By Akin Jeje
First published by KongPoWriMo
Originally, "safari" in Swahili, Was simply a sojourn, a journey, That could be undertaken by Kikuyu, Kamba, Luo or Masai, virtually anybody. When the Wazungu, the whites Arrived, "kusafiri" became a mission, civilised or not, to record wildlife, observe landscapes, survey virgin territory. The hunt is on! At least, when Wazungu with High powered bunduki mow down lions, leopards, rhino, elephant, Cape buffalo... How jolly, to be on safari! Until there was much less, Flora or fauna in the territories That had become British colonies. Until the hunt turned from those with hooves, paws, snarls and grunts to those with arrows, sharp pangas, spears, clubs blunt and bows who sought to reclaim their sovereignty. They survived, declared independence, then to highlight their victory, displayed the animals left, still free to journey. Tourists now watch and click and in a babel of languages offer a flurry (behind closed buses and cars) of pithy commentary, but it's been a trek from a walk on the plains to foreigners “Going on safari".
Kinsman Quarterly’s Literature Director and Nigerian-Canadian poet, Akin Jeje, has featured his work internationally, including Hong Kong where he lives. Besides the Kinsman Quarterly, Jeje is a regular contributor to Cha: An Asian Literary Journal. His first collection, Smoked Pearl, was published in 2010 and long listed for the 2009 International Proverse Prize. Other works include, “Ping Shan Heritage Trail” in the WHERE ELSE: An International Hong Kong Poetry Anthology (April 2023) and the full poetry manuscript, write about here.