tanzanian poetry

“Depression”, when it loosens its grip music sounds differently

Often people with a (mental) illness turns to personification as a way of coping with it. The illness becomes an entity with a life and a will of its own. So Tanzanian author Delphina Robert writes a letter poem to her despression that has suddently left, after being with her for a long time. Nobody informed her of this “departure” but this new absence makes itself very clear: music has a very different sound now. And despite initially feeling akward in this condition, the loosening of depression’s grip leaves room to relief and to a blank space ready to be filled up with new words.

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“Return(ing) to Sender”, when that illness brings to constant lying

A visiting mother, a complicated relationship that emerges from the daughter’s hope to avoid the meeting. To avoid her worried and interrogative look on a body that doesn’t “function” properly, that rejects and shuts down. The same body her mother once fed is now rejecting nourishment; and its gradual crumbling and dissolving almost provokes a pleasant sensation, a pleasure that can’t be said out loud. Tanzanian poet Lydia Kasese describes all this and how the certainty that one day we all go back to where we came from turns into an alibi to let the illness nurture you and not react to this force fighting your body and mind.

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“A letter to my best friend” is a letter to oneself, a hope for healing

Tanzanian author Leah Gerald Soko recounts how she wrote this poem at night, her mind storming and troubled. Feeling useless and unable to do anything about her challenges in life and above all, feeling she had no one to talk to, she turned to writing. A letter to her best friend becomes the chance to open up about her innermost feelings, to face her difficulties and encourage herself to accept her pain and be responsible for her own recovery. In Leah’s words, writing has been “a breakthrough towards depression and anxiety” and it represents now a way “to heal and feel strong about myself”.

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