Monthly Archives: December 2013

Giveaway Winner!

Hello everyone,
Hope we all had a great holiday? It’s back to work for me today *sob*
So the giveaway ended yesterday. A big THANK YOU to everyone who participated. Today, we pick our winner. If you don’t win this one, there’ll be another giveaway soon enough.
To select a winner, I used a Random Name Picker.
Without further ado, *cue drum roll*
Our winner is…

Congratulations girl! I’ll contact you via email with your amazon gift card for Warsan Shire’s Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth, Binyavanga Wainaina’s One Day I Will Write About This Place, and Lola Shoneyin’s Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives.

Love and chicken grease,


No Title (Because I Couldn’t Find One That Fits)

Because I haven’t posted any ‘creative writing’ here in a bit…

What accent is that? I’m often asked. And for many nights after, I try to remember where I picked it from. You do not sound African. I’m often told. And for days on end I try to remember home. Where did you learn to speak like that? Someone today inquired. And for a few seconds, I swallowed a stutter, fought an unease and still couldn’t find a rejoinder.
Whose words are these? I was once queried. You write like you’re afraid. Another accused. You’re too nice. A friend offered. Do not speak about the hurt. My mother warned. Do not speak ill of the dead. No good can come out of reminiscing about the past. You must move on, that is what strong women do. She adds. And for a lifetime, I am left wondering what to do with the memories.
Where do you feel it? A doctor once examined. Does it still hurt when I do this? Uncle T once again probed. Who is responsible? Aunt Nwinze grilled. We mustn’t let your father hear. Such things are dealt with in the dark. She convinced. And for many years I have learned to keep my secret wrapped up in leaves buried in my grandmother’s kitchen.
Who taught you to do that? Big B prys, but with a smile so wide, and a glimmer so bright I could tell my response wasn’t really required. Therein lied the confidence with which I tried to carry on and remind myself that I could only be good enough for one thing, until I couldn’t help the buckle. I thought you were good at this. He flipped. Tell me you are worth every penny paid. And for minutes I struggled with the realisation that this was only an act. No matter how well rehearsed, I still did miss my lines.
How do I explain it? That I do not recall from whence I came? That my past is a well kept secret, and the only people who are privy to it no longer speak with me? That my voice is this way because it cannot afford to be another way? That I speak like this because I might have broken pieces of yesterday stuck between my teeth? How do I tell you that my accent is made of a little bit of this and a lot of that? That I am nice only because it is the one thing I never experienced? That I only write to stop the demons from tumbling out of my mouth?
Of course I am afraid. I am afraid to feel it, to say it, to write it, because it is the truth. I am afraid to speak in a language you understand, because I fear that you will see that I am not strong like my mother. And the women like her. I am afraid that I still haven’t learned to smile without a care. And so I have an accent that covers my shame but really just sounds like my tears.


Books I Want For Christmas + Giveaway

Christmas Wishlist

Christmas Wishlist

All I want for Christmas are books! Okay, maybe that’s not exactly correct but it’ll be great to have new books before the new year gets here.
Last night, I put together a list of the books I want now!!! so Santa doesn’t have to worry his head too much about that. (By Santa, I mean you by the way :D). Without further ado, here goes *drumroll*

  • One Day I Will Write About This Place – Binyavanga Wainaina
  • Ghana Must Go – Taiye Selasi
  • Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth – Warsan Shire
  • And The Mountains Echoed – Khaled Hosseini
  • The Hairdresser of Harare – Tendai Huchu
  • I Wrote This For You – Iain Thomas
  • The Anatomy of Being – Shinji Moon
  • Crush (Yale Series of Younger Poets) – Richard Sikin
  • The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives – Lola Shoneyin
  • Pole Dancing To Gospel Hymns – Andrea Gibson
  • There you have it… If you click on the links you’d find details/reviews of each book.
    To help ‘Santa’ along, I’ve gone ahead to purchase three (3) of these books for myself (viz; Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth – Warsan Shire, The Anatomy of Being – Shinji Moon, and The Hairdresser of Harare – Tendai Huchu), so you still have seven(7) more to choose from if you’re wondering what to get me for Christmas 😀

    This brings us to the second reason we are here…

    This is my first official giveaway here and I’m super excited. I’ll be giving away a kindle-branded Amazon giftcard for Warsan Shire’s Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth (Yup, it’s the book I’m most excited about) and two other books of your choice from my list above. That’s three(3) books in all.
    To enter for the giveaway, all you have to do is subscribe to this blog (if you haven’t already) and leave a comment below with your name and email, stating what books you’d choose if you won and why. Winner will be randomly selected.
    *Entry closes at 12midnight (GMT) on the 26th of December, 2013. Winner will be announced on the 27th.
    Again, subscribe and comment… That simple.

    Love and kisses,

    Off The Playlist – Oceans

    It’s been a while since I shared music here…
    I don’t need to talk about my love for Hillsong United again so I’ll just get right to it. This song is from their 2013 album, Zion and is my favourite off it. The reason is in the lyrics (of course). You listen to this song and no matter how depressed or low you feel, you’re pumped to stretch your faith a little more, knowing that your feet may fail you but God calls you still to walk upon waters. This song makes me lift my hands in surrender to Abba’s will, irrespective of how frightening it may be. My confidence is in my Abba’s ability to sustain me, so I’ll move when He bids me come. I won’t be moved by the strength of the waves, or give in to the fear that tries to creep into my heart. I know that my feet will fail me on this road upon which He calls me, but I’m leaning on Him to lead me to a place where only He can keep me.

    Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) – Hillsong United

    You call me out upon the waters
    The great unknown where feet may fail
    And there I find You in the mystery
    In oceans deep
    My faith will stand

    And I will call upon Your name
    And keep my eyes above the waves
    When oceans rise
    My soul will rest in Your embrace
    For I am Yours and You are mine

    Your grace abounds in deepest waters
    Your sovereign hand
    Will be my guide
    Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
    You’ve never failed and You won’t start now

    So I will call upon Your name
    And keep my eyes above the waves
    When oceans rise
    My soul will rest in Your embrace
    For I am Yours and You are mine

    Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
    Let me walk upon the waters
    Wherever You would call me
    Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
    And my faith will be made stronger
    In the presence of my Saviour

    I will call upon Your Name
    Keep my eyes above the waves
    My soul will rest in Your embrace
    I am Yours and You are mine

    This song is one of my theme songs for 2014, for the road I am about to travel, the path I am about to take. I am confident that He’s with me and that I can call out to Him for strength whenever my heart is overwhelmed.

    Things – Thuli Zuma

    My friend, Joshua, introduced me to Thuli Zuma a while ago through her spoken word piece 90 Trillion, and after spending some time on her tumblr, I fell in love with her art. The poem I’m about to share with you is maybe my favourite from all her work I’ve seen (I’m not sure I can pick a favourite really, but for the sake of this post, let’s agree that it is).

    When I was young, and my parents were going out, I would always ask to come along. “Let’s go to the shops!” I’d say. “To get what?” “Things!” The answer always came, “let’s go get things”. My father loves this story, tells it all the time, it’s his favourite of me, it’s sweet I guess- but really I think it’s just because it’s his only one.

    As a kid, I used to hold my breath, just- stop breathing for no reason. Perhaps because I’ve always liked the idea of getting to start over. My heart, it’s too big for my chest. There’s isn’t space enough for it in there, space to run, space to bleed, but really it just wants room to sing, or hands to finger-paint.

    I like to paint my nails. Once when I was nine I touched a rainbow. People told me you couldn’t reach its end. I was too young to know to believe the lies of those who insist that there can’t be so. So these days, I paint my fingertips, just to remind me that I saw the face of God once before I grew up and learnt that he couldn’t exist.

    Once long ago I hid destiny in my soul, and now for the life of me, I can’t find it- it keeps me up. Some nights, I hear it rattling around some marbles I misplaced. I lose everything. I used to know exactly where home was but somewhere along the line I lost that too.

    When I was younger, I knew everything. Now I’ve learnt I don’t know much of anything at all. I know there are some things in this world so fragile you can break them with a sigh, eternity can be measured in the width of a baby’s outstretched palm, that even hardened men have sacred in them, that God-dust from which they were created and to which they will one day return.

    No you don’t have to be in jail to be in prison, you cannot build walls high enough to keep you safe from knowing. I know the world keeps turning, spinning on its axis since time immemorial, even when the clocks in your soul stop, and your world implodes, and it does this not to mock you, but to reassure you: the day will come, the sun will rise, you will find your strength, you will rise.

    I know that there are some things that make what is broken whole, things that put together and actually hold, things that make it easier to breathe when grief collapses your lungs and all you can taste is howling. And there are things that turn bomb blasts into basebys – they can do no more harm than tickle the organs inside your chest. And there are things in this world, that ease the unrest, that water what is dry, bring back to life what has died, things that make loving worthwhile and these things- they are given to those who don’t deserve it. Because- who of us really deserve it?

    When I was young, I knew everything. Now, I only have a sense of it, as in a…dream of a dream of a painting I’ve seen but I wasn’t really paying attention and now I don’t really remember but when I was young and my parents were going out I would always ask to come along.  “Let’s go to the shops!” I’d say. “To get what?” “Things!” The answer always came, “let’s go get things”.

    Now I don’t think that they can be bought, but I know like I know there are things in this world cause even though I’m half-grown, I still find myself holding my breath some days. And this heart of mine, big as it is, has found a way to beat in this broken chest most days. And I know this world it’s all but done but really our lives are ever just begun. So come along, take my hand, trust yourself if you can. Let’s go get things.

    You can see the video here.

    Have an amazing week everyone. Set your mind free, let yourself be.. Live life… Trust God. Go get things :*

    Of Mismatched Socks and Oversized Tees…

    drinking flavoured tea from coffee mugs… eating nearly overripe avocados in my grandmother’s verandah… running fingers over grand pianos and listening to Ludovico Einaudi… flowers growing in earthen containers… snuggling and cuddling and forehead kisses… caroling on the balcony and Home Alone… rooftop parties and drinking wine from plastic cups… dancing to Fela and singing along to Nina Simone… conversations that carry on into the night, star gazing, and renaming Greek heroes… smell of party jollof rice and scraping remnants from burnt cooking… nakedness, being alone, and feeling no shame… stealing appetisers and giggles under serving tables… endless chores and familiar voices… luxury of ‘quiet’, large beds, comfortable pillows, and extra soft duvets… malaria, mother’s fretting, and meals in front of the TV… sentences that begin in perfect English and end in flawless pidgin…

    Of endless prayers and special names…
    mother’s voice and anico… specific instructions and phone calls just because… quarrels with my sister and continuous sulking… the strength that was grandma’s hands, and pronounced veins… letters from the 70s, stories of London and Switzerland… pancakes and milk, and an endless supply of soft-boiled eggs… recounting breakups, tear-stained pillows, and the tightest of hugs… more prayers… even more prayers and exchanging Bible verses while wrapping moin-moin in leaves… bookshelves that reach the ceiling, reading out lines and paragraphs during dinner… memorizing favourite lines from Grey’s Anatomy, and bookmarking special recipes…
    Of evening walks and roasted plantain.

    These days, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about home and all the memories I’ve gathered here. In the new year, I’ll be going away from home again. Unlike previous moves, this one is sort of long term. This move is scary for me (maybe sometime before I leave, I’ll explain why). I’m definitely going to miss having my mum around. For a long time it’s just been us – mum, sis, and I – and maybe for the first few months, I’ll find an excuse to visit every week seeing as I won’t be so far away.

    So yeah… These are the things I’d remember when I think of home and of growing up here. What are the things that remind you of home?