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Nkirote Laiboni was born in Kenya in 1982, and grew up surrounded by books. She began writing poetry and fiction as a teenager to let off steam about the injustices she observed around her. With a background in law and human rights, Nkirote has always been interested in exploring how creative writing and other arts can be used as a vehicle to promote social justice, human rights and peace.

She is inspired by such African writers as Chinua Achebe, Ben Okri and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and hopes to see more African women writing and getting published.

Kiswahili version


Njoo kwangu, wewe husema
Moyo wangu mzito naubeba

Kwa uchovu, tabasamu nimelichora
Kwenye uso huu uliochakaa

Najaribu kutoangaika
Na huruma natarajia

Navuta maungo haya yaliyovunjika
Naja kwako, na ninatikisika

English version


Come to me, you say

And with heavy heart,
A smile painted on this tired, old woman's face,
Struggling not to fall apart
Hoping for a coup de grace
I drag my broken limbs -

I come to you
And come undone.
See How They Stare
English version

See How They Stare

See how they stare
See how they stare

See how they dare
Stand there,

and without a care
eye me, with

that mix of fascination and disgust
only preserved for

the one-eyed ogre,
the two-headed monster,

the three-legged man,
the four-breasted woman.

See them stare,
with bulbous noses up in the air

Watch how they look
at me,

their mouths agape, and
eyes wide like saucers

As if am some mammal
that is extinct, like

that lioness that adopted a dik dik
Ready to click click

their cameras
Like it is their first safari

Or, they have just seen a rastafari
in deep meditation
See how they stare
Heads bobbing side to side,

like puppets on strings
Amazed, as if

a prodigal son has returned
Stupefied, as though trees grow on the pores of my skin,

and mountains sprout out of my head,
instead of hair

See their chests puffing with self-importance
See them point

See them shriek
See how they laugh

At this skin,
That is two shades darker than theirs.

© N.L., 2009