Drafting Poetry With Anna Zgambo

Open Window University

14 June 2024




My first experience eating lumanda

At the barbecue lunch market

On Los Angeles Boulevard.

It was a beautiful green

Vegetable, pounded.

Convinced it had tamarind,

But that was natural tanginess.

Smooth and tasty,

Yet no chewing required.


By Dr Ayan Ahmed









Around the Fire


The beauty of visiting the farm

comes when we sit around the fire

as a family after a long day.

Wood catches fire

as we undress maize cobs,

listening to Mum’s folk tales—

only then do I feel at home.

Dad’s laughter flickers,

roasted maize oozes odour

and the chilled night chirps.

We sparkle around the fire.


By Chipego Chibizwa







I get on a bus after a busy Monday,

worrying about my naughty

ten-year-old boy at home.

What mess will I find tonight?


My son grew up with my father

for seven years until finally

Dad handed him over

to me upon noticing misconduct

that he had failed to handle.


Every tantrum reminds me

that it’s my parents fault.

But I can’t confront them

because, in our culture,

they are elders

who deserve respect.


So I swallow tears

and assure my parents.

Don’t worry, I’ll work on him.


My soul is torn, 

realising that I must honour

traditions even when

elders are at fault.

This is my daily ride.


By Tony Nkhoma
















Arcades Gym


Bouncing with energy,

clients walk in and out

strutting with stamina.

Sweat drips off chins,

music calms heads and hearts—

fit figures give hope to the weak

that all things are possible.

Sweat dripping like a tap,

everybody’s quiet

except for machines rumbling

and instructors growling:

Come on! Come on!

One, two! One, two!


By Mary Mukuka










Lozi Bride


Cold air and laughter on a Saturday morning,

The bride was eager to marry her groom.

We heard hooting

And became anxious, whispering:

They are here! They are here!

The gate opened and women ululated.



Floral chitenge concealed the bride

The groom’s family flung cash

As his aunties uncovered the bride,

Tucking money on her body.



The bride’s father gave her away

with words so soft that the bride cried

and we all wept and that’s how our bride

was taken to meet her groom.


By Kufananji Mwanza
















Ready to dance,

the woman sits down

on reeds covered with chitenge. 

Drumming begins,

but she doesn’t shift.

Finally, she asks for another

person to play the drum.

The new beat moves her,

and she dances vigorously.

Annoyed, the first drum beater

quarrels with his successor.

The two musicians fight,

interrupting the dancer.

Eeh, stop that!

Onlookers shout

until the fighting stops 

and dancing continues.


By Derick Singogo













Baby Shower 


Sekeleleni, baby shower

Umwana aletensasa

Whistling, drumming twapalwa,

Umwana afyalwa.

Ribbons of laughter,


Gift presentation

Shaneni, sefyeni,

Ukulya, ukunwa,

Umwana afyalwa—

Family union.


By Aidah Mumba














A lady flamed my faith in the future.

She shimmered from head to heels,

God must’ve grinned when sculpting her. 

Gathering keys to open up,

I invited her for a drink in town,

but shyness shut my lips. 

I prayed for boldness to tell her.

When courage came, my tongue said

that I intended to marry her

and churn out children that resembled us.

She took time to respond, promising

to get back to me in two days’ time.


By Karokora Leolidas












Chilanga Mulilo


Happiness bursts from the bride’s family. 

Relatives receive roles

and everyone prepares:

Chikanda, soda, beans, fish….

They march to the market. “K5 pano!”

Marketeers shout prices,

Negotiations add to the noise.

Tired and unkempt, the family buys food

In readiness for the following day.

The sun kneels, night leaps. 

Drums applaud in the bride’s home—

Her house dances to joy’s song.


By Grace S Chilwalo










Kariba Dam


I visited Kariba Dam on a bright Sunday,

rushing straight to the middle of the bridge

to see Zambia on my right

and Zimbabwe on my left.

The vegetation took me back to the village,

I could almost smell kasongole.


Kariba Dam, a factory known for power generation,

but to me, a bridge back to childhood.

The hum of generators soothes me like a lullaby.

My mother roars in Kariba’s drumbeats.  



By Emmanuel Muzhila














Tasting Memories


Nothing tastes as good as a memory.

The fragrance of burning charcoal,

Sizzling T-bone and the aroma

Of mealie meal take me back.

Imwe tailapya.

Local languages hollering

Cars screeching on a busy day, 

It reminds me I’m not alone.

A hot plate of nshima,

Side bowl of visashi—

Savouring a meal of conversation.

Reminiscing, now knowing

Nothing tastes as good as a memory.


By David Chiza Gondwe