Liz’s Weekly Poetry Series: Poet Kofi Awoonor Killed in Nairobi
Kofi Awoonor, a Ghanaian poet, is among the casualties of the mall massacre in Nairobi:
Prof Kofi Awoonor, a former diplomat, was killed in the attack in Nairobi. He was in the city attending the Storymoja Hay literary festival, a celebration of pan-African writing and storytelling.
His fellow Ghanaian poet Nii Ayikewei Parkes said people attending the festival had realised something was wrong when Awoonor, known affectionately by many in Ghana as “Prof”, failed to turn up for a session at which poets from west Africa and east Africa were due to perform a reading.
“Professor Awoonor and I and two other poets were representing west Africa, and there were four poets from east Africa,” said Parkes, author of Tail of the Blue Bird, who is also Awoonor’s nephew.
“The high commissioner had phoned to say that [Awoonor’s] son Afetsi was injured in an attack at the mall, and that they had lost track of [Awoonor].
“Later that night the high commissioner phoned and said that his body had been found.”
from ACROSS A NEW DAWN
We are the celebrants
whose fields were
overrun by rogues
and other bad men who
interrupted our dance
with obscene songs and bad gestures
Someone said an ailing fish
swam up our lagoon
seeking a place to lay its load
in consonance with the Original Plan
Master, if you can be the oarsman
for our boat
please do it, do it.
I asked you before
once upon a shore
at home, where the
seafront has narrowed
to the brief space of childhood
We welcome the travelers
come home on the new boat
fresh from the upright tree