Is it the riveting conversation? The ability to rub any, See its not conceivable. Me was not thinking of any Adversity When I thought Fanani Flava Only Nicesities Maybe It's the wine And the understanding wiles The place we've set for life to have smiles At every stage like a baby growing Though there's the late night pledge It's all a beauty wedged In its experience Fanani Flava; A place to Savor By Ketronique


Golden street lights washed the entrance to the ‘A Novel Idea’ in Slipway, inside the riveting display of books in two floors with open walls called in for another session of Fanani Flava on the 29th last month.
It was around 7:30pm that I arrived with a friend who has been a very once in a while member. I was a little nervous as I looked at the attendance. As usual, Laurent was in the shop, a bit later there was Cuthbert and I thought here we’ll have another small session. I was wrong before I took a calm breath there was a swarm of new friends in Fanani Flava. It was really refreshing…
We began with the customary introductions; there was Daniel Kimaro he noted he loves poetry, Ahmed Ali first time in a poetry session…Almat Hometo with her colleague Jasmine Fernandez from USA currently visiting. These two aren’t new to poetry or art, at the time they were helping the build of a poetry club in one of the secondary schools in Dar.
Other ‘newbies’ included Alex Hartman who wasn’t sure if he was ‘into poetry’ but awaited to see as he thought he was dropping in for a play. Also there was Laila Kanumba. Marc Mkono. Britney Urasuah, Patrick and Mariam Silas in this category it was great to have a full house.
Other members we know were there, Cuthbert Swai, Bakir (he disappeared halfway). Upendo Hartsuiker, Irena, Laurent and Caroline Uliwa…these were privy to the session’s theme which is ‘Money’. Soon we were onto the meat of the session where we digest poems and other Fanani treats….first up was a new member ‘Jasmine’
Her poem which had quotes the like ‘Heart bleeds….walk too freely.” Was delivered with real passion. Standing up this red head reminded many of member Maya Wegerif in her delivering style.
I’ll add the distinct difference with the two poets lies in their content. While Maya’s poems lend on direct and lyrical, Jasmine’s poem extends in the imagery descriptive especially in her depict of the human emotions.
The ladies loved this piece it talked of a woman’s broken heart in real terms hardly captured in this theme. The guys were mayhap a little stunned for words…
“Love it…..very relatable” Upendo Hartsuiker
“Very Feminist…” Patrick
“Very assertive” Cuthbert.

‘I give you my senses’ Upendo Hartsuiker
This poem recited calmly whilst sitting down had quotes like “Sun….raspberry..You really worked the senses”. Had the sensuousness of a lovers talk sprinkled with undeniable shared surrender, it was much appreciated for its pierce to the heart and really warranted not much discussion as it was a sweet straight dedication to a love.

I bet your wondering who brought a poem on ‘Money’ as this was the intended theme. The next poet did.

‘Money’ Cuthbert Swai
This was perhaps one of the shortest worded poems we’ve heard here in Fanani. With quotes ‘Small Big Weak Strong…Car Love…..You’ve got to have it” It provoked much discussion. Everyone at first was a little flabbergasted as it was words with one sentence at the end.
Still in talking ‘money’ it was soon realized the connection. And everyone got into thinking or talking on money and its importance in our lives.

‘……..Oh my God hivi napelekwa wapi?’ Laurent
Laurent read us a piece that could well have launched his literary career…so emotive yet illusive it displays a candid experience in the prisons of our country. So moved was the audience, with such quotes as “Oh my God 13 days to go…’GODORO YA TATU KWA SITA’ That’s roughly 6 years.” Had we all moved to think on the larger issues pertaining our social justice…

The next poem was by meself titled…

‘Money’ Caroline Uliwa
With quote going “The choice to taste of Earth’s sweet bricks…One day like my birth right…” It was met with a bit of perplexity from the audience.
“Whaaat?” Alex.
Still after re-reading it, it was to get general feedback veering towards two fonts. One that the persona in the poem is still without personal family and looking at the world for freedom and opportunity, the other that it was relatable on that Money=Choice.

Our last poem was from Irena…we hadn’t seen this member for a while….

‘Money’ Irena
With lines echoing “The mother and child, On the red dirt below the billboards….The kid cheers. There’s money here.” This poem was easier understood, with comments flying on the experiences of many with street beggars. With some sympathizing as well being annoyed by the lack of imagination in such a line of finding a living..

Well that was FANANI FLAVA March’2011 this month the theme decided was ‘BABIES’………

February 2011 Moots

Fanani Meet Feb’2011
Fanani’s meet for the first time in 2011, was small and sweet. We met at the Novel Idea in Slipway, there were six of us. Lawrence our host from A novel Idea, had all the chairs moved and ready in a circle fashion for a sweet night of poetry.

After we all streamed in, there were the traditional introductions, none the more interesting than Bakir who came last. With his personal inauguration of “I am co-founder of Fanani”. Well certainly we’ve had Bakir as long as we can remember lol. Only one new member tuned for this first year session her name being Bahati Mandago, and we had an oldie but goodie Ms Lilian Kasezo on the scene. The rest were Cuthbert Swai, Caroline Uliwa, Bakir and Lawrence.

Our first poem was read by Cuthbert…Not his own composition titled ‘Back to the Front’-Mphutlane wa Bofelo. In response to it Lilian said this was a poem “That begs for the rising of a new consciousness.” The poem truly gave reason for taking some deep look at our actions and their consequences. “To the front comrades No more slinking behind slogans Noe more hiding in rhetoric…” It was also felt within the group that the poet in question was “All over the place”-Bahati; as the poem touched way too many themes.

The second poem to be read was by Lawrence which we later came to realize was his own composition a fact at first he didn’t wish be known. It had no title it begins “Nasema Hivi…” So we’ll call it that for now. It was short and expressive. Some felt it should have gone on further as it beckoned for more illustration. Still somethings were clear, it pressed on the issue of slack pertaining to our politicians and civilians.

The next poem was by Caroline titled 3/5. Responses to it were boys v/s girls. Where the boys seemed a bit surprised Lawrence in particular that sadness could be reached by this poet. While the girls defended that well, just because challenges are passed doesn’t mean it’s reason to feel like a victim.

The last poem of the night is a poem from the late 2Pac to Jada Pinket. I’ll quote “You’re my heart in a human form…You bring climax without sex and you do this with a regal grace.”

Well ladies and gents you can imagine the comments, it was a lovely night we sipped some wine while reflecting as always laughing in Fanani.. The next theme is ‘Money’ hope to see you there with a poem and loads of quirky thoughts to share…

Tata-cococococo Caroline Uliwa



Should I be gone and live
or stay and die?
this dry sorrow drinks my blood
slowly sucking the life out of me.

We use to travel our route together
I never left you
you never led me astray
we were inseparable like sickness and its cure
like day and night
like cold and heat;
until you changed our route
for your strange route
that I never knew before nor expected to go.
You lie to me, O daladala
remember when I trusted you to carry me
through that smooth route
of quiet road and promises of tomorrow,
but where are we now?
why passing me through this route so endless and rough?

O daladala tumeshapoteza njia yetu
sasa si marafiki tena
nimeamua kuachia ngazi
sitaki tena kupelekwa nisipotaka.
And although I keep wishing to trust you again
the truth is I do not have the hope..
for it has forsaken me.

O daladala wewe ni mwendo wa kasi
Polepole nimejitoa nikuachie nafasi.

Ezekiel Kihali

August 2010 - Daladala


Daladalas of Dar
Are the champions by far
Of the rush-hour crush
The commuter mayhem.

Oh, I know, London’s tube is suffocating
Delayed trains, all that pointless waiting.
In Kigali they have bum-squeezing tricks
So that seats for 3 can fit 5 or 6.
In Tokyo, tube-pushers push you inside
But everyone is sooo polite.

Have you seen a well-dressed mama
Kick her leg up,
Thrust it through the open bus window
Pull herself in
Arse last
And launch herself giggling into a backseat’?

Have you seen passengers push and slap and laugh at the fuss

As they wrestle their way into a 12-seater bus?
And the last ones that stand hanging out of the door
Power fingers like crampons keep them safe from the floor.

The laughter isn’t kind, it’s hysterical
The passengers, not individual but numerical

No recorded - or live - voice saying, “Let passengers off first”

If you don’t barge out, delayed impact is worse.

It’s the rainy season. The hurricane’s daughter.
Roads pot-holed and deep in water.
Dalas splashing and soaking the roadside sellers,
Inside them, wet commuters with wet umbrellas.

I hesitate to climb aboard, but politeness won’t pay off
I try to ease myself inside without being too rough
Don’t want my aggressive side to fly
Until some sod
laughing kicks me in the thigh.

I’m squeezed, standing, head bent, shoulders sag,
Damp, one hand holding a rail, the other my bag,
Too many feet and no space to stand straight,
Bum in my back, bus drives off in full spate.

We are full but the bus squeals to a stop.
Through the web of arms one
- no - two heads pop.
Next, the two wet bodies force their ways in.
Re-contorted, we lurch, as the bus sprints off in a spin.

A disembodied arm reaches through
Clinking coins so we know our fares are due
And the hand takes your piece and then is gone
Then finds you out again somehow with a ticket twixt finger and thumb.

“Shusha” I call, and bus swerves to a stop
I labour to extract myself and am birthed in a pop.
Now on the wet street, the dala splashes away
And I think, let me just walk for the rest of today.

Daladalas of Dar
Are the champions by far
Of the rush-hour crush
The commuter mayhem.

Irena Pearse Aug 06

Poems Read in Aug2010


Titi la mama litamu,hata likiwa la mbwa,

Kiswahili naazimu, sifayo iliyofumbwa,

Kwa wasiokufahamu, niimbe ilivyo kubwa,

Toka kama mlizamu, funika palipozibwa,

Titile mama litamu , Jingine halishi hamu.

Lugha yangu ya utoto, hata sasa nimekua,

Tangu ulimi mzito, sasa kusema najua,

Ni sawa na manukato, moyoni mwangu na pua,

Pori bahari na mto, napita nikitumia,

Titile mama litamu, jingine halishi hamu.

-------- TRANSLATION --------

One's mother's breast is the sweetest

Canine it may be,

And thou,Swahili,my mother- tonque,

art still the dearest to me.

My song springs forth from a welling

heart, I offer thee my plea

That who have not known thee,

may join in hormage to thee.

One's mother's breast is the sweetest,

no other so satisfies.

The speech of my childhood ,

now I am fully grown

I realize thy beauty and have made it

all on my own

And though refreshest my spirit like the

scent of the roses blown

Through desert and o'er ocean may I

thy praises known.

One's mother's breast is the sweetest,

no other so satisfies.

By By Shaban Rorbert, from Jahadhmi's anthology of Swahili poetrythology



Pulsating, sweating



A choking sob

Tears flowing

Painful howling and yelling

A dark room


Bloodshot and tear stained eyes

Looking up and looking out to a dark and cold world

Tear streaked face and hoarse voice

From all the pain endured.

And yet am still here,

My hear full of query as to why I am

Fear, gripping me, holding me,

Too scared to leave.

By Glory Seruhere


Take a trip with me then

Down memory lane

Where it's all plain

For you to see

You were there

And so was I

Perhaps I am a lit'l selfish

Wanting to hear all again

But you face lights up when you share

I cannot sway

When I begin to listen

As if caught up in a trance

For nothing else comes my way

Oh that it would stay that way.

I find myself wishing upon a sky

This pleasure that we make,

None can take,

For when we are together,

Nothing maters,

Nothing interferes,

I find myself invincible to anything else,

I think I am IMMORTAL.

By Glory Seruhene



the Flowers withers
and roses wilts
It never crossed my mind
That the feelings I have for you
Is also mortal!
Our love, strong as it is
Is breathing its last.
How can special One
Cease to be
How can a divine fondness
Cease to be felt
How can a cherished bond
Be no more
How can loyalty

was a song I used to sing
praising our everlasting love
a song which now
is a distant forgotten echo.
my heartbeats no longer
plays your favorite song
someone stole your melody
and I cant stop
this sweet crime
and this poem
mark the beginning of an end
and it’s time
to get rid of tattoos
cry, our last drop

Jinory 2010

February 2010

Hate or Love

What is hate

What do I hate?

The dictionary definition is–

“An intense dislike of person(s) or thing(s).”

Hate is not the opposite of love,

Ask anyone in love, they’ll tell you.

Love’s opposite is indifference

But should I ever hate- is this a valid emotion?

Maybe, but never, never be without love

Some say love and hate must co- exist.

If I don’t hate, can I prove I ever love.

If I don’t hate injustice, can I truly love justice.

If I don’t hate war, can I truly love peace

If I don’t hate pride, can I be humble?

If I don’t hate wrong, can I value what’s right?

If I consider someone worthy, will I treat them poorly?

Won’t I hate unworthy treatment of any other

If I love good sense, in some way I’ll hate non-sense.

If I love family, must I not hate infidelity?

If I love my country and country men,

Won’t I hate the misuse of funds for selfish ends?

And if I indulge in this – my love must surely be in question

Yeah, in some sense true pure hate can be good

But never, never, without love.

Can give up some of my comforts for what I believe?

If I don’t can I really love another

As much as I love myself?

How about forgiveness?

Does it mean I tolerate all ill

No, its about my own rights

Though I know I’m owed them,

I can give them up

Here too, never be without love

I will fight and even die for something worthier

But for my defense, my acquittal

I must await a higher judge

For my heart is deceitful

Don’t the Scriptures say, above all else

And does experience not bear this out?

For in the name of nobility

I can act selfishly

If I hate all ills, I must have a higher love

A higher call

A high and lofty cause

Such as one for which Mandela lost his freedom

For which the Christ lost,

No, rather gave his life

As the ultimate act of love

The heart knows an ultimate sacrifice is made

If one hates something more than life itself

Hates selfishness, idolatory, hates injustice,

Hates oppression, hates all ills

To hate these, one must have a higher love

And for that give up ones life or freedoms

Yeah, in some sense true pure hate can be good

But never, never without love.

For love is gentle, patient and kind,

Not self-seeking or envious,

Not boastful not proud

It does not even notice others doing it wrong

If I do even noble things without love,

They will be worth nothing at all

So never, never, be without love

....Annie Forester, Feb 2010

November 2009

Choices, Habits, Tabia

What are the choices that make me,

Make you?

Choices to do one thing

Instead of another?

I procrastinate..

How do I know if I chose the best?

Or will I feel

once the choice is made

that there is a better way through?

Could my choices define me?

What do they reveal

Will I do as I feel?

Or is there more

If my choices define me,

My character.

Do I listen to my mother?

Or brother?

Or father?

What choices reveal who I really am?

Those everyday choices?

Yes, and some others

Those made in the dark

These choices can be stark

To love, rather than hate my brother

I make choices everyday

Through the things I do

Through the things I say

The times I play

And these add up

to who I am

Yes and those choices in the dark

When no one watches

Those choices reveal

What I really believe

Not just what others perceive

Those times in the dark

Determine the real me

When feelings feel unreal

Is any choice good?

Again I procrastinate

Its hard to stand alone

But if I don’t

I’m not the person that I could be

Then on that final day

Will I stand?

Will I fall?
Will a test determine this

Before the judge of all?

Yes I believe I will

Though my strength may be small

For there is another

who helps those who fall

So I will make those choices

Some large some small

And on that final day

Before the judge of all

As he determined to help me

By giving his all

With his help, I know,

I will stand tall

Annie Forester, Nov 2009

August 2009

By Annie Forester

To be the person
I was meant to be.
love must rule in my heart.
It comes from knowing I’m beloved
Made, created unique
Exactly as the creator intended
Free to grow, to develop, to work
Exuding hope and purpose
With nothing to prove
I don’t have to be something I’m not
I can be who I am – without fear.
This is the gift of life
One in which we all share
None asked for it
The gift was freely given
Nutured and developed,
to lesser or greater degree
And now I am free
To be me

June 2009

Some old, some new faces .....

April 2009

I missed You All

Hey literary fellas
And you, young stars
Blossoming warriors
Born of literature wars
Boys and girls
2nite am so happy, tis been long,
And I have missed you all

Hows life treated you?
Cant remember, with my old-youth
When I last saw you
And the person next to you
Is he new?
I’d like to tell em
“Karibu mkuu”
2nite am so happy, tis been long,
And I have missed you all

So bring on the literary dances
Play on the poetic samba
Let em words, do the twist
while some, shake down the rhumba
cos this bunch even has the audacity
to squeeze life out of sindimba
2nite am so happy, tis been long,
And I have missed you all

Lawrence, where’s that magic cocktail?
The one you mix so well
Neema, my share of popcorn
As you chair this lunatic “poetico”
With Cuthbert’s help yo!
Carol, Ginory, Maya, Elsie,
Asha, Demere, Bakir, oh! who else?
What mischief have you been up to?
Let it out, share it all
Cos 2nite am so happy, to see y’all
It sure is great to be back!

by April 2009
Only time

Everyday we sleep
everyday we awake
but who can say where the old go
or what will tomorrow bring;
only time.
We couldn’t know the past
until it came
we don’t know the future
until it comes.
In life we learn to wait
for time to decide a fate.

By Eziekiel
Roses leftovers

A cold rivulet runs deep
down meandering of rocks so sharp;
like the hate and hurt which break a loving heart
shall cause so much grief and weep
that turns into phobia
a reason to die lonelier.
She said he broke her heart
now she feels for no one no more;
it’s like blossoming red roses
that were suddenly tramped
and scatter into pieces
which can never be mend
that’s how her feelings are.
There on the thin pavements of her heart
lay broken leaves and crushed remnants
of roses leftovers
a memory of dead-love-feelings.
So all that remains in her is
roses leftovers.
Love has ceased to exist
in her cold and sunken heart;
a phobia it has become.
She fears love as death
alone is what she is
and so alone she will always be.
Love is the reason she can’t be with me
though I’ve fallen for her
but I understand; coz will never forget
the way she says
what she says when she says
about her roses leftovers.
A reason for her phobia.

By Eziekiel