...writing the Rwanda Genocide ...

...awakening Rwanda's Genocide dead to tell their own stories ...

...righting a great wrong


Sonnets on a terrible plague devastating Siaya

Here is a heads up for all youth (but especially for Siaya youth): for the most up-to-date news and information about the corona virus pandemic, share this link to the WHO (World Health Organisation) Website with your friends and fellow youth:


BARAKOA is a sonnet sequence on the devastating effects of a terrible plague which is devastating Siaya.

"Barakoa" is a Kiswahili word which means "mask" - the mask that is the universal sign of COVID-19, the plague which has infected millions and cost hundreds of thousands of lives worldwide.

BARAKOA is a sonnet sequence dramatising the terrors of the terrible plague devastating Siaya and the state has ordered all gatherings banned (the temple gates have been ordered closed. In desperation, Siaya revives ancient beliefs in order to cope with the uncertainty and fear caused by the coronavirus. BARAKOA - sonnets on a plague devastating Siaya. The land elects the beautiful child-maiden to take the mantle of the Ankh, Siaya's beautiful soul, chant the Coronach and save the land in the time of the coronavirus plague.

Siaya offers the Ankh, a child sacrificed to appease the lord of the abyss. The lamentations, praise and commentary rise as the maiden is chosen to chant the coronach, the song of the death of nations. At the dramatic height of the chant-song, the beautiful maiden Ankh reaches the heart of Lolwe lake Victoria and there the Ankh soars in the beautiful, tragic dance of the fire bird.

On the tides of Lolwe fountainhead of the Nile, the Ankh, Siaya's beautiful Soul dances the direful Coronach, her chant-song for her beloved river Nile now dead. For, as the Ankh dances on the bleak tides the barque of the sun capsizes out of the sky at sunset with the body of her beloved Nile. As the barque of the dead makes the feared journey across the abyss of the damned Siaya's beautiful Soul sings her rage against death. The rage of the Ankh shutters the chains binding the Soul of her beloved and the boat of the dead begins the arduous journey of the return of the Soul reborn.

The Ankh's beautiful dance guides the sun boat out of the abyss of the dead and at dawn the triumphant sun reaches for the sky. As Siaya's beautiful Soul dances the joyous dance of the reborn sun, her bleak Coronach turns into the great song of affirmation , rebirth and renewal.

BARAKOA is a sonnet sequence chronicling the dolorous journey of the Soul, her perilous quest for rebirth, and the glorious dance of resurrection that the Ankh sings with the return of the glorious sunrise of the Soul. BARAKOA thus mirrors the journey of the Ankh, Siaya's beautiful Soul. As the land suffers from the devastating plague so does the Ankh. As the land remembers that, once, there was a promise made, an oath sworn, a debt of honour, so does the beautiful Ankh reach the soaring heights of the Coronach become the dance of rebirth, affirmation, renewal.

The Ankh, Siaya's beautiful soul, the flame-haired fire bird, dances the feared CORONACH (the harrowing lament and chant-song for the dead) on the dancing tides of the fountainhead of the Nile. The opening of the temple gates in Siaya marked the great defeat of the feared plague. As long as the temple gates stayed open the death-ghoul of plague stayed chained in the abyss of the damned and Siaya lived free. But as the death-ghoul went down in the chains to the abyss he had exacted a terrible promise from the land: should ever the temple gates be closed the death-ghoul would be back. Siaya people had made that vow laughingly because there would never be any day here on earth when the temple gates would ever be ordered closed. Hadn't the temple saved us all in Siaya when at the opening of its gates to all , the defeated death-ghoul had been pushed into hell - and the gates of the abyss forever locked? But the state has ordered the temple gates locked against the plague. When the plague came and the temple gates were locked shut, that opened the gates of the abyss - and now the death-ghoul of the plague roams the land free. Running to the temple Siaya finds the temple gates locked. The march of the death-ghoul across the land poisons the crop, fails the harvest, takes jobs away from the youth who are being sacked left , right and renders the land barren - not the least is the barrenness of woman in Siaya. O but there is a cry of sorrow in Siaya at the number of Siaya youth losing jobs because of this plague. And the dread of the one's in school who see their future disappear "that sinking feeling , mummy" - the future is all going up in smoke for Siaya's children, Siaya's future. While other lands have oil, cash crops and passports to jobs abroad - and money coming in from those already abroad - in Siaya the only answer for us is to go to the temple in daily prayer. But the temple gates are locked. Distraught Siaya's only hope now is the fire bird. Let that maiden of splendour, the beautiful Ankh, maiden-soul of the fountainhead of the Nile - let her dance the dance of the fire bird and thus stop the march of the death-ghoul across the land. For in an ancient time, before the temple gates opened in the land, when there was tragedy it is the beautiful Ankh, maiden fire bird, who danced on the tides of Lolwe fountainhead of the Nile and thus saved the land.

BARAKOA the sonnet sequence is thus a plea by Siaya to her ancient avatar: let the maiden fire bird dance the dance of a year and a day and defeat that death-ghoul roaming the land and snatching away Siaya's lives, Siaya's beautiful future. Let the maiden of splendour dance the dance of the fire bird and stop the death-ghoul from roaming the terrified land. May the land know renewed prosperity. May the youth find health, life, prosperity. May the land stop living in fear and dread. May the beautiful Ankh, maiden of the superlative dance steps, defeat the death-ghoul of the plague. May Siaya see days of renewed hope, health, life, prosperity. May Siaya youth find health, life, prosperity.


For accurate updates on CORONA VIRUS and on how to protect yourself and your loved ones at home and in public spaces go to the information sites given here by clicking on the links posted below. On these links you will find up-to-date news and information about the corona virus pandemic on the WHO website:


Siaya youth are especially encouraged to following this link:


Harvard University has a continuously updated website on COVID-19 in which Harvard specialists in epidemiology, infectious diseases, economics, politics, and other disciplines offer insights into what are the latest developments in the COVID-19 outbreak.