R.I.P Kofi Awoonor (Letter from Nairobi: “I Will Say It Before Death Comes” Posted by Teju Cole – NewYorker)
On Saturday, September 21st, the Ghanaian poet Kofi Awoonor was shot dead at Nairobi’s Westgate mall by terrorists. He was one of dozens of innocent victims of the massacre, for which the Somali group Shabaab claimed responsibility. I was about a mile away during the attack, giving a reading at the National Museum. During the reading, as word of the attack filtered in, people answered their phones and checked their messages, but, onstage and oblivious, I continued taking questions from the audience, including one about “the precariousness of life in Africa.”
Book blogger Kinna Reads congratulated Professor Awoonor for his command of language, saying “He spoke Fanti as fluently as Ewe”. Professor Awoonor’s early poetry was heavily influenced by the dirge-singing traditions of his native Ewe tribe.
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Kwame Dawes Reads The Weaver Bird
The Weaver Bird
By Kofi Awoonor
The weaver bird built in our house
And laid its eggs on our only tree.
We did not send it away.
We watched the building of the nest
And supervised the egg-laying.
And the weaver returned in the guise of the owner.
Preaching salvation to us that owned the house.
They say it came from the west
Where the storms at sea had felled the gulls
And the fishers dried their nets by lantern light.
Its sermon is the divination of ourselves
And our new horizon limits at its nest.
But we cannot join the prayers and answers of the
We look for new homes every day.
For new altars we strive to re-build
The old shrines defiled by the weaver’s excrement.