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African Poetry with editor Vera Ignatowitsch

I Am a Replica of Dad


When I accidentally broke

A neighbor’s glass window

While playing football

Dad, infuriated, insisted I pawn my shoes

And pay for a new glass.

Today, he caught me holding Nneka’s hair

And screwing her from the back.

He simply stood at the door, deadpan,

Watching me dress up, sweating, in shame.

She sobbed — a mixture of humiliation and relief.

He stood till she got dressed and left

Then he stepped in and sat on the bed

And talked as if I had barely switched the TV channel

Calmly telling me

He had caught me watching porn, several times

And how it demoralizes sex

Depicting and degrading women as objects.

“Sex is for men” he said

“Not boys who draw their partner’s hair

And turn, deaf to their protests,

Not boys who are not ready for responsibilities.”

Mom came an hour later

And told me how much

A replica of Dad I was,

But she also reminded me

How right he was, too.

From the Diary of a Tired Woman


the pop of my gum

sliced through the misty silence


blasting in the room

& rings of smoke from his cigarette


sailed into the laundrette

where a blood stain hides


under starched, unironed shirts

i roll the gum into a ball


i am the one who is hurting —

yet, whose apology he awaits


i throw the gum out through the window

but it is like a part of me


now takes the projectile’s path

down into the empty swimming pool



enough of this.


Emmanuel Stephen Ogboh is a young Nigerian poet. He started writing poetry—his observations and experiences—four years ago and has been published in several literary magazines. He can be

found at 




Accountability is a calabash painting

not on the wall but in the field of the mind

guilt spreads like gossip when you are alone

the hand is forever a figure restless

to snatch idly what does not belong to it


Somewhere in the mist of June,

my bank account was on a serious diet

how unfortunate it is, to never be remembered

when the chunky chips are down,

but they never forget you when you fill their cup


Now left in this hour of self-loathing and doubt

chances are high it was my own doing

you can ski on ice for a little while longer

either way the meltdown will follow you afterwards;

rather have it equal than to have it lethal


Accountability is a calabash painting

not on the wall but in the field of the mind

we have a choice to cleanse our dirty laundry

which is our old wicked looming thoughts

or else spiral down the masked gallows of hell


Lazola Pambo is a South African poet, novelist, and essayist, with work published in acclaimed literary journals such as The Criterion, Sentinel Literary Quarterly, BlazeVOX, and Gemini Magazine. He holds a BA in Creative Writing from the University of South Africa.

The Gut of Africa


Inside the gut of Africa

All I can see these days is war

Too many strange minds, no love

Bodies painted with strange blood

The temper of jealousy for our fellow blacks

Is tearing the future apart

The children of peace are drunk with hatred

I see the wounds of the next generation

Wounds that cannot be cured

Wounds that will linger to pass through bloodlines

Staining the thoughts of the young

Africans are erasing their own lives

Like fire eating up dry leaves

Many times this continent has raped itself

In broad daylight and through the night

Tell me what is right

A palace built by God is now the devil’s rest room

And the world is keeping silent

While all are being silenced

So much disunity and apathy

Participating to burn Africa

If the parents of this home cannot control their anger

Their children will forever be on fire



Ibrahim Sorie Bangura aka Cleffy, is a Sierra Leonean poet and musician who has published in several online journals and in Written Off, an anthology available on Amazon. He recently completed a poetry project supported by the Prince Claus Fund.

Dear Democracy


The more agendas you unleash

The more I feel finished,

The more your orders proceed

The more I see greed,

The more your troops advance

The more frightened I become,

Dear democracy

I hope you are not a tyrant.


Severally, you have failed me

Times without number, you tricked me

Countlessly, you pranked me

Numerous moments, you blew me

Dear democracy

I hope you are not a sadist.


No oneness, no orderliness

No clarity, no unity

No equity nor equality

No justice but malice

Prejudice even to the novice

No integration, but migration

No solution, but segregation

No harmonization, but discrimination

Only cabal too fatal

Dear democracy

I hope you are not a killer

I pray you are not a terrorist

I believe you are not a racist

And may you not be a tribalist.



Ngozi Olivia Osuoha is a Nigerian poet/writer who has published over one hundred and twenty poems. Her first two poetry books, The Transformation Train and Letter To My Unborn, were published in Kenya and Canada respectively are available on Amazon.

For I have had enough today


I have been dreaming of you, soxna*

Have been washed away, because of you, just like seashells

On the riverbank, lifeless and colourless

Not only long but frosty feelings of our shared dreams

Butterflying in and around my skin


I have voyaged, and blindly too, but willingly

Between the shores of the rivers Gambia and Niger

You are in me, and I have you in my thoughts

With this endless dream butterflying inside my stomach

And my eyes become a dreamless gelatin



I have come back to you, with this epic of dreams,

Luxuriating in your slippery arms

Without my regalia, a stranger on the smiling coast, songless

As thought of you has brought forth feelings in me

And words, the words of a poet imprisoned in huge silence

These words in my heart restless against cold marble

Are still erupting lucid and imaginative

Words of myths, of love and dreams; and of

River Gambia kissing my river Niger


I smile


I close my eyes, seeing

You as a blackbird perching on my window, beautiful

It’s you, flowing with the waves


Oh my blackbird

There is no I

Without the you

For your image, beyond my touch, is just like a vapour

Cycling round and round in the wild wind


I wake up this midafternoon, and

The Niger calls again

With a stronger call this time around

I must leave, and I shall be lonely

Haunted by vapoured days of you

And the strong striking dreams of holding you


Fly away

Oh flow away and away river Gambia

For I have had enough today


*Soxna in Wolof means wife, woman, or lady.



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.
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