This novella tells a story of domestic sexual injustice against an otherwise privileged daughter, which is committed by her own father. Kadika, Shamsa’s father, is obsessed and possessed by forbidden sexual desires for his own flesh and blood, and even after fighting so hard to suppress the feelings, he ends in bed with his only child. Eventually, this one act sends him to his death. And by his own daughter. Order your copy here.
Mfalme Ana Pembe: The King Has Horns is a political satire written in a different way compared to the last five poetry collections of Mohammed Ghassani. First, it has been divided into three categories or milango – a Swahili word that means doors. Second, each door is opened with a fairy tale that sums up the whole theme of the entire category. Third, before each poem, there is a list of the vocabulary and after each poem, there are some three questions that serve as a guidance to the interested readers.
The poem that bears the title of the book goes like this:
The king has horns, bigger than that of rhinosmfalme ana pembe
That make him boastful, threatening to attack
Less we shut up, whenever he speaks
Us to be free, that he does not like!
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This is what Mohammed Ghassani writes as a dedication of this epic:
To the country that rose, then fell down before it stood up
To the people who came out, strongly united to defend their integrity
To the tear that poured down, until lastly dried up, crying for the destiny
To the blood that was shed, streaming like rivers, deep into the soil absorbed
To the sweat that wet the bodies, and the tired muscles, for the unfinished job
To the faces that smiled, and in happiness erupted, before being beaten by fears
To you all, O my noble people
This epic I write
In your memory
There shall be no turning back!
In his foreword, Professor Ibrahim Noor Shariff has this to say about the book and the poet:
This might be the first and unique collection of poems that openly say things that are normally hidden through writers’ tricks in some literatures. This openness, however, does not reduce the value of this work in terms of figurative languages and the intensity of ideas. It just simplifies it for the audience to reach it. Through this epic, Mohammed Ghassani is voicing up the urge for liberation, declaring war against injustice and inequality and, at the same time, vowing to carry on the fight until the end.In kalamu ya mapinduzi: mapambano yanaendelea
On the Introduction of this book, Professor Said A.M. Khamis, who has also edited the manuscript, writes the following about the poet and his style of writing:
“Several years ago, Mohammed Ghassani sent me his manuscript to read, edit, write an introduction and then help him to get a publisher. The moment I started his first poem, I found myself taken hostage by his magic power of playing with words. Those simple and common words used in daily life, he was able to turn them into deep feelings and strong thoughts and, at the same time, sweetened them to let the heart swallowing them with pleasure and excitement. I knew, I have met a genius in Swahili poetry.”
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