Author: Africana95

Eyes At Half-Mast

“Professor Okong stared on the tabletop with lowered eyes; like eyes at half- mast.” ~ Anthills of the Savannah, Chinua Achebe With his weary rising the purpose has almost been completed  Eyes at half-mast and salt and pepper strands  bear witness and testify to the being that will soon seep from a clay vessel soon pass into the void of the night  Milky eyes have begun to reflect a shroud  that no one else sees the stomach subserviently takes  the shape of a swollen gourd  and all the while the soul has been planted  roots as sturdy as ripened cassava  and heaves with the yellow fruit  of twenty thousand fervent prayers   from the last third of darkness Later this library will decompose and leave the sweet fragrance of a strange memory and an even stranger heart Soukeyna Osei-Bonsu is a poet and writer based in London. She is author of the chapbook “All The Birds Were Invited To A Feast In The Sky” and has been featured in the publication The Drinking Gourd.

A Colony of Ants

the avenues of loss don’t get any fewer this side of living. to the pilgrims who cling to the rope by one halal haribo. when in childhood wonder we learned to multiply and divide we didn’t account for those exponential paths to a seventy year hollowing or that one indivisible road less travelled. to the promised land. to the seekers who collapse with the weight of revelation until the banks of beating hearts and tired translucent skin stretches to accommodate the latest transgression’s emotions. for those this side of living. perhaps the honey of a magnanimous word will be harvested where the grass is most definitely greener. perhaps a colony of ants pour to devour the sweetness that will pile in your hands. here’s for hoping for a blessed sleep. because barely does the eye adjust to tentative light only to be swallowed by darkness again. here’s to praying and wishing. here’s to us, the class of this millennium somehow surviving three darknesses, somehow becoming the clay niche where the sun sets. Soukeyna Osei-Bonsu is a …

A Speech To The Negus

O King, we were a people in a state of ignorance and immorality, worshipping idols and eating the flesh of dead animals, committing all sorts of abomination and shameful deeds, breaking the ties of kinship, treating guests badly, and the strong among us exploited the weak. We remained in this state until Allah sent us a Prophet, one of our own people, whose lineage, truthfulness, trustworthiness, and integrity were well-known to us. He called us to worship Allah alone, and to renounce the stones and the idols which we and our ancestors used to worship besides Allah. He commanded us to speak the truth, to honor our promises, to be kind to our relations, to be helpful to our neighbors, to cease all forbidden acts, to abstain from bloodshed, to avoid obscenities and false witness, and not to appropriate an orphan’s property nor slander chaste women. He ordered us to worship Allah alone and not to associate anything with him, to uphold Salat, to give Zakaah, and fast in the month of Ramadan. We believed …

The Politics Of Being A Chinese Jamaican: An Interview With Howard Sun

Half of MZAB mag, Soraya met Howard whilst in a taxi in London. Read onwards to find out more about his his fascinating, life, heritage and culture Where are you from and what does your name mean? I was born in Jamaica in the year of the infamous hurricane Charlie but my ancestors are from the Pearl River Delta area in Guangdong Province of Southern China and they made their journey to the USA for a better life, during the goldrush in California in 1849.  My Surname SUN, in Chinese, means descendant. When did you move to London and what drew you to live here? I moved to London in 1978 having lived and studied Electronics in New York. Living in the USA was not for me and I returned to Jamaica after living for 7 years there. While working and doing some businesses, I met a girl from England, got married then decided to emigrate as things were getting quite dangerous. This coincided with a yearning to live in a more developed society which …

Scent As A Sanctuary: Aromatherapy Amongst The Tuareg

Plants have always played a vital role in the physical emotional and spiritual well being of human kind. The Tuareg of Niger are an example of a people for whom scent plays a major role in everyday life, exchange and kinship. The Taureg are a nomadic people largely scattered across North / Northwest Africa. They can be found in Mauritania, northern Nigeria, Libya, Mali, Burkina Faso, Tunisa, Algeria and Niger. The Tuareg are instantly recognisable as the ‘blue men’ due to the blue cotton turbans/garment (tagelmust) the men wear to protect their faces from the harsh sandy terrain. The Tuareg speak Tamacheq, are largely of Amazigh ethnicity and form a system of clan membership largely practising the religion of Islam. The Tuareg of Niger like many other civilisations before them heavily use the power of aroma, aromatherapy and scent as a part of their sociocultural systems and local sociability. Anthropologist Susan Rasmussen in her 1999 paper ‘Making better scents in Anthropology’ analyses culture from the underexplored standpoint of the circulation of aromas. In her essay, …