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These poems by Issa Shivji, lawyer, activist and Tanzanian public intellectual, were written at different times in different circumstances. They give vent to personal anguish and political anger. Mostly originally written in Kiswahili, here accompanied by English translations, and they are intensely personal and political.
Poems are clustered under several headings to provide a context. The first combines personal agony at the loss of comrades and friends with poems about love and affection for living ones. The second is about robberies of freedom, resources, and dignity and the loss of justice under neoliberalism. The third section, entitled Hopes and Fears, comprises short poems tweeted over the last five years expressing despair, fear and hope in the human capacity for freedom.
The last section are poems, concerned with Shivji’s period in South Africa in 2018, reflect on the emergence of neo-apartheid with its wanton and shameless exploitation of the majority.
Wonderfully translated by Ida Hadjivayanis.
You can read the entire book online here for free.
Every couple of years, an inspired group of people, led by the editors of AwaaZ Magazine (www.awazmagazine.com), organise a festival in Nairobi, Kenya, that goes by the name ‘SAMOSA’—South Asian Mosaic of Society and the Arts— bringing together different communities through art, music, dance, film and discussions. In 2016, during the 7th biennial event, included was a colloquium organised in collaboration with the Department of Literature of the University of Nairobi. This unique collection of essays considers the issues of citizenship, identity and belonging in Kenya through an examination of literature, film, music, and theatre, providing reflections on women, statelessness and refugees.
A pleasant quick read on a complex subject of citizenship, identity and belonging. Ignites an interest in these issues as expounded in the arts and film. —Dr George Gona, Senior Lecturer, Department of History and Archaeology, University of Nairobi.
This excellent compilation of papers by leading Kenyan academics, writers, public intellectuals and practitioners of various forms of art focuses on issues of citizenship, identity and belonging in literature, film, music and theatre. They cover a vast range of subjects that tell the story of Kenya’s past and present. —Ramnik Shah- Kenyan ex-lawyer who writes on migration and diaspora related subjects.