Kaa Chonjo

Lost and helpless,
Her passport taken away
Her ID taken away
In search of a better way
Paid them to chase the dream life
But ended up paying with her freedom
Lost without friends in a foreign land
Her dreams lost to slave masters
Beaten and abused,
Raped and they were amused.
Left his home country,
Only to be forced into labour
Paid with lashes,
His dreams, burnt down to ashes
His whole life flashes,
Because he would rather die
Than be forced to live a lie,

Open your eyes,
Feel the cries;
Of Kenyans in the Middle East
Trafficked like worthless beasts
Feel the cries;
Of young girls in our streets,
Enticing you to the sheets,
Only to give that money to pimps

Feel the cries;
Of child beggars,
On their feet, jiggers
On their hands, blisters
On their feet, barely slippers
Of their clothes, tatters
If only for their masters,
To elicit your unknowing pity
And in their bowls throw in that fifty
Kaa chonjo, ndio uwe sauti yao

It all started in the name of poverty,
Parents selling off some of their children,
If only to be able to take care of the rest
It all started in the name of culture,
Women and animals being offered,
To appease rival tribes as peace offerings
It all started with colonization,
Paramount chiefs exchanging their subjects,
For pieces of silver, mirrors and bottles
It all started with urbanization,
Smugglers promising desperate young people,
With jobs and a better life in the city,
Only for them to be forced into prostitution,
Only for them to be forced into drug peddling
It all started with ignorance
You and me in the dark
Not knowing that slavery exists, today!
Not knowing that we could fall prey, today!
Kaa chonjo, ndio uwe sauti yao

Entire communities engage in this
From Indians to Africans
Arranged marriages, the village match-maker
A Young girl abducted by the riverside,
Taken home by the men and defiled
Only for the community to sing praises
Telling her that she is most fortunate
A husband she doesn’t choose,
A man she doesn’t love
Every night she cries in her sleep
Kaa chonjo, ndio uwe sauti yao.

Poem by Bernard Muhia

*Kaa chonjo, ndio uwe sauti yao is Swahili for ‘be alert so that you can speak up for the voiceless’.

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