African Woman

Kristina Rungano

Young damsel weeps
Sighs silently for home
She the property of men
Pass’d ’tween them from hand to hand
Fragile piece of glassware
Valued in dollars and cents
Slaved like a machine
She is left no say, no right
Her feelings but idle whims.

Young damsel weeps
Pleads sadly for understanding
But there is no place in our culture for love
She is beaten by men
Pass’d from hand to hand for a price
$900 her father charged her husband
$900 and head of cattle
– Cows are killed for beef
– Dollars buy clothing and food
She is milked . . .
Imprisoned beauty
Fed and fatted for childbearing
Her opinion but a fitty-fact.

Young damsel weeps for her tomorrow
But he who hears feigns deafness
Young damsel fruit of the land
Socialised into acceptance of her fate
Mother and benefactor
Young damsel, priceless jewel
Treated with reference worse than a child
She weeps today
Her anger swells
But she lives on

Last updated October 29, 2022