“I am a poem/ will you recite me?”
That was how Harriet Anena’s powerful, I Bow for My Boobs performance ended with a well deserved standing ovation. I am still trying to find the perfect way to describe it though. I was very surprised, pleasantly surprised when she said it is only her second performance. It’s as though she was born for this. Performance poetry, that is.
The poetry is rich with very vivid imagery. It is bold and unapologetic and demanding. She held nothing back in her act. It was exciting as it was inciting. Inciting a righteous anger. Oh, I forget to mention; the poetry is very political. It is of a beloved, with Uganda as the lover. Of course, the beloved is in an abusive relationship. (We are still crossing our fingers hoping none of the leopard’s rats was in attendance. But hell if they were, the beloved is unhappy, shouldn’t the lover care to know? Okay, I’m getting carried away.)
Anena has a very strong stage presence so it was a very intense hour. The room was dead silent as everyone keenly watched her(of course, except for the very many few times I caught myself giggling).
“Loving you is like trying to catch the wind in a basket…”
“My lover has screwed me sooo hard, for so long…and every time I zip up my womanhood, he says this is the last term…”
“I have written you so many love letters which you never read…”
“I sit by the waters of Lake Victoria and watch the waves carry the memories of our love making…”
“My son, Amama, you tell us to go forward but in which direction?…”
Those are off the top of my head. I liked the build up of the performance. It got better and better till the final second. It was an interesting thing to find out in the discussion that followed that she is a very laid back person. Performance poetry, I came to learn, is for the writer.
Again, I didn’t regret my choice. I’m delivering short lectures on decision making henceforth 😅. Okay, too early but Joel insists the movie, Half of a Yellow Sun is a must watch.
Yesterday was the official opening of the festival. Ruyonga did not disappoint. Also, I think Kenyans are a great crowd. So much energy.