in The Poem and art series

Monday 22 February 2021


Felix Omondi

FelixSheng is a slang language that originated in the '50's in Nairobi' s Eastland suburbs/ghettos as a way for the young people to communicate amongst themselves without the older generation getting in on their discussions. The language which borrows words from English kiswahili and other ethinic languages in the country grew in prominence in the 90's through the local hip hop scene of the likes of Kalamashaka- a hip hop group - and is now mostly used by many youths in their daily communication instead of English and Kiswahili.

In My Country Girls Disappear 

The Sheng version 


Kabila ya madenge yenye 

Ililoba wakati gova 

Ilikua inachea monopoly na magaidi        wenye 


Wengine wao walirudi bure            wengine 

Wakagenya na uzito

Wangine bado wako kwa iyo ngori        na 

Wengine hawakuwai rudi 


Mi uomba mercy kila time naandika poetry juu 


Sir-godi anaweza geuzwa vumbi 

Niaje mdenge anaweza omba ku 

Bakwa, kukat(i)wa, kupeanwa mbele ya 



Stage yoyote  karibu na mtaa

Ni shooting range 

Hakuna mwenye alivuka baro in time 

Kumchapia eti kusimama ni catfish 

Wakati sanse ni synonym ya point alafu 



 Wakidaisha mdenge ameiva 

Kenye wanamaanisha ni -        je

Ako old enough kudishiwa?

Hapa, ni carnival kwa mtoi kunajisiwa 

Na mafadhelaa kadhaa


Kwa zile kesi zaidi ya thao zinatendeka daily 

Wakiuliza victims timestamp, zabe gani

Na vile alikua amedunga 

Ni kaa izi vitendo vya kinyama 

Ni design flani ya sherehe

~ Translated to sheng by Felix Omondi

    Art: © Opeyemi Matthew Olukotun (@opeyemiolukotun).
    Art: © Opeyemi Matthew Olukotun (@opeyemiolukotun).

    The English Version


    A tribe of girls went

    Missing while the government

    Played monopoly with the terrorists that stole them

    Some of them returned empty         some of them died burdened

    Some are still in harm’s way           & others never returned


    I ask for mercy when I write poetry because here

    God can turn to dust

    How does a girl ask to be

    Raped & mutilated, offered in front of a cross?


    Any bus stop near home

    Is shooting range

    No one took the road in time

    To tell her that standing is catfish

    When the police is synonym for point and kill


    When they say a girl is ripe

    What they mean is  -                              is she old enough for us to devour?

    Here, it is carnival for a child to be abused by multiple men


    & for thousands of daily unfolding cases 

    They ask victims for timestamps, locations & outfit styles

    As though this inhumane invasion is some sort of feast

    My thoughts:

    Each language in my opinion gives a different kind of depth, it possesses its meaning & it has a distinct texture on the tongue. So it means so much to me that this poem I wrote about a very sad but significant event in my country Nigeria has taken meaning in another tongue, in another language - Sheng!

    This means a lot to me and I hope more of my pieces get translated across the board!

    Thank you, Felix!

    Roseline Mgbodichinma

    Tuesday 8 September 2020


    Disclaimer: The poetry is not an attempt to explain the artwork. This will just be me writing whatever poetry came to me when I looked at the artwork.

    Today we will be exploring the awesomeness that is Jamilla Okubo. I saw her Art on Pinterest and I was in absolute awe. Her art, in my opinion, is a raw and defined mix of Afro, colour and culture. Her painting calls you, mirrors your thoughts and leaves you wondering. It gives you a feel-good sense of adventure and wishes you into resonation. I want to say maybe it's just my eyes, but I know it's not. Jamilla is simply amazing.

    Jamilla Okubo's Bio

    Jamilla Okubo is a mixed-media and interdisciplinary artist exploring the intricacies of belonging to an American, Kenyan, and Trinidadian identity. Combining figurative painting, pattern/textile design, fashion, and storytelling, she celebrates the Black body in relation to movement, expression, ideology, and culture. Inspired by kanga cloth, which communicates messages derived from Swahili proverbs, quotes from the Qur’an, African folklore and popular culture, Okubo creates her own patterns in reference to the history, mythology, and vernacular of the African diaspora. 

    A fusion of Jamilla Okubo's Artwork and my Poetry

    Jamilla okubo

    Body lingua

    I soak my loneliness in wetness 

    And it is unable to dry,

     I knock my knees together 

    To silence the lips in between my legs.

    I pretend not to understand its language 

    When our bodies scrape past each other in the lobby.

    Jamilla Okubo art

    Last supper

    Many hands to one bowl

    That was my home,

    Was how I knew that 

    Boiling grain long enough 

    Will let it swell into satisfaction.

    Was how I knew eating meat was funeral,

    Our mouths could not suck on marrows 

    Or chew flesh

    Unless God struck something dead

    And left it decaying in the backyard.

    Was how I knew my mother to be a starving woman 

    Calculating & observing, 

    Marinating the meal in her saliva 

    Until my father swallowed his piece. 

    Jamilla okubo x dior

    The cycle

    You will understand

    Your mother's Night vigils, 

    Her paranoia 

    Her annoying dotting & scolding 

    Her firmness

    Her unsolicited advice & everything

    When you watch your daughter

    Becoming herself

    By reliving episodes of your past mistakes. 

    You will call her at your feet

    With confusion & anger,

    You will ask questions you already know the answers to

    You will try to fix unfixable things 

    Make calls to whatever is trying to

    Turn your child into a bone of loss,

    You, this same you 

    Will take a page from your mother's book 

    To close a chapter of your daughter's vacuum. 

    This is us

    Maybe we are a brainwashed generation

    Maybe we have become too fizzy & unorthodox for regular reasoning

    Maybe we are all the things they say we are

    Crazy - rebel - doomed!

    We have vomited status quo

    Trampled conformity underfoot

    Decided to live happy and free

    On our own risky terms.

    We have apologised to our parents

    Forced them to bury their expectations

    Because we would rather parent plants & cats

    Than produce people who will inherit our problems

    Maybe this is us

    Wanting to relax and be taken care of

    Wanting everything in the bag secure

    Wanting the table, the seat and the whole room

    If this is us

    Is it really such a bad thing?

    Let my body burn

    I want the type 

    Of love

    that feels 

    Like voodoo 

    Something enchanting

    that will make me fall 

    Head over heels 

    In touch with my emotions


    I want to be bent 

    In positions 

    that break my 

    Bones into rainbows

    Twist my nerves 

    Into gummy bears 


    I want the type of love 

    that calls me home 

    raises my moans 

    Above pitches & 

    Let's it go up like incense 


    I want this love that 

    Lights up my soul

    With a match 

    Of sensation 

    And doesn't care if 

    My body Burns 

    In ecstasy


    Did you know that Jamilla designed the book cover for An American Marriage  by Tayari Jones

    An American marriage by Tayari jones

    Read my review of the book here

    What was your favourite poem/artwork from this post?

    Wednesday 12 August 2020



    Art spotlight

    Eunice's Art Bio

    When you can create beauty and magic by sketching, painting or drawing diverse shapes on blank paper with just a common pencil, it is no longer talent, it is innovation. Otu Eunice is a pencil sketch, visual and digital artist that has successfully painted the narrative that everything you need to grow and develop your talent or skill is innate and not far fetched. 

    It is amazing how she draws and paints amazing pieces with only a few tools, a perfect depiction of less is more. While she looks forward to having the resources to get all her art tools, she has chosen to utilise what is available and create content for the art community. 

    Eunice has been able to triumph over naysayers who try to undervalue her work because she is female or in college. She is steadily pushing the narrative that you can be good in school and still follow your dreams as she is a very brilliant English and literary student in Nigeria. She loves to read, watch anime and gosh about Shawn Mendes.  She is generally a joyous, fun and easy-going person. 

    Digital and visual artist in Nigeria

    Her ability to perfectly depict any picture given to her can be attributed to her very emotional trait, because of this, she connects with people and knows how to capture their joys, fears, facial expressions, curves, lines and body languages seamlessly.

    I am a sucker for women taking up space and showcasing their talent so watching Eunice grow has been nothing short of surreal.

    What I have done is, take Eunice's art and give my own interpretation of it. More like describing what I see and how it made me feel. 

    Let's explore, This should be fun

    Bone art

    I named this art "feelings" because we live in a world that doesn't actually associate masculinity to vulnerability. The flower resting on the cape of his neck and the rainbows just added some kind of softness to his bony frame, I love to see it. 

    Her unfinished work is an even deeper kind of art! 

    I will print this and hang it on my wall!

    Pencil sketch artist
    See! The unfinished work has me spellbound

    I just saw this and I thought "power" an African woman's ability to hold her own is a concept generations of people from other continents will need centuries to fully grasp. It is the daring eyes, the sharp wing liner, the bare chest and the fitting firmness of the headwrap, that did it for me.  

    This piece screams confidence & beauty in culture

    Female artist
    Read this post to find out why I named this Artwork "choices" Brethren a queen is a queen wi or without full hair, plus look at the facial expression, it's screams " I did it and I am going to live with it and thrive, deal with it."

    Low cut art

    Bald black women

    This version of the sketch is my fav. look at the freedom. Beauty is not one size fits all, its diverse. It is good to have hair but it doesn't define you, That's the vibe I got from this piece.

    Kdrama art

    I honestly don't know why I named this "halo" I just know I admired the piece for a while until he started to look like a greek god. Starring at it again, I am thinking Kpop, I feel as though he was taken right from a Korean series.

    Kpop series

    See eh, if you like him just print him or blow powder because this hotness. 

    Draw braids

    Can we just take a moment to admire the accuracy, neatness and precision of the braids? I can literally feel the weaving by touching my screen. 

    Our roots and braids

    This artwork is very modern yet it portrays identity. Braids are originally African and it's amazing how it has gained worldwide recognition. Everybody wears braids these days. I love it.  The whole painting, for some reason, gave me some kind of afro-futurism feel.

    Comic art of a wolve

    I think there is a kind of fierce tenderness In this photo. I see protection and an understanding of something inarticulate. It's like there is this whole world ahead and she is strong enough to conquer it. A darling but daring soul. 

    Digital art
    The digital art adaptation of this piece is just amazing, looks like a comic book or anime cover

    Art spotlight

    It's very simple, this art is magic, there are roses on her head and my name is Roseline,   So I have a soft spot for it lol.  This drawing is so dreamy, from her eyes to the bridge of her nose to her curly hair and her collar bones. 

    Pencil sketch art
    This piece already makes me want to write poetry 

    I love the precision in the drawing and the fact that Eunice used her amazing shading skills to highlight the facial features, crisp! The roses took the drawing to a different level of beauty for me. 

    African woman

    I am getting Aladin vibes from this artwork, she looks like a genie. If I am to imagine one of my ancestors in her prime, it will be like this, looking like royalty with moody eyes, and a resting "we are the pacesetters" clueless face. (I am laughing at what I am typing but okay)  anyway, guys look at the Ankara on her head, do we all ageee Eunice is talented? Like the details!!!

    Okay, this is the End. To see more of her art. Visit her Instagram Page and be blown away!! She is open for bookings too and it's affordable, hit her up to draw you and your family members! 

    Roseline mgbodichinma's blog. Theme by BD.