“Have you ever punched a man before?”he asked curiously. Expectation thick in his voice.
I was about to answer him when…
“Obviously she has, just ask her how many,”
Another guy replied. Everyone laughed. I did too.
“Yes i have, “I replied casually.
“Honestly i have lost count” I replied, again, trying to sound not so concerned.
This is after i said i will answer questions..my first questions on violence.
My friends, ladies mostly, think I’m bad ass. The men just think I am less of a burden, “Bağbo ni Lion, she will take care of herself”.
I always smile and burn inside.
Knowing too well that these outbursts are just the aftermaths of the violence i witnessed while growing up.
The thing with violence is that it teaches you to fear, then sharpens you into a weapon. Teaches you to hurt people before they hurt you.
Being abused digs wounds in you, wounds that never heal.
Everyone thinks you got stronger, what they don’t know is that you died and rose as a zombie. Numb as ever.
With all the pent up anger, you attack anything that looks even remotely close to your abuser.
Unknowingly you become worse than them.
I am a weapon. And there are days i attack myself.
I am a dragon. There are days i channel my fire into my own throat.
Of the things that hurt,
Of all the things that i cried for but didn’t get,
Of the fresh wounds that bleed but won’t be nursed,
Of the stories that dried up in our throats,
Of our hearts that hang on fences,
Unloved and unloving,
Of all the men and women who broke our hearts,
We still see you in the reflections of our brokenness,
Of the betrayal and loyalty,
The knives are still stuck at the places you stabbed,
Of us all who survived,
The scars are a show that we are still alive,
That we fought and got here,
Our names stuck with the stars,
Of you who fought by us,
We die by the sword,
Of all the moments,
Of pleasure and pain,
Of kings and paupers,
Of queens and chamber maids,
Of us all.
We lived, we loved.
Seise Bagbo is from The Revolution Art Hub, an organization based in Nairobi, Kenya. It’s a movement of leaders who are working together to bring positive social change through the use of art and leadership. She is specialized in Dance and Poetry (spoken word), as far as art is concerned. She has done poetry for 2 years now, having the privileged to share her art with people from different walks of life. Most of her works has been inspired by true life experiences. As an activist and agent of change, she has used arts to enlighten, educate and discuss subjects that are of great weight and concern in society, such as gender equality, pan-Africanism and youth empowerment amongst others. Art is her way of finding and giving a voice to the loud voicelessness in this society. The privilege of being on different platforms, forums and countries has offered a much needed opportunity to touch and influence lives to positivity. Her motto is each one teach one through love (unless all of us know none of us does). She lives everyday as a Revolutionary.
My radio is silent and the TV faceless
Yet your voice forever tuned-in and your memory glued.
Your stature earthed, but your roots your legacy
Your smile dimmed, but your radiance glows
Your wind – how strong it still blows!
Democratic your prey
Toothless to toothless
Tears parch your heart
Silence greets pleas
Hope doth fortress
But stoic your steal.
Kevin Mwachiro has lived and worked in Nairobi for most of his life. A broadcaster with 17 years’ experience in the media sector, Kevin is now building a career for himself as a writer and poet. He has worked as a radio journalist and producer in Kenya, Uganda and the UK and as a correspondent for the BBC. He describes himself as a storyteller, a lover of words and the spoken word.
Both artists have collaborated with Creative Encounters, a monthly cultural event founded by writer Valentina A. Mmaka in Nairobi. The event is meant to promote Arts in all its expressions: visual art, poetry, spoken word, writing, music. Artists gather together to share their work, inspire each other, reflect on and create new ways of collaboration. Creative Encounters has hosted artists from different countries and backgrounds with special guests from Nigeria, Tanzania, Eritrea, China, USA, India.
Creative Encounters is now becoming an itinerant event covering different countries. One of the next featured program of Creative Encounter is the setting up of a series of poetry and writing workshops to encourage young artists to use art to address social issues and speak their voice out.
Featured image: Photo by Melina Piccolo.