She’s not from here/but she must be from somewhere/she can’t be from nowhere/it’s that country I can’t pronounce/you know/the one with all the trees/and it reeks of disease/she has a hut for a house/and all the animals run around
nothing but famine and strife/that would make me uproot my life/so/why wouldn’t she want to be here/it’s so nice and clean here/and I know she says I’m wrong/and what I’m saying is not right/but if I’m wrong and she’s right/wouldn’t her truth be easier to see/if I’m wrong and she’s right/my truth wouldn’t be on TV.

What’s that country/what could it be/it doesn’t matter specifically/so we’ll just say Africa/yea Africa/and with all its negativity/why wouldn’t she want a change/become more positive/you know/ be the opposite of her name/it’s all the same anyway/and I know what they say/all those countries/millions of dialects/diversity abounds/and modernity all around/but she chose to come here/so she might as well assimilate/it doesn’t matter if she’s eight/and in the third grade/that’s no excuse

She needs to get it together/and start making things better/so she sheds off her layers/well the identifiable layers/strips herself of the most unique things/to make everything better/she remodels her name/the teacher can’t pronounce her name/she so rarely gets called/most of the time she’s just a pause/as the teacher scans the list/it makes you wonder/does she even exist/it goes Jackie/present/David/present/Billy/present/then the pause

Without a name to assure her presence/in an attempt to preserve her essence/her hand shoots up to the sky/followed so softly by/just call me Lisa/and with a nod/the change is justified/she’s been appropriated and converted/like a commodity/she’s been customized/Lisa

Lisa/who will Lisa be/at home she’s still that unpronounceable entity/but in Lisa’s new world/she’s one step closer to her melting pot destiny/filled with western labels/ideals/speech and foods/consumed with consumption/and its emptying goods/she begs/no mommy/no/I don’t want you to pack my lunch/all those spices/all the smells/I’ll need new shoes/clothes/and hair/and no daddy/no/don’t pick me up/it’s embarrassing/how can I be like them/with you right there/just lingering

So she pays no attention/ to the tears that she molds/her parents migration without the intention/ of westernizing her soul/shunning the name of her ancestors’/she’s quickly letting go/of a rich history/life/and culture/quickly quickly/letting go

cause there’s no time for her past/when she’s already playing catch up/so much ground to cover fast/there’s no time to pause/ or back up/there’s too much to do/to prove/ she’s like you/just like you/ all she wants to do/ is be like you/and fit in/melt in/fade in/then stay in/
So she leaves behind another layer/as she hurries on full steam/ peels off another layer/as she swims toward main stream/so seduced by her surroundings/she’s forgotten her beginnings/and she finally embraces her new part/when she sadly sheds her heart

- Pembe Besingi
May 15, 2013


Already Dead

Lonely and hurt,

Broken I remain

Residing in hell,

Living in pain

Masked by lies,

I slowly fade away;

The nightmare I live with,

Each and every day

The meaning of it all,

To which my mind attends

Has not one answer

That I fully comprehend

The bottom of my mind

Holds the answers which I call;

I keep reaching towards it

In this never-ending fall

“Stay strong and keep going,

It`s never too late”…

No one seems to realize

That it’s not worth the wait

There’s no such thing

As help outside of your mind,

It’s you against yourself,

With your demons intertwined

It’s a battle, hard fought,

But never to be won

Either way you end up losing

When it’s all said and done

“Too late” came and passed

And, of me, nothing more

I wrote my own ending,

And I shut my own door

“Live your life to its fullest”

That’s what they all said,

But what’s the point in trying

When you’re already dead

- Marcel Botha
May 15, 2013


Femme d’Afrique/African Woman

Le soleil brille

Sur ma peau Africaine

La chaleur est un rappel constant

De l’intensité profond de mon refuge actuelle.

Citoyenne universelle

Voyageur éternelle

Là, je me’ réjouisse du terre de mes patriarches


African Woman

The sun shines brightly

On my African skin

The heat, a constant reminder

Of the profound depth of my current resting place.

Universal Citizen

Eternal voyager

There, I exalt the land of my forefathers


- Adeola Olagunju
May 15, 2013



I’m proud of my home, I’m proud of my name

I’m proud of my country

And all its ever been

The food we eat, the mountains we see

The flora and fauna that make up its Identity.

I’ve found a home, where you see war.

I’ve found a house, where you see bush.

I am at peace with all living things

In this my home, which you call enemy.

The songs of old, the tales of the aged

Lake Kariba so bold

Victoria falls as it rages

The flag above, with stripes of rainbow

Through the winter cold, winds blow in my favour

The market noise, selling of their vegies

Wild fruits of types, apple and paw-paw.

Raised in Harmony with the terms

I am a son, a citizen of home

Ignore the news, and all the scares

I would rather be home, than be in Rome

Zimbabwe my land, Zimbabwe my country

Zimbabwe the author of my identity

- Brian Takudzwa Chidarikire
May 15, 2013


My Identity

A mother’s surname

Who is my father?

Know little about him

Were they even lovers?

A brief description is all i get,

My mind left to wonder

What’s my Identity?

Who is my father?

I’m insecure, my roots are bare

They need to be planted

But I just don’t know where

Who is my brother, who is my sib

Who is the man,

With alike D. N. A.?

My future stands still

My history still sealed

Am i an heir on someone’s will?

My roots still not planted

My roots still bare

A family tree to reveal

That I do belong somewhere.

- Brian Takudzwa Chidarikire
May 15, 2013


A Postcard from Goree Island

There is this place in West Africa.

An island 3 kilometres from the coast of Dakar, Senegal.

Where it is only penetrable by boat.

Where one can lean against the metallic guardrails, peering through fog covered glasses at statuesque coconut palm trees, swaying in tune with the waves.

Where the grey swell of the Atlantic bitterly greets the rocky shore, slate coloured and smoothened into submission; a welcome mat for the towering balconies of the apricot and watermelon merchant houses.

Where you can get lost on the beach, in the throng of strangers of different hues, with women smelling of cinnamon and citrus, congregating in hissing whispers.

Where you can turn the corner and escape into narrow alleyways, peeling paint revealed underneath.

Where the low slung stonewalls are overgrown with hibiscus flowers—mango yellow and fuchsia.

Where the rustling leaves interrupt the silence, cool shade raising hairs on your arms.

Where the laughter of children playing soccer, with barefoot and sand-caked sweat, blend into their smiles, lure you into the town square, as you explode from the alleyways into the sunlight, enticing you to laughingly do cartwheels like you did in the school yard as a child.

It is a sight to behold.

- Bilan Hashi
May 15, 2013


My Africa

Black hair…Black like the night is black.
Black like the depths of my Africa.

You kink and twist,
You’re straight and smooth.
You’re soft and coarse,
And when I try to style, you fight and resist with no remorse!

Some call it natural, some call it unkempt.
Some call it work, while others time well spent.
I say to you my hair is mine, and mine’s alone,
Until you’re ready to do it, your opinion is all your own.

My hair is my accessory,
My hair is my pride.
My hair is my culture,
My hair is my life.

Black like the night is black.
Black like the depths of my Africa is my hair.

- Claudia Marion Allen
April 02, 2013
Claudia Allen Picsite

Claudia is a graduating Senior with an English Literature Major and Leadership Minor at Andrews University. She served as the Vice President and President of the Black Student Christian Forum (BSCF), a campus organization focused on meeting the cultural needs of those students that identify with various cultures in the African Diaspora. She was also the Co-Founder and Vice President of Andrews University Adventist Youth (AUAY), a campus vespers dedicated to providing students of all cultures an opportunity to think theologically and reverence the closing of the Sabbath on Saturday evenings. She has served on countless committees, and spoken at numerous venues.
Blog url: www.theafricanbrain.wordpress.com


My Fortune is Gone

A price none compares
I’ve had you through the years
I’ve lost my fortune
If only I’d showed I cared
As blood in veins
Through my eyes flow tears
I wish I had told you
I appreciated the times we shared

The pain of loss
A part of me is in you
A sibling who was never close
Now you are gone and I will never see you
The bond of a Father and his genes
Built of slender, kinky hair that never grew
Dark brown skin and same size shoes
How could anyone miss it
I was just like Michelle and you

Talent and I could not be there
A last glance or bid farewell
I lost my Fortune, to whom shall I share
It hurts inside, it feels like hell
But part of you remains in me
A part with sweet dreams and no more mares
Protected by my heart safely in a shell
A deep ocean of memories
Is all our kids we are left to tell
My Fortune is gone, my Fortune lived well!

- Brian Takudzwa Chidarikire
April 02, 2013


My Love

prediction of weather
announcement of election polls
news of a disaster
even world cup scores

breaking news
engagement of a bride
the invitation of a Queen
or winning a lotto prize
a graduation party
that goes through the night
the victory of wrestling
and all of Big-Show’s might

landing of a plane
crushing waves of sea
the meeting of a mother
her long lost daughter at three
the tales of Shakespeare
even the big lie of Halloween
anxiety of twilight
and that of wolf fear

the ash cloud above
the planes grounded below
the birth of another set
of triplets too small
the hospital sheets
a new mother’s fear
cannot all be comparable
to you being with me here

- Brian Takudzwa Chidarikire
April 02, 2013


The drums and high pitch,
but I still cant get the beat
hey, I’m confused now
take a walk down the street.

No, I’m not a flirt,
no appetite for the skirts.
But I’m sorry,
will rid of some friends.
Oh I’m sorry,
I’m sorry if it hurts.

So has our big-Ben run out?
These words are from my chest
baby please don’t doubt,
I wrote it for the net.

To be mine you are free.
Snowflake, this you are not obliged.
Oh, Brian don’t be emotional,
be responsible for what you scribed.

Oh, that’s the drum
these are the strings,
I got the right note,
I hit the right pitch.

- Brian Takudzwa Chidarikire
April 02, 2013


I Live Bright

I live bright to cover the shadows of my soul
Big smiles to cover the gloom
High jumps to liberate the caged
Happy talks to hide the depth
I live bright to cover the shadows
I live bright to cover the shadows of my soul
Silence to calm the screams
Softness to soothe the pain
Chose peace to hide the war
The wars that tear me apart
I live bright to cover the shadows
Tell self everything is okay
Life is perfect and family non-existent
Life is black and white can’t afford colored gradients
Depth if you think of it. A theory but one to avoid
So it’s either truth or lie and no in-betweens. Black
And white and no shades of grey.
But they tell me white reflects all color and black absorbs it all
So then in truth they exist to cancel each other out and I live
Bright to hide the void.
I live bright to cover the shadows of my soul.

- Sandra Owusu-Antwi
April 02, 2013

Sandra Owusu Antwi PicSandra Owusu-Antwi was born and raised in Ghana, West Africa and now lives in Michigan. She is a fourth year student at Andrews University, where she is studying to receive her B.A and B.S. degrees in Religion and Psychology respectively. She is currently the Student Association President of Andrews University and aspiring to become a Public Policy and Human Development Analyst (Psychologist) in the near future. She enjoys living a vibrant life which includes writing, sports, music, time with people, traveling, public speaking, and the arts. She is an editor of Pencil Tribe Magazine


My Love (Part 2)

You make me feel
you make me imagine
a feeling so real
unlike my past tragics
you lighten my day
you wake me by phone
hope it will never end
like a sunset by the shore
a seed of love sown

you make me melt
your messages on my phone
a feeling I’ve never felt
closer to you I’m drawn
and when we talk
all stresses flee
the sown love crop
will grow into tree
and make me buy
you a wedding ring

a feeling of faith
the two have never met
but strength of stealth
the link cannot be bent
your precious sounds
of words you speak
in my head abound
in my ears ring all week
for I’m on a cloud
off mountain peak
but can still hear you loud
I hear you speak
a destiny intended
only for the meek

- Brian Takudzwa Chidarikire
April 02, 2013


The Beauty of Africa

The beauty of Africa is found in our rich chocolaty skin, which pays homage to the earth we originated from. It is found in the soulful deepness of our eyes, eyes that reflect the deep rich past of our Motherland which keeps going and going….
The beauty of Africa can be seen in our upright, resistant hair, which coils upward towards the sky, like our people, who stand proud and strong no matter what trouble awaits us. The beauty of Africa is indicative in our wide, welcoming smiles which cause others to feel our joy, like the sunrise from the East that changes the landscape into an entirely breathtaking world. The Beauty of Africa is in us, is around us, is everywhere.

- Yvette Badu-Nimako,  April 02, 2013

Yvette Badu-Nimako Picture

Yvette is Ghanaian and was born and raised in New York. She has always been interested in literature and the arts, particularly African storytelling. Yvette graduated with a dual degree in Government and Engl ish Literature with an emphasis in International Relations and performed with the Black Theatre Ensemble. She is currently a third year law student at Georgetown University Law Center and is completing a certificate in Refugee and Humanitarian Emergencies. She is the editor-in-chief of Pencil Tribe Magazine


Of Forests and Men

Great forest thick and dense
Green blob seen from thence
Yet therein trees stand
Set singly on their land

It’s a marvel how they dwell
Side by side without one fell
But live single till each dies
Breaks bonds of forest ties

How so we each singly live
Thanksgiving, Christmas comfort give
Turkey’s done,we’re no longer kin
Leave and dwell in your own skin

- Mesa Joren
October 05, 2009



Memories hide deeper and deeper inside a heart not quite ready to break,
A mind not quite ready to take more steps into an uncertain future.
Memories of pain felt when fate dealt a sour card,
Vain hope, unrewarded longing, passion short-lived.

And damn those memories, fragments of a life unlived,
Odds and ends of lovers and friends.
Remnants of an unforgettable past,
Hinder seizing a brighter future.

But for what?
Promises forsaken,
Shallow dreams taken and lost in a sea of reality.
And memories of building castles in the sky,
Only to live in shacks on the ground.
Memories of solace in fantasy
For dreaming of what couldn’t be,
Was all the world could offer me
Now memories of a dream,
Keep me up at night.

- Alison Stephanie Erlwanger
December 6, 2009


Wait for Me

Wait for me.
Wait for me eagerly,
As virgin waits for wedding night,
As scared child waits for morning light,
Wait for our wish to be granted.

Wait for me with prayer on lips
As mother waits for wayward son,
As athlete waits for victory run,
Wait with belief that you will be answered.

Wait for me expectantly,
As farmer waits for summer rain,
As cynic waits for lovers pain,
Wait with the faith my coming is assured.

Wait for me joyously,
As school child waits for holidays,
As dreamer waits for better days,
Wait with a heart lost in bliss.

Wait for me passionately
As singer waits for number one,
As flowers in bloom wait for the sun,
Wait with unquenchable thirst for me.

Wait for me patiently,
As hearts wait to be lost and won
As stars wait to be wished upon,
Wait for me and I shall come…

- Alison Stephanie Erlwanger
December 6, 2009



First summer rain pelts thirsty earth
Bearing life, nature’s rebirth.
And water flows down slippery slope,
Full of promise, full of hope.
It rains on tired empty soul,
To heal the heart, to make it whole.
So let the waters cover you,
Bathe yourself in summer dew
Feel the waters calm caress,
Envelope you with tenderness.

- Alison Stephanie Erlwanger
December 6, 2009

Erlwanger PicAlison is a Zimbabwean/Zambian aspiring writer concurrently pursuing a career in International Development. She enjoys poetry, prose and everything in between, and hopes to someday blend together her writing with her passion for social justice activism and economic development.

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