I AM AFRICA – Ololade Akinlabi Ige (1st Prize)

I am the dusky son
of a hefty tripod sun
which dangles on rusty roof
and barks like a dog’s woof

I am Africa.

I am the product of an aged heritage,
My father’s fathers were inerudite sages
and with their replete basins of wisdom,
they made a fifty-three vast kingdoms

I am Africa.

My epidermis is a glittering coal,
Gleaming like an edible fruit of a Cole.
I am the rubbles of darkness in the night
And stripes of lightness at night

I am Africa.

In me are numerous temples of beauty,
I am a replica of my pretty mother.
I am lanky, vastly chubby and very dark.
I own ample wealth and honey, I don’t lack.

I am Africa,
Found in me are chunky mountains;
Between them are sacred fountains-
The oceans, the Niles and gurgling lakes,
Very white like the sheen eyes of daybreaks.

You can search in me greener pastures,
I am that fertile land filled with organic manure.
My skin carries ego and the identity of pride
When you behold me, you shall see a noble pride.

I am the A in Accordance,
The F in Fertility,
And the R in Redemption.
I am the I in Indispensable,
The C in Cultural-value,
And the A in Abundance.
I am Africa.

HOW TO TELL THE AFRICAN STORY – Olanrewaju Moses (2nd Prize)

There are many ways to tell the African story;

Sometimes, you can tell it in pages of black and white,

And stand aside as black or white.

You can write about the boy who became a burnt cake in a white party

And next morning, you find white papers screaming his name in black ink

Because he touched a white girl that was not his sister


If you decide to be white, you are fine –

Because you get to walk in Italian heels,

And call your mother a witch

Because God does not like women who drag their feet –

Especially women with tribal marks

That remind you of the coastlines of Zambezi.


And if you decide to be black, well –

Pray that these western waters do not sweep you off your feet

Because when the rain comes

You might find yourself sunbathing at the bank of River Thames;

Or you can pray that you do not uproot your roots

With those hands you lift to sing hallelujah chorus


There are many ways to tell the African story

Sometimes, it begins where you slept off

The flavor of your mother tongue

From the mouth of a child

Because he does not wear the white man well;

Other times, we can tell our story under the moonlight,

Hiding behind a shadow that doesn’t belong to us,


But then, what is a story without an audience?


CHILD OF THE SOIL – Akinwole John Akintayo (3rd Prize)

I smiled the more when I saw
The image smiling back at me in the mirror
I slowly traced my tribal marks
One after the other with awe.

I stepped out into the sun
My black face shone brightly
To myself, I’m a proud African son
And I’ll flaunt myself gracefully.

I stopped to pluck an hibiscus flower
And I noticed a feral animal
Slowly pacing around an iroko tree
Oblivious of my presence yet
sensitive in readiness for a prey.

I brought the flower close to my nose
And slowly inhaled the sweet scent
I strained my ears and heard crows
From a cock in the distance.

I woke up feeling fly
The cock has done its job
I had been dreaming
But I’m still a proud child of the soil.


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