June 18, 2021

Juneteenth: A Day of Remembrance and Celebration

Juneteenth: A Day of Remembrance and Celebration

Editor’s Note: Black lives matter. Creative lives matter. We’re very fortunate to see both embodied in The Fictional Café’s Residency program. In both instances, these are word-artists who had already discovered The Fictional Café and been published here.


Mbizo Chirasha was asked to become our Poet-in-Residence because of the powerful messages of freedom from oppression and tyranny in his poetry. We are saddened to learn that he remains in exile, now for four long years, in large part because of his book of poetry, A Letter to the President, which drew the ire of the dictatorship in Mbizo’s native country. Against powerfully thwarting odds, we’re trying to help.


Derrick R. Lafayette is, with pun intended, our Black Knight of fiction. His fierce, compelling stories captivated us from his first submission. His strong advocacy for our work and his ongoing imaginative output led us to create his position as Writer-in-Residence. You can find his books and podcasts on Amazon.

This is The Fictional Café’s second post for Juneteenth. You can see last year’s Juneteenth here. For this year’s, Mbizo is sharing new poetry, followed by a more complete bio. If you haven’t already done so, please read Derrick’s five short stories we’ve published.


Six Poems by Mbizo Chirasha, FC’s Poet-in-Residence

 This country feasted on our sweat 
 Our spirits died for this country 
 Country carrying bad ballots and good coups reaping tears 
 Country that died many times before death 
 Country where bullets feed on crocodiles in rivers 
 Gunpowder is the scent of the forests-black forests 
 Erasing memories of love 
 Country,whose heart heave with slogans and vendetta 
 Country on a death bed, eating the present and pocketing the past 
 Humming the last tune 
 Country, where dogs bark to their shadows, mothers yell to nothing 
 Foxes howling against the un-surrendering moon 
 We walked along the spirit of this country, a country that feasted our blood for supper 
 Masses breakfast religion and propaganda-riff-raff 
 Cry my beloved people! 
 See Fundi’s writing cultural graffiti in red ink on lampposts. Country born out of the laughter of the rifle 
 People crying for the country sold for bread and tea  


 Your past is a mint of blood and tears 
 Daughters tearing their way to decay 
 Sons castrated by poverty and superguns, 
 Dream battered and bruised 
 Your conscience polarized by oppressive -dans 
 Highways clogged by hatred and vendetta 
 Gutters donating stench and typhoid 
 Let my poetry feed your withering dreams for guns, 
 Insulting the tired memories of voters.  

 Another whistle from election fervent fathers 
 Another ululation from slogan drugged mothers 
 In Chimoio we roasted bullets like mealie cobs for breakfast 
 In Nyadzonia we boiled grenades like cassava for lunch meals 
 In Magagao we munched parcel bombs like tropical fruit 
 In Gorongoza, we learnt totems of war and syndromes of propaganda 
 Today, our ears are deaf with sediments of slogans 
 We are the Povo!! 

 I am a fat skeleton, resurrecting from the sad memories of dada and dark mysteries of animism I am Buganda I bleed hope I drip the honey of fortune Makerere; think tank of Africa I dance with you wakimbizi dance 
 I am Tanganyika I smell and fester with the smoke of African genesis I am the beginning Kilimanjaro; the anthill of rituals 
 I am the smile of Africa My glee erase the deception of sadness my tooth bling freedom I am myself, I am Gambia 
 When others sleep with bullets stuck in their stomachs I sneeze copper spoons from my mouth every dawn I am the Colombia of Africa 
 I am the Cinderella of Africa Where mediums feast with the ghost of Kamuzu in Mulange trees Here spirits walk naked and free I am the land of sensations I am the land of reactions Coughing forex blues Squander mania I still smell the scent of Nehanda’s breath I am African renaissance blooming I stink the soot of Chimurenga I am the mute laughter of Njelele hills 50 

 I am Soweto Swallowed by Kwaito and gong I am a decade of wrong and gong I am the blister of freedom vomited from the belly of apartheid I see the dawn of the coming sun in Madiba’s eyebrows 
 I am Abuja Blast furnace of corruption Nigeria, the Jerusalem of noblemen, priests, professors and prophets 
 I am Guinea, i bling with African ;floridization’ 
 I am blessed with many tongues My thighs washed by river Nile I am the mystery of pyramids I am the graffiti of Nefertiti I am the rich breast of Nzinga 
 I am Switzerland of Africa The rhythm of Kalahari sunset the rhyme of Sahara, yapping, yelping I am Damara, I am Herero, I am Nama, I am lozi, and I am Vambo 
 I am bitterness, I am sweetness I am Liberia 
 I am king kongo Mobutu roasted my diamonds into the stink of deep brown blisters Frying daughters in corruption microwaves Souls swallowed by the beat of Ndombolo and the wind of Rhumba I am the Paris of Africa I see my wounds 
 I am rhythm of beauty I am Congo I am Bantu I am Jola I am Mandinga 51 

 I sing of you I sing Thixo I sing of Ogun I sing of God I sing of Tshaka I sing of Jesus 
 I sing of children of Garangaja and Banyamulenge whose sun is dozing in the mist of poverty I am the ghost of Mombasa I am the virginity of Nyanza 
 I am scarlet face of Mandingo I am cherry lips of Buganda 
 Come Sankara, come Wagadugu I am Msiri of Garangadze kingdom my heart beats under rhythm of words and dance I am the dead in the trees blowing with wind, I cannot be deleted by civilization. I am not Kaffir, I am not Khoisan 
 I am the sun breaking from the villages of the east with great inspiration of revolutions its fingers caressing the bloom of hibiscus 

 A daughter of revolution fed on rich political nutrition 
 With a smile bandaging scars of the streets 
 and falsehood by political demons 
 Fingers burnt in pseudo democratic pans of the West, 
 what a political humor? 
 I see you smelling love through the thick dew of corruption and robots 
 True heroes and heroines swallowed up in the deep silence of chingwere and uzambwera 
 [Cemeteries of the poor] 
 Leopold hill shadows faking dances to the throbbing rhythms of vumbuza drums 
 Kalinga- linga- your rising sun will soon spread the beauty of its fingers in the skies of Afrika.  


 My breasts are dry of milk in the climate of this heat 
 My earth ejaculates platinum and uranium 
 Anus of my rock puff pure gas and crude oil 
 The clay of my heart binds together the dust of my dreams 
 Forests of my mind sagging with coco beans and coconuts 
 I am tired of bullet claps and paparazzi gossip 
 I am a country eating peanut and bananas 
 I am the flower of want, whose bloom was pruned by madness, 
 My holy nectar was imbibed by mad drunkards 
 poets and prophets bring back my wildness.  



MBIZO CHIRASHA is the 2020 Poet-in-Residence at The Fictional Café, 2019 Sotambe Festival Live Literature Hub and Poetry Café Curator, 2019 African Fellow for the International Human Rights Art Festival, Essays Contributor to Monk Art and Soul Magazine in United Kingdom, Arts Features Writer at the International Cultural Weekly, Featured Writer Poet Activist at The Poet A Day, Core Team Member and African Contributor to Bezine of Arts and Humanities in USA, The Originator of the Zimbabwe We Want Poetry Campaign, Curator of MiomboPublishing Blog Journal, Founder and Chief Editor of WOMAWORDS LITERARY PRESS, Founder and Curator of the Brave Voices Poetry Journal, Co-Editor of Street Voices Poetry trilingual collection (English, African Languages and Germany) initiated by Andreas Weiland in Germany, Poetry Contributor to  AtunisPoetry.com in Belgium, African Contributor to DemerPress International Poetry Book Series in the Netherlands, African Contributor to the World Poetry Almanac Poetry Series in Mongolia, 2003 Young Literary Arts Delegate to the Goteborg International Book Fair Sweden (SIDA AFRICAN PAVILION), 2009 Poet in Residence of the International Conference of African Culture and Development (ICACD) in Ghana, 2009 Fellow to the inaugural UNESCO- Africa Photo- Novel Publishers and Writers Training in Tanzania, 2015 Artist in Residence of the Shungua Mutitima International Film and Arts Festival in Livingstone, Zambia, a globally certified literary arts influencer, Writer in Residence and Recipient of the EU-Horn of Africa Defend Defenders Protection Fund Grant as well as Recipient of the Pen Deutschland Exiled Writer Grant. He is an Arts for Peace and Human Rights Catalyst, the Literary Arts Projects Curator, Poet, Writer, publicist and is published in more than 200 places in print and online. His latest 2019 collection of experimental poetry A LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT was released by Mwanaka Media and Publishing and is both in print, on Amazon. and at is featured at African Books Collective.  

Fictional Cafe
#freedom#juneteenth#mbizo chirasha#poetry

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