Oh! Mother Africa, why are your children drenched?

Why is the cloud dancing in the sea?

Why is humanity reduced to brutality?

Why is protection coloured to crucifixion?

Why is the world against me?


I can’t breathe

On my cassava farm, I floated in golden chains to Europe

The fresh air of slavery romanced me with her hands of hate

My perforated glued lips laughed in pains as I toil the ground

My shining looking back changeth to a scar of charcoal

Thunder of hunger stroke me to death a million times


I can’t breathe 

The sea of sorrow swallowed me

The river of pains I bathe in 

The pool of bitterness I swim in

Tears of joy blindfolded me 


I can’t breathe 

On your plantation farms I bathe and slump to sleep

Oh!  Mother Africa where are you?

When will I suck from your succulent breast of love?

When will I test your pounded Yam and Egusi soup?

When will this conundrum end?


I can’t breathe 

Sigh of relief I want to heave

My broken back breaks like a broken bottle

My journey strides to no destination

My hope trickles down my cheeks in hopelessness

My world became a world of dark sorrow


I can’t breathe

The birth of Machines rejected my services

Freedom shines on my lips like red lipstick

The trees of freedom I climbed 

My freedom became an illusion that existed only in my phantom 

What is freedom if I am not a free man?


I can’t breathe 

A second form of slavery becomes my new identity

The colour of my skin pushes me to jail, mushroom schools and ghettos

I walked slowly like a ghost in nollyhood 

The crumbs became my breakfast, lunch and dinner 

My fellow men butchered every second

Where is my freedom if life is taken out of me?


I can’t breathe

I trekked the European shores to my ancestral root

From frying pan to fire 

On my arrival, the agent of darkness welcomed me with a bomb blast

From Boko haram to kidnapping; banditry to corruption

Where will I go from here?

The worse form of slavery is not that of the white but to be a slave in your own land

Oh mother Africa!  Who has bewitched your children?


Timnan Joseph is a graduate of law. He bagged  his Bachelor of Law, LLB  (Hons) Degree in 2019 from the University of Jos,Nigeria. Timnan Joseph has lived in Lagos and loves reading. He fears Lizards and cockroaches He has developed a strong passion for poetry from childhood. Poetry to him is food for the soul. Timnan Joseph has written many poems to his name. He writes on contemporary issues. Email address at timnanjoseph@gmail.com


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New Horizon Creatives is a caprecon international foundation advocacy and literacy program geared towards solving societal issues through art.

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