Sisi kwa sisi
(Between us)

Futeni jazba,
Tupilieni mbali siasa.
Hii ni enzi,
ya Utandawazi.

Fungueni milango,
Kaeni uchi,
Wakaribisheni Waheshimiwa
Ma-nzi, Masiafu, na Mende.
Hii ni sera,
ya Uwekezaji.

Acheni kasumba!
Kuleni mtama,
Kama sio wa kulima,
wa GMOs.
Hii ni ‘zesheni,
ya akina-Watio (WTO).

Vueni shuka, na
‘Haki ya Mungu’.
Vaeni suti,
Kama sio za wazungu wafu,
Za waafa wa Irak.
Huu ni uchumi,
wa AGOA.

Piga makofi.
Vaa shanga.
Futuru na mbabe,
Mfalme wa dunia.
Hii ni karne,
ya nyota na milia.

Bro’, umepitwa
na wakati!

Acha fikra.
Uza mawazo.
Funga tai,
Ufutie jasho.
Andika:
‘Milavu Anko Sam’,
Upate lapitopi
‘mad in usa’.

~~~

Between us

Get rid of anger
Get rid of politics.
This is an era,
of globalization

Open the doors,
Sit exposed
Welcome the Sirs (honorables?)
Flies, ants and cocroaches.
This is the policy,
of Investment.

Stop this brainwashing!
Eat millet,
If not from farmers,
then GMOs.
This is the ‘operation’
of WTOs

Take off those sheets
And Nyerere’s suit,(‘Haki ya Mungu’.[1])
Wear western suits,
If not of dead westerners,
Then of the ill-omened of Iraq.
This is the economy,
of AGOA.[2]

Clap your hands.
Wear beads.
Break bread with the giant,
King of the world.
This is the century,
Of stars and stripes

Bro’ you are outdated!

Stop reflecting.
Sell thoughts.
Tie a tie,
To wipe sweat.
Write:
‘Me love Uncle Sam’,
So you get a laptop
‘mad in usa’

March 22, 2003


  1. Reference to colarless suit worn during Nyerere’s time.
  2. African Growth and Opportunity Act passed by the United States to permit access of African commodities to the American market.

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Poems for the Penniless Copyright © 2019 by Issa G Shivji. All Rights Reserved.

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