THE NEW AFRICAN WOMAN: A Poem By Uju Nnama

 

I'm the new African woman, hear my story:
young but not naive,
wise but not beyond learning,
reserved but not shy.
adapting to any environment
my facade has everyone wrong.
English is my spoken word,
but my quest for culture,
keeps Igbo as my native tongue.
my ability to switch between both
would make my ancestors proud.

I'm the new African woman,
a multi-cultural background
little steps found rest in another's home,
embracing all identities with ease
ethnicity Igbo, nationality Nigerian.
Lagos made the little girl wise,
Togo opened her eyes,
Accra was her playground,
Abidjan turned her into a young woman,
The US made her a BLACK woman.

I'm the new African woman,
my jollof rice will keep you,
my okro soup will mold you,
the taste of my bitterleaf soup,
will scold you.
yet my macaroni will make you cheese,
the smile kept with the warm feeling of
the curry chicken caressing within,
Ivorian attieke, corn bread, sweet potato pie,
My sojourn has added on its own desires.

I'm the new African woman,
on a quest to make her proud,
I want to be a healer,
yet no sign of my grandmother's herbs
left to add extra letters to my name
inorder to follow in her path.
The D and R, and still no sign,
still wont make me be like her.
The embracing of western medicine
does not stop the longing,
the old ways keeps me hungry.

I'm the new African woman,
contrary to popular belief,
the education did not change me,
the degrees will not keep mama away,
will not make me any less of a wife.
My grandmother's blood flows
in me you see, I still have that touch.
That stride seen in my steps,
The skin tight jeans,
the hair,
the English,
they all have you fooled.
My treasure lies in my heart,
My culture lies in my soul,
it still guides my steps
and keeps me whole.

(c)2004 Uju Nnama

 
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