Damned. Gifts.

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Missing mothers loom large. And on this day that marks 22 years since Mama’s passing, this understanding grows clearer. Paps was a great stand-in. He was doubly warm, kind and giving. Made enough noise to distract me from the gap, the deep shadow, the sorrow.

His gift for me was the power to forget, to dull heartaches of the worst kind. But when I lost him too, I had to teach myself to remember. Too much had slipped into the void, imagined as unimportant.

I got a tattoo, wore her clothes, took pictures until finally I wrote down my thoughts. First as a poem, then a letter and now, an essay.

Damned. Gifts. appears in Jalada 05/Transition 123: The Fear Issue launching at London’s Africa Writes Festival.

Read it here.

Cover art

Africa Writes x Jalada Festival Schedule

SAT, 1 JULY

Jalada Africa: Crossing Borders
13:30 – 15:00
Showcase: Creating living connections between writers and readers in East Africa.

Kanga Exhibition and Sharing
15:30 – 17:00
Learn about the history of the textile and bring your own kanga for this interactive session on proverbs in Swahili and English.

The Issue of Fear
16:45 – 18:00
Launch of the Jalada 05/ Transition 123 collaborative issue, with Sara Bruya, Nicole Terez Dutton Tayu Neogy and Wanjeri Gakuru.

SUN, 2 JULY

Translation Roundtable
13:00 – 14:15
Uncovering the processes and politics of translating into and between African languages. With Jalada Africa and others.

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