It is a title befitting the then state of affairs. The Uganda February elections, if speaking specifics! A Nation in Labour, the author called it.
And true, what better euphemism than labour to portray that which excited the ordinary Ugandan then? Well, it might have been a 2015 project, but Harriet Anena, the poet behind this buffet of poetry, got all to stop!
The titles of the poems are catchy, and yes, you will stop. Deliberate or not, it works. Anena and her buffet of poetry will keep you hooked, but funny enough, you will not read her poetry in order.
"We need no new Madiba," is the title that would bring any perusal to a screeching halt. "No Anena, we need another Madiba," you might want to scream at first sight. But wait, she had a point, she had words and now all you will feel is guilt.
"Why does one yearn for the next Mandela? When our life's Mandela is still in Robben Island?" she is asks. But then it gets you thinking; "No Anena, he is dead… we even saw Obama making a speech."
But no, Anena is not done, she has words and to quote her retrospect of Nelson Mandela; "he was crafted, grafted, made to shine. We can't stand his feats…"
Another poem interestingly titled; When I became a cow. "I was baptised a cow," starts on a comical but painful note. "Named goat, chicken, millet," she carries on.
In this collection, the giant politician, the restless citizen, the clueless youth, those struggling to heal from life's scratches, among others, are well-represented. It is after all a promise she makes in her summary.