to be African, to be Woman, to be Creative, to be Fashionable, to be Intelligible, to be be IMARA

imara by Mshana

This is the canvas and the pages on which I curate and display the life I wish to create for myself and other liminal hu-women like myself. I explore here my passion for fashion, present my literally inspired visual arts, write my visual arts inspired written works, share my linguistics, travel diaries, show my finding comfort in food, and heck, whatever else I feel like... Welcome and enjoy!

Letter to an African child

a message of hope

Dear child,

Mungu made you from my fertile soil and I bore you as seed. Grow! My fertile soils support those of your kind. If baobab seeds grow into strong trees so shall you. You will be firm and you will be big, hard to ignore because your leaves in the fall will fall and because your branches will be long and your body wide, you shall leave a piece of you far and wide.

Dear child,

They will speak of you with pride like how they speak of me. The stories of when it all begun, my rise, shall start with you. You, you will be as unapologetic for your color as the fabric I carry you with. My fabric. You will have the courage to stand out after fitting in, the courage to be comfortable in your own skin…the courage to take any shape or form, be a skirt, be a shirt be a gown…you will be. You will be as unapologetic for your shape and sound as my drum. You will move people with your sound and learn that your shape, big and round makes the loudness of your sound.

Dear child,

You will live the cultures and admire the philosophy of your people. You will find out the world inherits its roots from the roots of your people and then, just then you will learn to appreciate the stubborn roots of your hair because the strength to uproot colonialism emanated there.

Dear child

Your being will tell the world of the greatness that was me, the one they all must come to see. The whole world will cross skies to meet you like how they then crossed seas to meet me and stole what I had been saving to gift to you: your sugar, your tea, your cotton, your diamonds, your silvers, your golds, your gods…your gods will restore all those and more. They will gift your tongue with my tongue and you will speak of me as the great motherland I am. You will learn to tell the story of me as a story of victory, not defeat. And because of that, you will bring the world to its knees and me on my feet.

So, be! Be born my child.