When I was a child, I spoke like a man.
I sang songs that spoke life into
The very core of my people.
I taught my lips to bless all that blessed me.
I am a child of the soil and my feet are firm and grounded.
My roots reach the core of Mother Earth and I can hear
Her gentle Lullaby calming my fears of the pending
Nomadic spiritual meander ahead.
Her voice seeps into my roots as she sings over me.
I am covered with the Mother’s Song.
Pilgrims from afar prune my zealous branches
As they inch past on their way to the unpromised land. I allow men to step into my aura and sip my energy.
I allow women to impart to me wisdom of the oppressed
And I let them all bask in the scent of my blossoms
Of subtle mantras that glide out of my African lips.
My hair is long and wiry and imparts a history
Of ethnic pride.
I am a gentle soul,
My voice permeates generations and reverberates
Truth and tolerance.
I am new, old and talented.
I have no regrets for who I have become.
I am happy to be what I will become,
For I know I am on a path to fulfillment.
I am different from you.
I am different from all.
I have a face that is ready to smile
And brighten the dimmest of days.
I have known friends.
I have unknown friends.
I am judged by those who might never meet or know me.
I owe no explanation to anyone.
I breathe. I love. I cry. I bleed.
I am here.
Frank Malaba is an enigma to Zimbabwe, the country of his birth. Such a distinction is not defined by his talent as a poet, artist, writer, but by his advocacy, as a gay African male. He STANDS, though persecuted, he STANDS, to love, and he speaks his truth. Malaba loves his country, but fights for his “very being.” He invites all gay Africans to stand with him, to fight for the right be treated as vital participants in African culture that deserve to be respected. His blog, Frank Malaba’s Prosetry, invites all kindred spirits to speak, love, and heal.