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African Writing Archives


    Lola Shoneyin
Lola Shoneyin

  Nick Tembo
Nick Tembo


Today, my mother woke up
With dew on her bony cheeks
And emptied her heart out,
‘why did it have to be you?’ she asks.

  Arja Salafranca
Arja Salafranca
I’d rather hear hate loud and clear,
And feel its bite, and go from here
In honesty and painful understanding.

African Writing is not all about writing. Sometimes, beyond the picture and the words, the poem is best conveyed in voice. We are also happy to receive your audio submissions alongside your text for our online editions. Please send (wav/ogg/aiff/wma/mp3) files to the  editor.

    Mohamed Abd-Alhai
Mohamed Abd-Alhai

I am one of you; your wound is mine;
Your bow is my weapon;
A pagan, worshiping his homeland
And a blind mystic, exalting his vision
And the divine fires of God.
So, open up, custodians of Sinnar,
Open the gate of primal blood,
Let the ancient tongue celebrate its roots,
Where the crystals of presence are but a blue flare
In the waters;
Where flocks of birds
Emanate out the body of fire,
To chant on the crowns on foreheads.
So, unlock, custodians of Sinnar,
Unlock for the returnee, tonight, the gates of the city,
Unlock, the gates of the city, tonight
Unlock the gates of the city, tonight…

  Richard Ugbede Ali
Richard Ugbede Ali
If you gathered all my heartbeats
within your guord
It would not thunder as waves but
simply sound a word
Hadeeza - it would sound your
name, Hadeeza


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I have just finished reading Mukoma wa Ngugi’s Nairobi Heat and I am a convert and not ashamed to yell it on the mountains. Zukiswa
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