NDABA SIBANDA - POEMS
Ndaba Sibanda was a 2005 National Arts Merit Awards (NAMA) nominee. He compiled and edited Its Time (2006), and Free Fall . The recipient of a Starry Night ART School scholarship in 2015, Sibanda is the author of Love O’clock, The Dead Must Be Sobbing and Football of Fools. His work is featured in the upcoming book Eternal Snow, A Worldwide Anthology of One Hundred Poetic Intersections with Himalayan Poet Yuyutsu RD Sharma scheduled for publication in Spring/Summer 2017 by Nirala Press.
“That’s utter rubbish!”, she wrote.
The limping athlete had won the race.
The article writer described the athlete
as someone who enjoyed popular success--
even warning people that he was set to win
in the future with or without limbs and eyes.
The gimpy runner was known for his love
of luxury. He had a fleet of poshy cars.
He threw lavish party after lavish party.
Did he have a modicum of care in this world?
When did it become a crime to spoil
oneself with fun, with overseas trips and all?
People always whispered that he had cruel villas
and stashes of sick money in far foreign lands.
It was common knowledge that the athlete
did not only train outside for major contests
he also frequented better-equipped health centres
and hotels whenever he fell sick or had a craving.
Were people jealous of the sprinter’s lifestyle?
Was it their business what he bought or ate
or what kind of medical care he received?
Was it at their cost? Yes, at all costs he flew out!
If he preferred better managed, funded
and equipped facilities, what was amiss?
If he decided whimsically or otherwise—to fly out
and have fun or a check-up, what was wrong?
Did he have to remind them it was his money--
and that he owed no citizen a life or an explanation?
Was it their business that by a stroke
of miracle he had romped to victory again?
Yes again. Well, if he did not flout rules
why was there so much hullabaloo here?
One Facebooker agreed with True,
the lady who wrote: utter rubbish.
The unemployed youth read the article
with his critical mind and commented,
“Either you are high on a killer drug
like whoonga or you suffer terribly
from psychotic episodes and delusions.
Look for the nearest asylum urgently”.
Expectations Versus Imperfections
Nozindaba, a local journalist says she gatecrushed into one lavish regional party
held by some national leaders and was shocked and disgusted by what
she overheard with her innocent ears and saw with her naked eyes.
It was not because most the leaders were proudly and loudly
saying they were the unwavering worshipers of Niccolò Machiavelli
behind closed doors or the first families or servant leaders in public.
One old African leader was saying to a new and young president,
“So they voted us with the idea that we shouldn’t eat or think
about ourselves or our families first—isn’t that a height of idiocy?”
And The Fun Goes On
When the sun looks and rises with its smiling rays
Positive people welcome it warmly like bridesmaids
Standing in support of the bride and the best man
Making sure the groom’s wedding day pans out well
The bride’s gown might be blown inside-out by wind
Or the groom’s suit wholly dirty but the party goes on.
Our Leader Laughs In Many Languages
Leader: My people, hahaha asante sana
Interpreter: Our father says hahaha, and thanks you very much in KiSwahili(wink).
Leader: Interpreter, I`m just laughing hahaha. Ngiyabonga.
Interpreter: Our father is laughing hahaha, and thanking you in Zulu(another wink).
It Is Theirs, Please Do Not Ruin It Any Further
The future of Africa does not belong to obsessions with power and sloganeering like
“Down with the West, down with the detractors, down with this and that.”
Neither does it belong to the worship of lavish lifestyles and BASHES.
When bashes are held amidst a flood of awful unemployment figures
and poverty and general suffering of the citizens, then any decent
African citizen is bound to feel offended or to raise EYEBROWS.
No amount of sloganeering and posturing and pretense
or indeed silencing or wiping away of dissenting voices
will rescue Africa from the socio-economic woes of the DAY.
The young groups are having a lot of unanswered questions:
when will African leaders nip corruption in the bud or own up
to their failures and follies and prioritise development and PEACE?
The youth want to be the game changers, the masters
of their destinies and dreams, the voices of reason--
but are leaders listening to them, giving them SPACE?
What if the youth have the gift of sight to see a better Africa, a blessed
continent whose time to become the economic and cultural powerhouse
of the world is no longer a mere wet, pipe dream- but a reality of TOMORROW?
Are you going to give the youth the opportunity to take part in rebuilding
and reinventing Africa so that it does not remain stuck in endless wars or poverty
or remain vulnerable and amenable to neocolonialist machinations and INSTITUTIONS?
The youth are saying if it is true that the older we become the wiser we are then why do
we still have sixty-something year old, tired, clueless and useless folk masquerading
as saviours and youth leaders in some African nations or presidents whose terms EXPIRED?
Their message, their plea, their position is as simple as “nothing is for us without us.”
They are saying some African leaders will tell you “we have this and that for the youth
and the women” but when one looks at it realistically there is no funding but ABUSE.
It is clear that the future of Africa does not belong to the greedy geriatric dictators
or the dinosaurs who no longer fit in with the fast-paced realities of this world
but to the youth of substance, vision and courage, so that it moves FORWARD.
The man with a sprinkling hair in head said,
“You can have a coconut-oiled hair or
a lotioned body that glimmers like a star,
but if you don’t wash your body thoroughly
you are as good as a rancid food eater who thinks
his mouth and tummy are the refuge for freshness”.