Nancy is an activist poet and the Associate Editor of Liberated Voices
“My advice is simple. Poetry has feeling. It must address its subject with depth and conviction. It must be unbiased and true to its feeling in order to touch another.” Nancy Ndeke
My introduction to Nancy Ndeke comes by way of a deepening connection with exiled Zimbabwean poet, Mbizo Chirasha, WOMAWORDS LITERARY PRESS *Literary Dope* Extra-Revolutionary*Creative Crazy* (Liberated Voices). I thank him for giving me another platform for having my say and for introducing me to Nancy and other African poets. I’ve read quite a number of Nancy’s poems and writings. I’m impressed with her ethic and insights. I’m also pleased with this evolving African connection. We have been short on African representation and representation from those of the African Diaspora on The Poet by Day [jamiededes.com], which I curate, and at The BeZine, where I am founding editor.
Foundational to the work of The Poet by Day and The BeZine is to take advantage of what I think of as Global Living. This is a gift of the Internet, which facilitates sharing art and stories across borders. This helps defy the often dehumanizing rhetoric of mainstream media and the always dehumanizing rhetoric of those who benefit from fomenting national, racial, and religious fear and bigotry, not for sake of the people but for sake of power and wealth for dictators, oligarchs, and autocrats. / J.D.
“If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.” Malcom X
JAMIE: Please tell us of the life experience that brought you to your activism?
NANCY: What brought me to activism is both personal and public. At the age of ten, I was involved in accident. I suffered seizures as a result, a most misunderstood illness especially in rural Africa in the seventies. I was traumatised and stigmatized by the mis/treatment that birthed in me a spirit of defending vulnerable persons in whatever situation.
Then, in the late nineties, I worked with an NGO in a civil war torn country in Africa. The inhumanity of humans was the most shocking. This again led to my writings exposing the vagaries of war and especially toward the weak.
JAMIE: What made you decide on poetry as a vehicle for activism?
NANCY: Poetry has always been the love of my life since it was introduced to me in junior high school. Its ability to borrow strongly from emotions and sentiments ensure feelings are conveyed as near accurately as possible in order to identify with the subject matter. Poetry, I also find, has its own freedom in expression, especially free verse, which is my preference.
JAMIE: We have some readers here who are just beginning to use poetry as their nonviolent weapon of choice in combatting injustice. What words of advice and encouragement can you give them?
NANCY: My advice is simple. Poetry has feeling. It must address its subject with depth and conviction. It must be unbiased and true to its feeling in order to touch another.
POEMS [shared with Nancy’s permission]
Is the un-gluing of ancient loves,
Is the dying songs of fairy tales,
Is the admonishment of lullabies ,
Is the scattering of kin bonds,
Is a leftist swing from right,
Is Maths without formulae, and
If there is,
The sum total of outcome is dearth
Knocking family hearth with rebellion
Un-commanding the commandments with mad commendations,
Topsy Turvy is the imbalance of status quo long overthrown
Alas!! In celebrating birth we forgot death
In chanting arrival,we forgot the end is the beginning,
Children of clay baying for the moon shine in shadow of truant machismo
Is there light except light?
How about love? Does it come with color?
Who knows the day before birth and the one after death?
We are quite a mouthful us who think we know for we know bias
Ask the wind, ask the tides, ask the fog and mist about the mysteries of life,
Humility is prayer,
Gratitude is song
We are poverty itself without the two.
WHEN THE BEDROOM,
Erupted on fire and milk coagulated,
The honey dried into an angry plastic.
War is synonymous with death
Except from profiteers
Who grin with pomp and flair
At boosted arms deals
Heaven disagrees on principle
Earth receives the rogue principal
His mastery of greed as an incentive
The undoing of civilizations
Chanting empire slogans
Lads and lands are tagged
Boundaries defined and minions positioned
Henceforth learning starts
Of half truths and pure lies.
God is ridiculed and sold as a fairy tale
Men lord it over the earth
Dimming thoughts of seekers
Till, darkness dot the irises of populations
Praying to rights of theorem
While wrong sips grape juice
At the heaps of gold and diamonds
Stacked close to crude barrels
Deliverables from the smoky ruins
Of recent massacres,
Of children of the Same God.
What became of men?
Am a narrative of the road riding the wind
The shooting star in the sleepy eyes of earth
I speak the light on tree tops whispering ancient oaths of love
Am new on an old journey cheering pain on to an unknown end
Am the biased child of the moon holding secrets of lovers in tender arms
Am the invisible flow of emotions walking the isle of oaths
My foot leaves no footprints except the faith of chartered beginnings and ends
My song is the silent rays of the sun warming the bones of men at the edge
My dance is the sway of the palm tree laughing at the insulting tides
I am a narrative that is a chorus in the rapids of wild waters,
My father is the King of the words and my mother is the mysterious keeper of secrets
My siblings may be rogue but no less divine
Nuisance has embedded its parts on my narrative and now the road suffers hiccups
Potholes rival the narration soiling it with twisted beliefs of another
Now, my narrative stings with the fumes of borrowed ideology, am reduced to an uprooted stump
The agony so prevalent i have learnt to live the lie of the liar
My narrative has been hijacked by a puppeteer I tell ends before beginnings
Am embroiled with inner turmoil reducing my speech to a slur,
My narrative has been invaded by a strange tongue and I admit to being afraid
But woe unto you if you hazard my defeat
Am the child of the mugumo tree that fetches its water from the Indian ocean
And all your mutated lessons shall like a leaf in the fall, fall
And i shall rise with the wind of first light and tell it to the birds
Am not ashamed to have slipped over your slippery tongue
But damn me if I ever fall again
And this narrative of the skin on my bones shall forever thrive
A reminder that am here as no accident, so dear, deal with your lying tongue
Am a narrative of the road riding the wind,
My echo of joyful living is the screech of gravel on your ears,
You, denier of colors.
AM MANY THINGS,
As variant as the oceans’ emotions,
Spectacular like the sky and its unknown splendour,
Am the lone flower in the forest,
Differently the same with dead trees and bees hunting nectar
Am the fool chasing a speck of light in clouded breathes of conflict,
Am the song in the windpipe of a newborn
Am the voice of silence singing twilight dirges of animals on the path of extinction
Am the word in the phrase that refuses praise to common camouflage of peeling skins of graduates of ideology.
Am a son of the sun
Blemished with innuendos of a vagabond restrained from apostasy,
My home threw me out and replaced me with the after birth
Am the old gnarled tree with crooked roots and bent branches,
I sing of stars and realms of yesterdays that tomorrow shall witness,
Am the stone death to denial of the rights of the weak
Though my walk is feeble and my eyes rheumy,
I see life as more than breath and showmanship
And I roam the hostile home of my ancestry with the hymn of creation
As I wait for dust to welcome my tent,
And I shall flee to the beginning.
© 2019, Nancy Ndeke
NANCY NDEKE is the Associate Editor of Liberated Voices, a Poet of international acclaim, and a reputable literary arts consultant. Her writings and her poetry are featured in several collections, anthologies and publications around the globe including the American magazine Wild Fire, Save Africa Anthology. World Federation of Poets in Mexico. Ndeke is a Resident Contributor of the Brave Voices Poetry Journal since mid-2018. African Contributor to the DIFFERENT TRUTHS, a publication that sensitizes the world on the plight of Autism edited by Aridham Roy. SAVE AFRCA ANTHOLOGY, edited by Prof. Dave Gretch of Canada and reviewed by Joseph Spence Jr., has featured her poetry and a paper on issues afflicting Africa and Africans.
Ndeke’s poetry and other literatures in WILD FIRE PUBLICATION in America published by Susan Joyner Stumpf and Susan Brooke Langdon. ARCS MAGAZINE in New York Edited by DR. Anwer Ghani. Her women Arts Presentation was recently published by WOMEN OF ART (WOA) in Cape Coast in Ghana. Soy Poesia, in Peru, Claudette V pg 11 featured her writings with great reception. AZAHAR from Mexico, with the initiative from Josep Juarez has also featured her poetry as has in WORLD FESTIVAL OF POTRY (WFP) from Mexico under the able editorial team comprising Luz Maria Lopez. She has been featured by INTERNATIONAL AFRICAN WRITERS from Nigeria, under the able hands of Munyal Markus Manunyi; Patricia Amundsen from Australia featured her poetry on this year’s international women’s day at Messenger of Love, Radio Station; and, esteemed poet Jolly Bhattacharjee featured Ndeke’s works on her greatly acclaimed awareness anthology for 2019, India. Nancy’s Amazon Page is HERE.