Archive for June, 2010
Juice dribbles slowly down his chin as he grins at me. Otherwise motionless, he carefully sucks every last piece of the fruit without breaking his smiling gaze. Sparkly eyes above a sun faded yellow football shirt. The dark ‘Fly Emirates’ slogan yells silently from his chest.
Casting the skin aside he finally turns and rearranges the baskets on his bicycle, crammed full with sweet green oranges to sell in town.
‘Fly Emirates’ is emblazoned across his back as well. This sinew limbed cyclist farmer, advertising one of the richest airlines in the world. His shirt has already travelled thousands of miles more than he ever will. I doubt he even has a passport, let alone anything more tangible than distant dreams of flight.
I buy a sweet green orange and as the juice dribbles down my chin, i dream of standing on a london street and seeing ‘sweet green Tanzanian oranges’ emblazoned across a grinning businessman’s chest.
Built between 1891 and 1893 and originally called the ‘Normalhaueser’ this elegant building currently houses the commercial High Court.
(Info from ‘A Catalogue of the Protected Buildings in Dar es Salaam’ prepared by Sustainable Cities: PLUS Network Africa Program.)
What tragedy alights the flame of pittance in the beggar’s heart?
Is it the unnerving hole-ridden road to prosperity?
Or merely the worn-ragged story of possibility?
Indeed, if hollow promises made heavy debts then
the rich would beg on their knees.
Sadly only the sorry live with sorrow,
craving and raving about the unlikely prospects of tomorrow.
When the whispers of false decency tread on the still nakedness of beggared flesh,
twinkles of generosity seep from the corrupt breath of power.
how charity strikes the chord,
how it breaks open the sealed disgust hidden within wealthy pockets.
Pockets filled to the brim; filled so high that the weight of them drags down the heart.
Perhaps it is destiny, that voluptuous specter who leads all of man to shameful ends, playing with means out of sheer amusement.
Who will curb the power of the corrupt?
The corruption of power.
An almost instantaneous poem by Hafiz Juma, inspired by this drawing.
I woke to find an American flag
hoisted above the fisher camp on Msasani bay.
Sometime during the night
the stars and stripes were erected
and now proclaim that the
corrugated iron sheets,
the plastic bottles,
the sun-bleached washing hanging on a line,
The graffiti saying mysteriously - Naz -
are all somehow Yankee property.
Later I will go down and ask what it is all about,
But just now, I wonder who put it there and how
And whether on this little coastal strip
- between the dhows and the Baobabs trees -
Someone slipped in in the night to claim
Dominion over the rocks, and seaweed and sand.
An excerpt from ‘The Invasion’ by Louise Hoole