I draw inspiration from articles I have read on neo-colonialism as well as personal experiences with advice given to me by women of older generations. Through my poems, I hope to embody two messages: firstly, that women are potent in their dual identity that honors traditional stereotypes while embracing modern-day opportunities, and secondly, that Africa will come into its own – an ode to its self-imposed rebirth.
To be an African woman
Is to exude the very essence of my motherland;
It is big shoes to fill, a hardened throne to sit.
We are gatekeepers of customs, of culture,
Savouring every last drop of palm oil,
And preserving fireside folklore, incantations.
Woman is lioness, tigress and yet human,
Bearing the weight of her offspring, their burdens
Against her fortuitous spine, her tender bosom.
It is sacrifice in the name of womanhood
And a calling to nourish, to nurture -
A dedication to descendants.
It is an oath to occupy specific spaces:
An expectation to be as homemaker is,
To serve patriarchy in silent revolt
And to satisfy hunger, quench thirst.
It is a lifelong attempt to assuage
The daily woes of warriors, of men.
But it is too easily forgotten that
To be an African woman, today
Promises a perpetual dilemma
Of being drawn to Western fantasies,
Overseas dreams of matriarchy:
“I am woman, the breadwinner”,
But also, being torn by traditional realities,
Seeds sewn by forefathers many moons ago:
“I am woman, mother of generations”.
Chrissie Akesi Chinebuah is a graduate of Boston University in Massachusetts, USA, City University of London and BPP Law School in London. She is currently pursuing a legal career in Ghana. Since she first began writing poetry in 2010 she has been published four times, including in the Momaya Press in 2018, and is soon to be published by Agbowo. She also served as the editor-in-chief at Boston University for a publication entitled The Chimaerid. She finds inspiration through themes explored in African literature and in her experiences as a Ghanaian abroad and most recently, a returnee to Ghana.