Celebrating East African Writing!

Nairobi’s Nightlife by Wanjala Njalale

At last the god-forsaken drum maker is at home

The lively sweat-drenched drum player

Blasting echoes from the womb

Of the hollowed out tropical wood

By the unceasing willowy but firm drumsticks



Revelers and disinterested smokers

Holding out keen ears

To the familiar rhythm

Resurrecting the old memories

Of dead kingdoms and cities

So identical to the weather-beaten headstones



The old Irish beer,

the staggering non-Irish client

The bum-shaking Ndombolo dancer

and the portraits of the songsmiths

Rocking Nairobi’s heart

Franco’s own creative magic

Diffusing the guilt of the ndumbas



Music of the Negroid soul

Free of prejudice and hatred

Flowing back over the waves of the Atlantic

To the repentant brothers

Sisters holding out baskets of fresh tropical fruits

At the shores that were once marketplaces of agony



These drums

These drumsticks

Blowing my heart away

The disinterested smokers have resurrected ‘kwasa kwasa’

Expressing the choreography of the soul

I am home, home, home in Nairobi

© Wanjala Njalale


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