Poem#5: After A Commonwealth Conference by Ama Ata Aidoo

I am in the mood for a  poem on leaders in Africa. This after reading The Stone Virgins. The following poem is by Ama Ata Aidoo, the Ghanaian author, playwright and poet. The conference referred to in the poem is the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting held in Vancouver in 1986.

After a Commonwealth Conference


you are here
to remind me to be grateful to
– it must be The Lord –
for small mercies,

I shall not
shave my hair or
do another fasting trip at the dawn of a
day that has put more bile on my tongue.

But Child,
out there where
our thousands are dying and
our millions
do not have food to
choose to eat or

how does one tell the story of men
who are nothing at all, and
leaders who are only
skilled in the art of anti-people treachery?

I hear you: and since
does not always grow with our grey hairs,

may be,
you can tell me
what to do with
my shame, and

Our Continent once more


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