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- USD $ 20.00
Truth be told, I never thought I would write another volume of poetry after the last, I will not Dance to Your Beat (2011). The reason was that my previous volumes were reactive to the circumstances of the times. Patriots and Cockroaches (1992) was a reaction to the socio-political corruption that had engulfed Africa and dimmed the enthusiasm that had been built by the years of struggle for independence. Whereas we thought we were stepping into a post-colonial era, what we stepped into was a vicious neo-colonial times. The next collection, Poems on the Run (1995) was a reaction to military autocracy and the repression that followed. The volume was literally written underground. This was followed by Intercepted (1998) all written while detained at Kalakuta Republic of Alagbon Close. We Thought it was Oil But it was Blood (2002) responded to two things primarily – extractivism and the accompanying human and environmental rights abuses in the Niger Delta and elsewhere. The massive erosion of biodiversity and attacks on food sovereignty through the introduction of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) into our agricultural system inspired I Will not Dance to your Beat.
What you have in your hands, or on your screens, is a compilation that is largely more meditative than the previous collections. There are moments of reflection on the colonial and neoliberal foundations that permit a willful disconnection from nature and the resultant destructive extractivism.
Some of the poems came through conversations and poetry writing sessions with Peter Molnar, Maryam al-Khawaja — Rafto Human Rights laureates and Salil Tripathi, a member of the board of PEN International, in August 2017. The sessions held at a beautifully rustic location in Celleno, Italy, were documented on celluloid by the duo of Maria Galliana Dyrvik and Anita Jonsterhaug Vedå of SMAU, a multimedia firm in Norway. Poetic relationship with Maria and Anita has continued over the years and their work continues to inspire more and more poems.
We have also had time to ponder on the criminalization of environmental defenders and the burdening of victims with survival struggles with no life boughs. The poems were written over a wide span of time and require some pondering as poems often demand, of course. Although written over a broad time spectrum, they fall into identifiable themes. The harsh times that birthed the earlier volumes were blunted with doses of humour as poetry is largely therapeutic and contributes to our wellness and well-being.
In our communities, poetry and song are key tools for exposure of ills in our societies, for education and for rebuke. Poetry is an indispensable cultural tool with which we laugh at the wicked and add the needed bounce to our steps as we march on to end ecocide and give our people and other beings a chance to retain our being.
The call of this volume is that we must ensure that we see the invisible and hear the inaudible.
Mother Earth our Teacher
Scarified and sacrificed
The Womb of the Earth
Choked by Convenience
I’m Not Afraid
I come from the future
Recent Ancients Foretold
The Other Side
I like those bridges
There is beauty
I Have Been in Motion
Bumping into the Wind
Rainbows on the Sea
Stilts and Wiggles
The Stump I So Loved
Beads of Inspiration
Seducing the Bees
The lands we fight to own
Tenants of Furious Times
I see the invisible
Portals of Greed
Cast a Vote
This hate does not define us
We Planted a Flag
Welcome to the age of paradox
By Me We Spoke
After Oil We Flourish (The Niger Delta isn’t a ticking ecological time bomb)
A Dirge for Fossil Capitalism
Return to Being
Riding the Waves of Time
When You Clock 6 and 2
Rainbows Through the Tears
Climate Debt Long Overdue
Poetry in the time of pandemic
We must breathe again
Net Zero Comes to Zero
Dreadful Liars On Heartless Shores
We are Seeds
We can plant a seed
In the Shadows of the Future (For Jay Naidoo & Stephen Pittam)
What is in that Barrel?
No More Sins to Confess
Pavements of Shame
Dawn in Celleno
Lago di Bolsena
No vantage points
I Catch Myself
Holding my Peace
Traps Sold on Lies
If the Sun Slept
Written during the seventy-fifth anniversary celebrations of the publication of Frantz Fanon’s Peau noir, masques blancs (“Black Skin, White Masks”), “Not Bad for a N—, No?” offers reflections on the circumstances of the publication of this classic work with Fanon’s insights on what he called the attempted “murder of man” and the urgent need for humanity to become “actional.”
Écrit lors des célébrations du soixante-quinzième anniversaire de la publication de Frantz Fanon de Peau noir masques blancs, «Pas mal pour un N—, n’est-ce pas? » offre des réflexions sur les circonstances de la publication de cette œuvre classique avec les idées de Fanon sur ce qu’il a appelé la tentative de «meurtre de l’homme» et le besoin urgent que l’humanité devienne «actionnelle».
Sphères politiques et contrôle étatique : Les structures politiques de l’état néocolonial en AfriqueUSD $ 10.00
Il s’agit d’une brève tentative d’orienter l’étude de l’État néocolonial en Afrique à travers une évaluation de la manière dont il gouverne son peuple. On soutient que l’État produit différents modes de contrôle étatique en déployant différentes politiques sur différentes parties de la population. De cette manière, il peut combiner une règle véritablement démocratique à l’image de l’Occident sur certains tout en soumettant la majorité à des formes coloniales de domination. Les subjectivités politiques importées de l’Occident et son obsession du discours sur les droits de l’homme sont largement réservées à une sphère de la société civile dans laquelle le droit d’avoir des droits est conféré aux citoyens. Dans les domaines de la société incivile et de la société « traditionnelle », le droit aux droits n’est pas respecté par l’État, de sorte que différentes subjectivités, y compris régulièrement la violence, régissent la manière dont les problèmes politiques et leurs solutions sont abordés à la fois par l’État et par le peuple. En conséquence, des subjectivités politiques distinctes prévalent dans la conceptualisation de la résistance populaire dans chacun des trois domaines, et il devient difficile de rallier des préoccupations et des conceptions aussi différentes au sein d’une lutte anticoloniale nationale.
“Une dissection concise, dense et éclairante des rouages de l’État africain post-indépendance qui trace également une voie vers l’imagination et le travail pour une véritable politique de libération.” — Ndongo Samba Sylla, chercheur principal, Fondation Rosa Luxembourg.
- USD $ 10.00
“A concise, dense and illuminating dissection of the workings of the post-independence African state that also charts a path towards imagining and working for a true politics of liberation.” — Ndongo Samba Sylla, Senior Researcher, Rosa Luxemburg Foundation.This is a brief attempt to orient the study of the neocolonial state in Africa through an assessment of the manner in which it rules its people. It is argued that the state produces different modes of rule by deploying different politics over different parts of the population. In this manner, it can combine a genuinely democratic rule in the image of the West over some while subjecting the majority to colonial forms of domination. Imported political subjectivities from the West and its obsession with human rights discourse are reserved largely for a sphere of civil society in which the right to have rights is conferred upon citizens. In the domains of uncivil society and ‘traditional’ society, the right to rights is not observed by the state so different subjectivities, regularly including violence, govern the manner political problems and solutions are addressed both by the state and by people. In consequence, distinct political subjectivities prevail in the conceptualization of popular resistance in all three domains, and it becomes difficult to rally such different concerns and conceptions within an overall anti-neocolonial struggle.∴
Postcolonial critique deconstructs global inequality in its epistemic and material dimensions. This collective comic project illuminates everyday life’s coloniality as well as the decolonising potential of everyday struggles in the spaces, discourses and practices of so-called ‘global development’.
Settler Colonialism examines the genesis in the USA of the first full-fledged settler state in the world, which went beyond its predecessors in 1492. The text originates from Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz (2021) “Not A Nation of Immigrants: Settler Colonialism, White Supremacy, and a History of Erasure and Exclusion.
History is written by the victors of any war. But what happens when the victors forget to write down their history or omit the cog of the struggle? This is the untold story of Mathare Slum that has never been told to the world: of the role it played in anti-colonial struggle and the planning ground for the Mau Mau struggle which culminated with the fall of the British Colonial Empire in Kenya in the midnight of December 12th 1963. Mathare has also played a critical role in anti-oppression struggle against the four regimes that we’ve had since independence and continues to do so up to date. This history has not been documented and has only been done piecemeal. This has overtime eroded the rich history of Mathare and led to a distorted history of once a planning ground and a bulwark of Kenya Land and Freedom Army (KFLA). The current generation are not cognizant with the critical role Mathare played in the independence of our country.
Presently, Mathare is majorly known for all the negative reasons and its proximity to Mathari Mental Hospital has contorted its image to the outside world. My story tries to re-tell the history of Mathare from an informed insider perspective by threading the struggles from the colonial era to the present day and the role it has played in agitating for social justice.
My story brings to view the past history of this informal settlement in the heart of Nairobi, the present struggle and the promising future through community organizing.
- USD $ 27.00
Edited by Ronnie Kasrils with Muff Andersson and Oscar Marleyn.
First published by Jacana Media (Pty) Ltd in 2021, ISBN: 978-1-4314-3202-8, this Daraja Press edition is available in North America and East Africa
I thought I had a pretty good understanding of the global anti-apartheid movement until I read this extraordinary collection of essays. This book blew my mind!
—Robin D.G. Kelly
We hear for the first time from the international activists who worked secretly for the ANC’s armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe(MK), in the struggle to liberate South Africa from apartheid rule. They acted as couriers, provided safe houses in neighbouring states and within South Africa, helped infiltrate combatants across borders, and smuggled tonnes of weapons into the country in the most creative ways. Driven by a spirit of international solidarity, they were prepared to take huge risks and face great danger.
The current absence of any emancipatory vision for Africa lies at the heart of our political problems of racial capitalist and colonial oppression. Any attempt to rethink political emancipation on the African continent must be able to locate a universal conception of freedom within singular cultural experiences where people live. Irrespective of the specific manner in which such struggles for freedom were thought within different historical contexts, emancipatory politics always exhibited such a dialectic when it was based within popular traditions. Yet only some militant intellectual leaders understood the importance of this dialectic in thought.
The present volume outlines and discusses two particularly important views concerning the role and importance of popular culture in emancipatory politics in Africa. Each is the product of distinct forms of colonial capitalist exploitation: the former saw the light of day within a colonial context while the latter is directly confronted by the neocolonial state. All emancipatory politics are developed in confrontation with state power, and all begin with a process of discussion and debate whereby a collective subject begins to be formed. The formation of such a collective political subject has been fundamentally informed by popular cultures on the African continent.
The two authors whose essays are included here understood this and posit popular culture at the centre of their politics. The first, Amílcar Cabral, addresses the central role of popular culture in the independence struggle of Guinea Bissau in the 1970s; the second, Ernest Wamba-dia-Wamba, addresses the centrality of African popular culture in an emancipatory politics for the current Democratic Republic of Congo. Despite the distance in time that separates them, both Cabral and Wamba-dia-Wamba develop a dialectics at the core of their politics which activates the universals of culture in the present. It is this that makes their views of central importance to emancipatory thought today.
Nikesha Breeze has taken pages from Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, taken his words, and forced them to leave his colonized mind. She has made the words her own in poetic form. She illuminates the invisible Black voices inside, a radical, surgical, and unapologetic Black appropriation, at the same time as a careful birthing and spiritual road map. The resulting poems are sizzling purifications, violent restorations of integrity, pain, wound, bewilderment, rage, and, sometimes, luminous generosity.
The violent, scathing white supremacy of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is traversed page by page and word by word in this brilliant prayer/poem—a work of reclamation, redemption, rescue, and repossession. — Wende Marshall, co-editor Insurrectionary Uprisings: A Reader in Revolutionary Nonviolence and Decolonization