She is a visually stark opposite of her former self. Under a half cover of blankets and bed sheets made visible by the golden sunlight peeping through the window, Ife Piankhi looks on, seemingly numb.
After a few minutes, she attempts a dull smile. With a tinge of pain, she attempts to raise her hand to gesture in an exchange of courtesies. Her hands can no longer hold firmly so they are as wobbly as her shaky and somewhat stammering voice.
Her caretaker, and friend, Kaya Sanaa Mwakalobo stays close by, to help her off the bed and into the seat, and then outside. It is visibly a discomforting situation and a phase where she is not fully in control of her limbs.
On the morning of Friday 28th December 2018, Ife Piankhi was admitted to hospital in Uganda after a suspected stroke and bleeding on the brain. This is a very serious situation and condition. Hospital services in Uganda are NOT free so Ife and her family will need assistance with meeting those fees to make sure Ife gets the best care possible. The medical costs for Ife in the hospital have been set by the hospital at £12,000. This is an enormous amount of money that the family will not be able to achieve in such a short space of time. Every penny raised will go direct to the family in Uganda. Your generosity will be very much appreciated and blessed. ￼
I arrived in Cape town on the 13th September unaware it was winter. I had to find my own way from the airport because our cars were not due to arrive for another month. I can understand why people don’t see South Africa as a part of Africa because by the look of Cape town you could be in any European city. With its skyscrapers and tarmac roads it seems too developed.
But this is Africa and this is where my journey begins. For the next 200 days I will be living with 12 people I don’t know. Apart from our online attempts at conversation and planning we are complete strangers. It was a challenging decision to be a part of the team. Six months away from home, no salary but an opportunity to see a continent which I love very much. Everyone I spoke to (bar one who is a mother and understands the pressures of being a single parent) thinks its a journey of a lifetime and one they wish they could take. So here I am after consulting with my children and significant other. I am the only Black African woman on the team and also the oldest. Its a young group the youngest being 21.
Earlier this year I was a participant on the East African Soul Train, traveling from Nairobi to Mombasa on the Lunatic Line. We were encouraged to collaborate with fellow artists in the confines of a moving train and create something that was reflective of our personal experiences. The theme of the residency which lasted a week was Kovu Safarini – My Scar.
It was challenging, inspiring and the beginning of me questioning how I as a poet you explore my work in different mediums other than performance and workshoping.
I’m sitting in front of the computer trying to recollect all what I have achieved this year. It’s hard without my notebook. I have such a poor memory sometimes, so I tend to write things down. As a result I have many past notebooks collected in a box which I take out from time to time to reflect on my life’s journey. It’s surprising sometimes to see my aspirations and goals written down and to realize that some of them I have achieved. Others have not yet manifested but that I am on the way. I feel proud of myself. Especially when it seems that Life is just not going to plan. I encourage all of us to write our dreams down because otherwise It’s hard to see how far we have come.
Since the beginning of the year I’ve been encountering issues of ethics. We talk a lot in Uganda about corruption and how it stops us from developing at a reasonable rate. But my question is what happened to the African Ethic so often spoken about by historians?
When I first started reading African history there were so many accounts of the ethics of Africans. The Ethiopians were seen as the most pious of races bringing religion to Europe with their divine stature. Kemet (now known as Egypt) had the system of Maat as its spiritual foundation and I think it did them well, because their civilization existed for over 10,000 years.
So yesterday I was at home, you may as well say I was idle. I had nothing to do. I didn’t feel like speaking or interacting so I stayed in my room, read, watched DVD’s and basically spaced out. But in that space I realised how undisciplined my mind is, even after many years of meditation my mind can wander erratically. Its such a shame when I realise how much time I spend on these types of thoughts. Its such a waste.
Because I am a poet I try to change my mental vibrations through writing so I wrote the poem Escape, which honestly made me feel better. Creative processes always help me to find my balance. The death I speak about is the death of unproductive thoughts.