HERE'S LUA DAVIS FROM CAMEROON, #BABISHAI2015SHORTLIST
Upon her first communion with a pencil, Lua fell in love with how words could transcribe feelings. Although she had the courage of a mouse, this gave her the liberty to speak up. From age 5 to 16, she entered and placed in many local poetry and prose competitions. And after a long hiatus from writing, she has fallen in love again.
My hair Is. is a tribute to African identity in America. It exemplifies how the sole act of displaying ones African Hair, in the myriad of styles it backs, is an act of solidarity. It is the hair of people who have done great things with little recognition, and she is glad that it connects her to Africa in ways deeper than blood. She believes that wearing her hair proudly combats the same Eurocentric beauty standards that have suppressed people of color.
Her shortlisted poem is below.
My Hair Is By Lua Davis (Cameroon)
My hair is loud!
Like the ricochet of voices rumbling
down the streets of Washington, D.C. ,,
during the march of 1963. It yells: “Here I am! Here I am!” Even in silence.
My hair is triumphant. Like the exultant echo of my mother’s footsteps as
she glided across that stage to embrace the diploma of a first generation
graduate. It dances to the discord of discrimination, never forgetting that
a symphony is only made with patient persistence. My hair isresilient. Like
the Cameroonian women of my family who toiled selling granuts &palm oil
on the red-clay-soil roadside to ensure that their brothers received education:
women who, despite being regarded 2nd, still moved mountains for themselves
and their kin. It revolutionarily recoils at the oppositional pull of adversity in order to
revisit the importance of its roots. My hair is poetic. Like songs loftily uplifted bymy
Bakossi people to heaven during prayer. Each strand is the stanza of a love poem to
God. My hair is proud. Like the coalition of kings and queens crowned with the
curls of their ancestors---whose hair continues to bloom in spite of
the cumbrances of oppression. It blossoms
in common accord with allied heritage
preservation. My hair is intricate. Like
the diverse cloths that kiss the skin
of my African brothers and sisters.
It harbors clusters of contrasting
curl patterns: each beautiful in
its textured diversity. My hair
is a thank you note to the soil
from which we leapt, to sun--
kissed mothers plaiting their
childrens’ ulotrichous locks,
to the men and women
with raised voices and
elevated signs, protest-
ing in Ferguson, MO,
to the parents who
tell their dark-skin
babies, “You are
more than the
Our Poetry festival takes place from 26 to 28 August at The Uganda Museum. We'll be launching Poetry on The Mountain, an excursion of poetry on one of Uganda's mountain ranges and Boda Boda Anthem, the Kampala Poetry Anthology.
The winner will be announced on Friday 28 August at The Uganda Museum main hall.
Tel: +256 751 703226