Category Archives: Ladies and gentlemen

“The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn.” Gloria Steinem

If that makes sense…

Feel free to not make sense!
Feel free to not make sense.

Allow the sensation to speak into you…
Allow the sensation to speak into you.

Move and be moved beyond what is sensible…
Move and be moved beyond what is sensible.

Provoke these sanitized sensibilities…
Provoke these sanitized sensibilities.

If that makes sense…


Malleus Maleficarum

In 1487, Heinrich Kramer published the Malleus Maleficarum.
Latin for Hammer of witches and affectionately known as The Witch hunters bible
The middle age manuscript that outlined how to identify, interrogate and otherwise deal with “witches”
This book states that a witch is a woman who is in league with the devil.
The definitive writ on how to get rid of inconvenient women.

Float the witch, Tie her up, If she floats, she is in fact a witch. And should be executed. If she drowns she is not a witch.
The woman must die to maintain the powers that be or granted sainthood and retribution in the sweet release of death!
The woman who speaks of her abuse must be silenced
The woman who remains silent of her abuse must remain silent
Death is inevitable.

They fly out in the night to have relations with the devil and his hosts. You will know them by their marks.
The suspected witch must submit to an examination, in the presence of good and strange men.
She must be controlled, no one wants uninhibited wise women running loose and eating children,
She must not express sexuality fully because she or they can’t handle it.
The woman is a commodity.

Of the Method by which Devils through the Operations of Witches sometimes actually possess men.
Through the outer suggestion of sin either to the senses or to the imagination, men are ensnared.
Be careful men! Women are only out to carry you away to the evil one.
You must hold fast and not become a ship without a rudder.
Wait! What was she wearing?

Black Widow

2.08am, Somewhere in Nairobi… 


No sleep.
Dogs are barking.
Mosquitoes by my ear and forhead.
Candy crush.

In my peripheral the next title loads.
It is a foreign movie, subtitles et al.
I can’t play, and read at the same time.
I sit up.
‘Based on a short story, The Railway Aunty, by Mohan Sikka.’

A character.
A woman.
A mysterious woman.
She has everything I want.
She has nothing I want.
She is mysterious.

To know of mystery.
To know the use of it.
To be a way wanted.
To be a way quietly.
To have highest devotion.
To have deepest nakedness.

If I were a story.
If I were a poem.
How is it I am written.
How is it I am said.
Am I a book well translated to the screen.
Am I a movie that is a small slice of the book not well cut.

Its my last life.
If I complete this level.
An hour of Infinite lives await.
Studies say that screen time at night keeps you awake.
Light emissions cause sleep deprivation.

Screens off.

Nana Baa, Mawusi*

 She occupies the white stool,

An appreciation of the dirges she sang for them,

Her voice, the lullaby in an inevitable slumber,


who set me

on the way of songs.

He penned many a song,

Lived many a life,

Learnt many a lesson at the feet of


who set me

on the way of songs

The voices of Ewe rest for a time,

Humming in slow unison,

Swaying in sincere remembrance for a child of


who set me

on the way of songs

A melodious affair,

Painful only for its abrupt end,

Joyful only for the reverberations of one


who set me

on the way of songs

A sigh on lips and catching of breath

Tell a true lesson of life,

*In our beginnings lies our journey’s end.

So says a son of Afedomesi;

who set me

on the way of songs.


the Doppelganger

Nana Baa, Mawusi: Grandmother, In God’s hands

Italicized: Dedication to His Grandmother, Afedomesi in Night of my blood

A day in the life…

Every morning, OK most mornings, I jump out of bed and run to the shower. Why? Because on some mornings, OK most mornings, I wake up good while after my alarm clock goes off. I shower performing whatever song seems to meet my mood at the time. I am currently in a Jill Scott phase. It’s one of those bright sunny mornings; I’ll be performing the song ‘Golden’. Yes, I don’t sing in the shower… I perform. (Pause for dramatic effect!)

Today is not one of the days I fall into a pile of clothes and head out. Today I take my time; I choose what I will wear. Why? I have a date with my man. Queue Jill Scott’s He loves me. My head held high, smiling, twirling. My sisters give me the final touches and Mum approves.

Stepping out of the house, I am thrown back into reality. My face is serious; the sunglasses not just for the sun but to hide my face. I walk quickly. Head down, pretending to be on the phone. That way, the guys always hanging out at the car wash won’t take it personal when I whizz past them ignoring the cat calls. Finally at the stage I find an empty matatu, so I wait for a few people to go in before I do. All the while I am animatedly talking to my pretend workmate explaining some “technical details to a new system at the office”. Safety First! I climb in next to a matronly middle aged woman. She is not small because she fills her seat and spills over a bit into mine. Squeezing me…  At ease, I end “the call”. Plug in my earphones to Sade’s Sweetest Taboo. I am an old soul and the playlist suited to my date goes on.

Somewhere near Makadara, She steps out and in comes a man. I thought his eyes went straight for my dress barely a few inches above my knees. I must be paranoid. He makes himself comfortable. Once he is I move my phone into the inner pocket of my bag, zip up the bag, fish out a novel and finally place the bag between us so no part of our bodies touch. I have a thing about personal space and strangers.

Finally, I meet my man and proceed to have a beautiful afternoon. The type of example that you will use to teach your daughter, how to know when a man really does love you! He likes my dress. I feel at ease, without a care. Safe! As a woman, I don’t have to tell you what it means when you feel safe in the presence of that special man.

He walked me, my hand in his, to the stage. It is dark already though not too late. I hate sitting at the back of the back of the bus. It’s usually better to sit next to the driver and a healthy number of women in there too. I hug him goodbye. I will text him as soon as I am home. Home safe. Once in the bus I wave goodbye… Then hope I don’t end up with ‘the drunk’, or ‘the pretend drunk’. Both are notorious for not knowing or ignoring the seat divider. Both lean on you and forget where their hands should be. The last thing you want is a long drive home with someone who keeps ‘accidentally’ touching or leaning towards you. I get the chatty woman and her friend. A welcome relief.

To pass the time I log on to Facebook. And it’s the same story all over. A woman, like me. At a stage, like mine. Wearing an outfit, not as revealing like mine. It’s one of those distasteful internet pranks. By the morning, There will be a few raves about how making such prank videos are wrong and plain disgusting and that will be that. Life goes on. I get home using a different route than the one I used yesterday. Safety first. I walk quickly head down towards the well lit area. With a sigh of relief,  I am home. Safe. I text… ‘Home safe, handsome… You?’

My sister is not in her usual high spirits. Mum is just shaking her head. It is true. A woman was stripped by a crowd of men. A woman, like me. At a stage, like mine. Wearing an outfit, not as revealing like mine.

The next morning, I want to wear a dress. But I think no. What if they pick me today? What if, today, no matter what I wear, a random man will accost me and start to tear off my clothes? Because I didn’t have enough fare? Because I didn’t respond to his cat calls? Because I demand for my change? Because he is bored? What if they steal all my belongings? Touch my breasts? Part my legs and make a mockery of my sex? Where will I hide? My face all over the internet! My shame bared open for the world to see? Men and women behind their pads, phones and laptop screens debating whether or not I deserved it? Debating what I did wrong to cause them to do this to me? To make joke memes from hash tags for justice? I feel sick! Angry! Afraid! No not me, not in my presence! I pull on my jeans, running shoes, a comfortable top, a simple handbag and inside the handbag… a sharp serrated knife. No not me, not in my presence, Not without a fight!


24 hours

It is a sunny, picturesque weekday afternoon,

The music in the air is that of the printer and ringing phones,

On the notification bar of her phone,

A simple sentence in the Subject, Verb, Object structure,

Complete with an exclamation mark, indicative of strong feeling,

“I love you!”

She is supposed to be working but she cannot? Will not?

The night is like that of the Starry night,

A night for shapes to embrace each other on a high balcony,

To see herself as one of those shapes,

As beautiful as the mythological exaggerations of a goddess,

Fitting like a jigsaw piece into the crook of his arm,

Pacified in regal repose…

She adjusts her coat and walks on towards home.

The morning comes dull and drizzling,

The house is clean, the food waiting, her dress his favorite color,

Transfixed by the sound of tires on the gravel outside,

It is there he will get a reply to his text message,

There, as she watches his shape walking towards the door,

Will she see the embers alight in the ashes of longing…?

Which by definition; is a persistent, often wistful or melancholy desire!

Black Widow

“Femme Noire” de Léopold Sédar Senghor / “Black Woman” by Léopold Sédar Senghor

A beautiful read…

African Heritage

Léopold Sédar Senghor Léopold Sédar Senghor

I would like to share with you this poem of the late president of Senegal, Léopold Sédar Senghor.  This poem is an ode to the Black woman, but above all, to Senegal his country.  Yes… after reading it several times, one realizes that Senghor was writing an ode to the Black woman, his mother, his sister, his daughter, but above all to Senegal which could be loved just like a woman, and whose “beauty stroke him to the heart like the flash of an eagle”, and whose “Savannah stretch[ed] to clear horizons, savannah shuddering beneath the East Wind’s eager caresses.” This poem was published in ‘Chants d’Ombre’ (1945).  As you read Senghor’s poem, do you see other meanings? who do you think was the intended audience? Do you feel, like me, that he is praising Senegal, the land of his ancestors? or is he talking about…

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They Say/ I am


They Say/I Am is a play intertwined with monologues of poetry exploring the stereotypes of women with the intention of shattering them, revealing stereotypes as the fallacies they are. With the shorter version featured at Festival CulturElles at Alliance Francais on Women’s Day 2014, this full length exploration is bound to entertain. Conceived and directed by Mwende Ngao and written by Anne Moraa, the play toys with the perception of various women and hopes to encourage the audience to rethink how they view thewomen in their own lives.
The Cast and Crew of They Say/I Am

Mwende Ngao

Mwende Ngao is a filmmaker, blogger and poet. She is also the founder of Kike Tele. She believes in the power of art to spark conversations and create change.


Rein is a student and a videographer. She is also a poet and is the 45th slam poetry queen.

Brenda Wambui

Brenda Wambui is a writer and entrepreneur interested in women empowerment, digital media and entrepreneurship. She is the co-founder of the award winning journal Brainstorm.

Amara Poeta

Julie Amara Poeta is a Daughter, friend, sister, blogger and poet who works for an international Handset Manufacturer. A part of Hisia Zangu Poetry family, her mantra is not to waste the God-given sunshine.

Namatsi Lukoye

Namatsi Lukoye is a spoken word poet, published writer and founder of Hisia Zangu society and The Kenyan Street Poetry. She is also a Public Relations Officer for Cerebral Palsy Kenya.

Marley Nyokabi

Marley is a poet, writer and an artist with a keen interest in film and social consciousness.

Anne Moraa

Anne is a writer/editor and a graduate of the Creative Writing (Msc) at the University of Edinburgh, Anne Moraa has had her writing (fiction, non-fiction and poetry) published in And Other Stories, Brainstorm, Badilisha Poetry and others. A founding member and editor at, she is as ever fascinated by women.

The play is on Friday 10th October 6pm-9pm at the Michael Joseph Center.


The joy of my life can be wrapped up in 3 names… ok 4 in a few months

Joshua, Lucy, Linda and my latest surprise.

Yes, it is motherhood has filled my life,

Validated me among the mocking sideways glances,

Where I am considered little more than a maid, little less than a person!

Being a mother has meant life itself to me,

And so while I sat nursing Linda at the east balcony,

Contemplating throwing her small body off the side,

Thinking how quick and painless it would be,

How her small body would give up quickly and the constant crying and fidgeting would stop.

I called my sister up to give her a bath,

And I did not touch her for another 3 months.

When I did, I remembered that I was a mother,

I am a mother.

I am her mother.

My husband, of course didn’t notice,

As far as he is concerned he is concerned,

I know nothing of a rent controlled house on Thika road,

Whose occupant has an unsavory taste for cheap roadside lip gloss…

And weaves that are 100% human hair on the pack but 100% riveroad chuom on the inside!

His little whores are welcome distractions,

His new money has directed old tempers towards them,

And gives me more time without a black eye, without a sleepless night,

Without creeping around the house at night for some brandy to calm my nerves…

I no longer have to make up stories for the children so they never really know their father!

Of course he can’t be bothered to take a deeper interest in me,

For so long as a delicious supper is ready by 8pm,

Family time during the 9pm news

An all too revealing piece of lingerie is on by 10pm,

He won’t find out about my farm and my desire to be someone.

I envy the women out there,

Their ignorance shelters them from the reality of being the ‘Typical African Housewife’,

It’s not all kitchens, kids, chamas and hubbies,

It’s not all contented smiles and smiling family photos.

Sometimes it’s dying a little everyday so that everyone else can live a little every day…

My will is fueled only by the purity of the love I have for my family,

My children see me worthy, and within the confines of my home,

I am the law. I am a colossus. And that is not a democracy.

My husband is the envy of his friends and partners,

Why? Because of me!

My children are behaved and well rounded,

Why? Because of me!

My home is the kind of place you come to find solace.

Why? Because of me!

And they have a wealth of life and love.

Why? Because of me!



Power is a misunderstood phenomenon,
Whose face rarely belongs to the one who weilds it,
She is the buxom temptress,
In whose harem abides intoxicating pleasures,
And her doors are governed by the eunuch.

The Eunuch moves unseen with the ear of the ruler,
His slight nod sets the day in motion;
It is his furrowed brow that wakes the kings compassion,
His nonchalant shrug that stays the next appointment,
His unassuming demeanor, that makes him privy to the secrets of the state.

In the silent times,
When sounds of merrymaking,
Come over the heavy ornamented doors,
Power retreats to her chambers,
And entrusts the key to the eunuch.

Black Widow