Friday, August 22, 2014

Orukoro Dancer,Benstowe Fubaraibi Anari (Nigeria) #BNPA2014COMMENTS


Orukoro Dancer by Benstowe Fubaraibi Anari (Nigeria)

“Child, weep not

Mother will be fine”

Still Tonye’s voice went out

Surpassing the rolling drums

To win mother’s attention,

Her hands stretched forth

Forcing body through dense crowd

To mar mother’s drunken steps,

She, solitary Lass, soaked with her tears,

Weaved a cry:

“Mother! Mother!

What have they done to you mother!?

It’s me your daughter!

Come! Come homeward!”

But all were health tips for pigs.

Dancer, canoe to the unseen paddler

Dancer, slave to the spiritual native banter

Feet, chalk-patterned by her painter

Body, clad with white and red George-wrapper,

Danced forward, danced backward,

Danced drummers-ward, danced viewers-ward,

Danced, Shell to her marine partner

Danced she, beats after beats, songs after songs,

Swung, palm leaves at wind’s gate.

Ah! Several fresh eggs went lost to her belly.

Then I replaced the soil on my soles with another

Weaving pity in my heart

Pity for viewers, lost in spirit’s huddle

Spirits who seek for more canoes to paddle.

Your comments on The Orukoro Dancer.

Precious Nkwanzi

This is a real Nigerian voice: The overt imagery of dance and strong traditional reference. The daughter-month interaction of banshee like is shrill and eerie.

Michael the adventurous:

The first line is so similar to Ngugi’s book. The traditional strength from the myth of the dancer is so strong and inescapable. Even the daughter forcing her way through the dense crowd is allegorical to the woman with the issue of blood in the bible.


So much dancing and drumming in the poem. I want to dance away the women’s troubles.


Orukoro dancers are women ( most times men) who dance to certain drumbeats under the influence of a marine spirit, at this times, songs and drums are played for them by members of their Orukoro society. Viewers usually come out in their numbers to witness the dancesteps and drumbeats. This experience does not happen frequently, but occasionally.

The word Orukoro means the coming down of a deity, but in this case it is usually the marine deity that possesses a person.

The Orukoro society are worshippers of marine deities in many Ijaw communities in Bayelsa , Delta and Rivers States of Nigeria.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014


BNPA2014 friends-File photo



Kgafela oa Magogodi, Richard Ali, Joanne Arnott (Judges)

#BNPA2014-Shortlisted poets:

Suleiman Agbonkhianmen-Nigeria

El Saba Lazim-Sudan

Annetjie van Wynegaard-South Africa

Tom Jalio-Kenya

Nyachiro Lydia-Tanzania

Elizabeth Muchemwa-Zimbabwe

Fubaraibi Benstowe-Nigeria

Saka Aliyu-Ngeria

Ugandan hosts: Moses Muyanja Kyeyune, Dorothy Ayebazibwe

Monday 15th September 10:00am to 11:00am.

Launching the African Poetry Book Fund ( at Ugandan Arts Trust:32 Degrees East-in Kansanga after Kampala International University.

Readings from Prairie Schooner Fusion archives namely Botswana, Singapore and Ghana. Poets reading include Hilda Twongyeirwe, Roshan Karmali, Qrea-us, Nakisanze, BNN, Kagayi, and Kangye.

This event is supported by:

Literature Students of Makerere University, Femrite, 32 degrees-East:Ugandan Arts Trust, Lantern Meet of Poets, Poetry-in-session and African Poetry Book Fund –Nebraska.

Monday 15 September-Femrite, 5:30PM


Literature Students of Makerere University will moderate discussions on each of the #BNPA2014 shortlisted poems. Femrite-Kamwokya, +256 772 743943

Entry fee: 2,000/-

Tuesday 16 September events at Kati Kati Main Hall, off Lugogo By-Pass.

Entry fee is 5,000/-


Save our Poets! Written word vs. Spoken form poetry panel.

Is written poetry gradually becoming extinct? Is the traditional form irrelevant? Are Spoken Word artists running ahead of themselves?

Join the poetry panel at 2:30pm on Tuesday 16 September at Kati Kati Main Hall.

Panelists include:

Dr. Patrick Mangeni-(Makerere university)

Kagayi Peter, The President of Lantern Meet of Poets, Uganda

Nyachiro Lydia, #BNPA2014 shortlisted poet from Tanzania

Saba El Lazim #BNPA2014 shortlisted poet from Sudan

Moderator: Roshan Karmali, Coordinator at Poetry-in-session.


Launch of A Thousand Voices Rising, Anthology of Contemporary African Poetry


The #BNPA2014 winner will launch the anthology.

Online copies are available from the website at

Tuesday 16 September, 6:00pm- Kati Kati.

Awarding the #BNPA2014 winner



17th to 21st September:

#BNPA2014 Poets at various workshops

PoeTRicks Workshops, run by BNN

Master-classes all week

Press conference on 18th September from 1:00pm to 2:30pm

Launch of A Thousand Voices Rising on 20th September.



Poetry Reading Clubs, PoeTRicks,Poetry-camps

20th October-African Rural University-Kibaale,Kagadi

21st October-Kabale University

23rd October-Return to Kampala

24th October: Round-table discussion and FINALE!

20th October morning:











Thanks for all your support. If any other activity is added to this, you will receive official notification from this email address, Thanks to our friends and partners who have led us so far. To the judges, poets, media, bloggers, #BNPA2014 poets, arts organisations like 32 Degrees/Ugandan Arts Trust, Femrite, Lantern Meet of Poets, Poetry in session, Makerere University Literature Students,African Writers Trust, Sunday Trust (Nigeria), African Poetry Book Fund, somanystoriesug,  Storymoja, Parrésia Publishers in Nigeria, Ake Arts and Book Festival, Malaika Educare, House of Talent, House of Words Consult, Peepal Tree Press-thank you all so much.

For more information, email or follow us on Twitter @BNPoetryAward


Zaza Muchemwa from Zimbabwe-courtesy photo

The win will give me more time to devote to my poetry and develop it because then I will not have to worry about certain expenses. With part of the win I will organise a poetry workshop facilitated by an established Poet culminating in a poetry anthology. And that will change perceptions of writing and poetry in my community.

Born in Chirumhanzu, Zimbabwe on the 14th of February 1986, Elizabeth Muchemwa is a Poet, Writer and Director for Theatre. Her full names Elizabeth Ruramai Sharon came as a concession between her parents who, at her birth, had each a different name to give her; so in the end she got a name from each parent. Elizabeth has been performing Poetry since 2006 in Zimbabwe; she has performed at Festivals like HIFA, Intwasa Arts Festival and Protest Arts International Festival, participated in monthly poetry events like House of Hunger Poetry Slam and Sistaz Open Micand performed at private functions some of which have included Book Café at 16 years and the launch of the Zimbabwe Market Fair. She has directed plays for the stage; one of them Wedding Day was performed at the Drama for life Festival in 2010 and Intwasa Festival 2010. Elizabeth’s short story Positive Death was published in the Zimbabwe Women Writers Magazine in 2006 and in 2011 her short story Radio Culture is Dead was shortlisted in the Intwasa Short Story competition. Early this year her poem Eve was shortlisted in the Poetry International Zimbabwe competition and will be published on the Poetry International website this September. In June this year with Katswe Sistahood she attended the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict in London where they performed a short theatrical presentation called Hands Over. Elizabeth’s influences are derived from writers of books, directors of films, playwrights, poets, musicians, painters and the everyday woman and man. And she believes that whatever art form you use you are all doing one thing; which is telling a story, so she sees herself as teller of story before anything else. Elizabeth is currently living what she calls her second life.

Twitter: @ZaMuchemwa Badilisha Poetry Exchange:

Read her poem here

Blood and Water by Elizabeth Muchemwa (Zimbabwe)

He washes his hands in streams she has made

Rivers flowing beneath her eyes have

salted the land with the acrid taste of her hate

wells have risen to pool within her

catching the cries that would speak her hurt

He washes his hands in streams she has made

She dreams sonic dreams with high decibels to end tyranny

with a speak to raise armies and wage wars

He washes his hands in streams she has made

ignoring the pleas of a maiden body slain

in her shame exposed against her will

half drawn clothes

untidy bundles of blood

laid to waste for a rush

She has made rivers and lakes bitter with the salt of her tears

beneath her breast a molten hold burnishes the light she once had

into a golden strong finish

for those that have laid her to waste

This is for the mother

who has stitched another morsel

into one dish of edible corn for our daily bread

Her who has copied the hands of the creator

and pasted onto the drawing board a new piece to the picture

so that girls everywhere can smile

She is the surgeon who has carried a knife to battles

to cut open wounds and piece them to their proper places back,

them skins and flesh scurrying to obey her command

she has done so

she has carried life so

She has melded pen and paper to tell a story

not worrying

whether the caves within her bring forth life or death

life or death life or death

the ringing bells toll and call all humankind to rest

but she does not stop taking life from death

life from death life from death

building bricks upon bricks

stitching together another life in a war zone.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Things That Were Lost In Our Vaginas BY NYACHIRO LYDIA,


Aleya Kassam starts off the discussion on Things That Were Lost In Our vaginas BY NYACHIRO LYDIA, TANZANIA

This poem was deeply affecting. It took me a while to figure out why this poem crawled into the pit of my belly and would not come out. The way she writes about something so horrendous as a child being abused, in an almost matter of fact way is where the power of the poem lies. The language echoes this sense of numbness she has had to develop to keep living through something so horrendous....the matter-of-factness that this is just what a girl, a girl! goes through, and that is just the way it makes me feel, as a society we are complicit - and of course, aren't we? Yet the poem has a movement and texture that makes it beautiful, when it almost shouldn't be.

Flavia Kabuye

When I first read the poem, I thought it was so graphic. When I read it again and again I realized that much as it breaks communication barriers, it also highlights structural barriers of age and gender. Women's stories like this one are endless and the writer brings out the emotional trauma that even time cannot heal. Her reference to prayer brings a message of hope...

Stephanie Newham

I want to say this is a beautiful poem but it is difficult ,because of the subject matter. However we have to be thankful that there are poets and writers who are prepared to write openly and honestly from their hearts about societies darker side.

Ivan Okuda ," It-is an epic poem, shortlisted for this years Babishai Niwe Poetry Awards, written by Tanzania's Nyachiro Kasese. If it doesn’t tickle your inner most senses, then nothing ever will.

Arafat Ndugga hehehe..respect..people can write.

Wilbrod Gos'pol Lydia I bow in contentment

Mugume Fortune

Stylistic device...vivid

Henry Mutebe

eh... that's a magnificent display of the language. The subject matter notwithstanding, I credit her for her skill in creating imagery. Its powerfully crafted. four star

Jamie Sanyu Mukama

this is so rich

Mukungu Blessed Dennis

well I’m looking for words to describe this literal artistry

Herbert Kaheeru

vagina monologue

Rosey Sembatya

I was sucked in by the title, the dare...yet the poem is so afraid...the fear within us..

Agatha Ayebazibwe Siima

wow!!! this one, I bow!

Derik Lamar

ReLoaded eeeh bulade

Bwesigye Bwa Mwesigire

This poem should win the PRIZE in my humble view/

Harriet Anena

Is Nyachiro on Facebook at all? I need to chat her up. This poem should win #BNPA2014.

Herbert Oketcho

thank you #NYACHIRO_LYDIA,

Kironde Timothy

now this is poetry, i love the simple language she uses to talk about something this deep. and the title; shocker!!