The following is a poem on “becoming something”, written and performed by my co-year from South-East-African Malawi on the UWC Day in late September. Enjoy.
Something by Nafe Chanza
When I was eight years old, I told my mother I wanted to be a lawyer.
When she asked me why, I put on my best grown up voice and said
“because I wanna have lots and lots of money and buy you lots and lots of shoes”
When I was thirteen, I drew a life map of all I wanted to be in a red notebook
Finish high school by sixteen, graduate law school by twenty-one,
establish a law firm by thirty; it all seemed so possible then.
When I was sixteen, I worked in a court for six months—Hated it.
And by seventeen, I no longer knew what I wanted to be.
At eighteen, I still don’t have anything figured out. All I know
is I wanna be … something
I wanna be the joy in child’s eyes when they blow dandelions for the first time,
The laughter in my grandmothers chest, the weight in your collarbones
When you hold your breath. I wanna be something magical.
Like the first time you saw fireworks during the day, or held seashells in your hand
and you were so sure you were carrying half of the ocean or the moment
you meet an IB deadline with exactly one minute to spare.
I wanna be something unforgettable. Like Jason Kwok’s nose ring. Or the old
Chinese lady I sat next to on a flight who felt more family than foreign.
Whose shaky voice & nervous hands reminded me of my own grandmother.
I wanna be the girl who took the road less traveled, the girl who lived for a cause
worth dying for. I wanna be the fear trapped in your throat when you watch him
pack his bags and the stinging in your cheek when he slams the door and leaves.
I wanna be the silence that screams so loud in a broken home. The black eye
of a bullied boy just so I can teach him how to heal. I do not wanna be the cause.
There are far too many of us who are so willing to initiate action and not enough of us
wanting to stay behind in the rubble of the aftermath. I do not wanna be the cause.
I want to be the effect. Because I realise that not all of us are “the bomb”.
Some of us, we, are only the explosion.