Monday, September 23, 2013

Poet/author Kofi Awoonor killed in Kenyan Mall Mass Murder by Extremists

Kofi Awoonor (March 13, 1935 – September 21, 2013) was a Ghanaian poet and author whose work combined the poetic traditions of his native Ewe people and contemporary and religious symbolism to depict Africa during decolonization. He started writing under the name George Awoonor-Williams. Professor Kofi Awoonor was among those who were killed in the September 21, 2013 attack at Westgate Shopping Mall, Nairobi , Kenya , by the Al-Shabaab militant group. . . . He was in Nairobi as a participant in the Storymoja Hay Festival, a four-day celebration of writing, thinking and storytelling. He was due to perform on Saturday evening before his death. The Ghanaian government confirmed his death the next day. His son was also shot, but was later discharged from hospital.[3]

The Weaver Bird
By Kofi Awoonor 

The weaver bird built in our house
And laid its eggs on our only tree
We did not want to send it away
We watched the building of the nest
And supervised the egg-laying.
And the weaver returned in the guise of the owner
Preaching salvation to us that owned the house
They say it came from the west
Where the storms at sea had felled the gulls
And the fishers dried their nets by lantern light
Its sermon is the divination of ourselves
And our new horizons limit as its nest.
But we cannot join the prayers and answers of the communicants
We look for new homes every day,
For new altars we strive to re-build
The old shrines defiled from the weaver's excrement.

Songs of Sorrow
By Kofi Awoonor 

Dzogbese Lisa has treated me thus
It has led me among the sharps of the forest
Returning is not possible
And going forward is a great difficulty
The affairs of this world are like the chameleon faeces
Into which I have stepped
When I clean it cannot go.

I am on the world’s extreme corner,
I am not sitting in the row with the eminent
But those who are lucky
Sit in the middle and forget.
I am on the world’s extreme corner 
I can only go beyond and forget.

My people, I have been somewhere
If I turn here, the rain beats me
If I turn there the sun burns me
The firewood of this world
Is for only those who can take heart
That is why not all can gather it.
The world is not good for anybody
But you are so happy with your fate;
Alas! the travelers are back
All covered with debt.

Something has happened to me
The things so great that I cannot weep;

I have no sons to fire the gun when I die
And no daughter to wail when I close my mouth
I have wandered on the wilderness
The great wilderness men call life
The rain has beaten me,
And the sharp stumps cut as keen as knives
I shall go beyond and rest.
I have no kin and no brother,
Death has made war upon our house;
And Kpeti’s great household is no more,
Only the broken fence stands;
And those who dared not look in his face
Have come out as men.
How well their pride is with them.
Let those gone before take note
They have treated their offspring badly.
What is the wailing for?
Somebody is dead. Agosu himself Alas! a snake has bitten me
My right arm is broken,
And the tree on which I lean is fallen.
Agosi if you go tell them,
Tell Nyidevu, Kpeti, and Kove
That they have done us evil;
Tell them their house is falling
And the trees in the fence
Have been eaten by termites;

Ask them why they idle there
While we suffer, and eat sand.
And the crow and the vulture
Hover always above our broken fences
And strangers walk over our portion.

Upon Hearing That Kofi Awoonor Is Dead
Death, thou art derelict--

your flavor, 
your edgeless sting,
your timeless amnesia


your habit of arriving
after we are dead
of dying
after we are dead

Jerry W. Ward, Jr.
September 22, 2013

No comments:

Post a Comment