushed him’ he was not some distant poet, whose piece I had to study to pass my finals in secondary school anymore, he was my teacher.

Prof sat in the middle of the front space in the creative writing class at the University of Ghana and asked us questions, told us stories, tickled our imaginations and laughed at and with us.

The day he said “I ambushed him” was really two days after the day “I had ambushed him.” He had given us an assignment; it was to be submitted at anytime before 2pm, two days before class. I was late, an hour long late.

“Please,” I said.

“No, I already sent away others who were earlier than you.”

“I’m sorry Prof.”

“No.”

All this while, I had one foot in his office and the other outside the door.

“Come in or go out,” he said, “I will not take your work.”

I went out with my very first attempt at short story writing. I would find out later on, that it was a really horribly written short story  but then, all I knew was that I had written a story and I wanted my teacher to read it.

I bought a brown envelope and put my script in it.  Then with my black pen I wrote at the back on the envelope, boldly and largely: “Prof. Kofi Awoonor, English Department, University of Ghana, Legon.” I left the envelope in his pigeon hole at the department’s main office.

“You ambushed me!”

I thought he would throw me out of his class. I had disobeyed him and ‘ambushed’ him and yet, I had the nerve to only smile at him without words.  And he just smiled back at me and went on with his class.

He told us that the problem with my generation is that we don’t know the names of things; we don’t bother to learn them.  Every tree is just a tree to us and when we write we can’t be specific enough, detailed enough, because, we never bothered to notice the details.

Prof Awoonor was a warm and honest teacher; he threw a party for his students at the end of every semester, he did! He always brought one giant bottle of red wine. He knew how to laugh and make others laugh. From his students he demanded imagination, freshness and fearlessness.

You ambushed me Prof!  I imagined, you would be there, when I finally gather courage to publish a book with my name on it. I wanted to see your smile again.

You ambushed me Prof!

Smile at me and let me smile back, where ever you may be.

By: Nana Nyarko Boateng @girdcenter.org

Happy died with Birthday— mutilating words in the name of what?

 

ImageSeptember 11, is my birthday. Two days ago my facebook wall and phone inbox was filled with lovely messages from friends and acquaintances. I felt special. And, I also realized just how okay it had become to maim words.

 

“HBD,”  “Happy B’day,” and then someone wrote “LLNP.” It took me a while to figure that one out, ‘Long Life and Prosperity?’  Well thank you, but it could have also meant Let’s Learn New Phonemes, I don’t know, okay, maybe I am stretching it, but… I have fears that soon we are going to force essays into not so nicely packaged short forms and contractions.

 

It is ridiculous! We need words! Words are not just nothing! We can’t just maim them and move on with our lives like it doesn’t matter. It matters, at least to me.

 

Will it be okay to say ‘TY’ to you if you saved me from drowning or served me breakfast? “Hey, I could have died, TY,” or maybe ‘HICHDTY.’ Really? Someone please let me in on where we are going with this indiscriminate maiming of words?

 

You only have to say Happy Birthday to a person once a year and you can’t say it in full?

 

Good night has long been destroyed.  ‘GNSD?’ No! “Good night, sweet dreams,” that is what will be felt. ‘GNSD,’ why are you learning the alphabet in a weird order?

 

I don’t think people who use short forms necessarily can’t spell, but if you can’t spell, use a dictionary. For whatever other reason you use short forms, watch it before it messes up your spelling. 

 

As a Ghana-woman would say, “the long and short of the matter is,” I want my words whole and meaningful, am I asking for too much?

 

By: Nana Nyarko Boateng  www.girdcenter.org