Loraine Masiya Mponela

Malawi / UK

I studied Environmental Health in Malawi. I started writing as a way of survival from a very long time of living in limbo as an asylum seeker in UK where I now live.  I work in the UK migration sector.

Keeping Africa Poor

Artist Notes

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Transcript for Keeping Africa Poor by Loraine Masiya Mponela

Keeping Africa poor

I was born in a Continent
rich with the dark earth
and dark people
yet I see not the wealth
I stepped on
all my life

minerals of rare earth metals
lie beneath the ground
I pounded with my bare feet

my dusty village
carved by gullies and erosions
is now my place of worship
and death

revered for giving life to us all
but also watching us die
one by one
in all persecution of all types

We also worship
the age old sun
and the sun god only answers in
more heat
less rains and
more hot wind

the endless suffering
visited upon my people
and those like me is

the inherited government systems are all failing
serving their masters in Europe and
keeping Africa poor

I have seen so many
with a skin colour like mine
in the throes of death
from the long walks
across the unforgiving desert
or with stomach bloated with sea water
after another drowning

this is now daily news
of daily deaths
all for want of peace

my search for peace too
could have ended up in the briny waters
of the Mediterranean sea
my body admired by mermaids
for a soul gone too soon

I stand here
by how my life has changed
I was charged like a criminal
and I have survived
the potential to be a shark meal

I will still talk
on behalf of those that never made it
knowing that if there is a place
where all the dead converge
one day we shall all

Loraine Masiya Mponela

Loraine Masiya Mponela



Loraine Masiya Mponela is a Grandmother, public speaker and Writer, born and raised in Malawi. She is the author of I was not born a sad poet (Independently published – Oct. 6, 2022), a poetry book that gives a voice to asylum seekers. Loraine has received many awards and recognitions because of her work in the UK Migration sector.


Keeping Africa poor – how the past is still so much current, with not much change, if at all.

Black Listening's website front page header art and Obsidian 49.2 cover art were  created by Nettrice Gaskins

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