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African Poetry with editor Vera Ignatowitsch

She Bade Me to Write


I have written this five times

And I have torn up it five times

Thinking of how best to paint the picture

Of you, indelible on my mind

It seems surreal

Like I am in a dream

A dream too pure, too true to be true

And I wish it lasts as long as the Earth rotates.

Though we are both cast in different places,

I still see your face in the horizon

My thoughts refuse to evade me

And the memories of sleepless nights,

Cheerful talks, and emotional discourse

All cling to me like a clingy butterfly.

On nights that I seek advice,

You turned out to be an irreplaceable counselor.

On occasions that my mood fell

You stood by me

Like a stake would support growing yam tendrils.

Even if the distance stretches twice its normal stretch

This loyalty will continue to blossom

Like flowers in the garden of Eden.

I have combed the whole country

In search of the most beautiful adjectives

To qualify your personality, behavior, habit,

Thoughts, and idiosyncrasies

But even superlatives seem to be a degradation

Of your personality.

You are special.

You are regal.

You are irreplaceable.

Do not change.



The Hot Chase


Through the forest bolts a tiger.

On its trail is the village barber.

What offence has this beast committed?

For how long will the chaser be offended?

By the tiger’s theft of his old clipper.



Nurudeen Ibrahim is African. He was born in Ogun State, Nigeria, and he is a law student at the University of Lagos, Nigeria.

Great Divide


Night comes like a child at birth,

we hear its swooping cries,

we see its toothless mouth lay bare like a starless sky,

we brave ourselves and we raise a pair of scissors to its placenta

to separate Night from Time itself.

And when Night becomes a mother herself,

we raise our pairs of scissors once again to the placenta of her child,

We separate Day from Night.



Aideloje Joshua is an African poet and short story writer. He mostly writes poems about his life experiences. He lives in Nigeria and has great passion for writing.



stars in their sockets shift

no bird’s singsong still

and distressed stone terrace winds

fanning downward and upward


after that heated noon

the rains bathe the sky

and the sky smiles

in appreciation


a rainbow

is born



Obinna Chilekezi is an insurance practitioner trained as a librarian and journalist. He has had a book published. His poems have been published in anthologies such as New Nigerian Voice and Young West African Poetry. He won the African Insurance Organisation Book Award in 2016.

Dead Fishes Which Don’t Swim


This thought that spins my head

I cannot lie to sleep

I laid bare my fleet of grievances

Before the cook

Wondering why she serves me soup

Of dead fishes which don’t swim

Isn’t my toil hard enough

To feed me living fishes?


She kept mute to my plea

And paid no heed

Maybe I’m mad, she thinks.

She considers my cry nonsense

But she should know sense

That serving dead fishes which don't swim

Is nothing but silver cloud

Pouring scorn.


I can never be mute

Until she quits this habit

And if you think I’m mad

Then you are the cook

Who serves me dead fishes

Which don’t swim.



Francis Ocran is an enthusiastic poet from Accra, Ghana. He has written several poems, with some published in international literary magazines. His works can be found on his personal website

Un-Rape Me Uncle


He came to me, a wolf in sheep’s clothing,

Devalued me, deflowered me, took away my royal linen,

Exposed me to the world, unkempt and forsaken,

A rose trampled upon, a rising star gradually forgotten.


He turned my days to gloomy nights,

Filled me with pain, anguish, terror and fright,

He formed an illusion — a world of sorrow and spite,

He veiled my face and at the end of the tunnel I saw no light.


He made my mesmerizingly glowing sun grow dim,

Filled my life with sorrow and pain to its brim,

He thwarted and counteracted my plans and dream,

He took away my rainbow, overgrazed on my field, a stagnant


He raped me psychologically, socially and made me void,

He abandoned me on a gradually sinking Island,

Made me an alien, I could speak but the world couldn’t interpret

     even a word,

How I wish I could find a translator . . . a helping hand.



Stephen Alayo is Nigerian and 16 years old. He grew up in Ibadan, Nigeria, then moved to Lagos, Nigeria, for his studies.

Sapitwa Unlocked


As I read the legend of Muhavani

kept for centuries to enhance the wise word

in my generation of no writings

I am challenged to stand up and embrace the cord

waiting to swing to all corners.


I find myself a home across the peak

which makes me wise, strong, awake, and frank

the way it meanders, makes me see a golden destiny,

a dozen roses ahead, as beautiful as a prank,

getting closer and closer, they embrace me tight.


All along I never knew the peak was a masterpiece

beyond my mistaken search of distracting sighs

I found an endless adventure

on a soft and smooth pasture like my head on thighs

I left my nightmares in a widened day.


It is unbelievable how we bonded,

as millions seek the legend and never return.

I felt welcomed with open arms

the first in history to earn its grace

to be treated royally — finally.


Awakening me from decades of nightmares

Sapitwa broke my fasting with a warm dish,

a feeling of prolonged luxury.

I was unleashed from the ditch

ooh! — sweet Sapitwa stay with me.



Symon Maguru is a young poet and a journalist by profession based in a South East African country called Malawi.
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