Mildred Ngesa describes herself as an “unapologetic pan-Africanist.” And now, the journalist has tried her hand in poetry and published an anthology with a peculiar and intriguing title.
What exactly does Black Tipped Nipples allude to?
“Many people are stunned by the title, and at face value, some immediately think the title alludes to something sensual or seductive, but this far from it,” says the former Daily Nation features writer.
She explains that the sole poem, "Black Tipped Nipples", from which the anthology’s title is derived, speaks of lamentations against oppression and racism.
But then, again, argues the communication director at the African Women’s and Communications Network, (Femnet), the reader has the discretion to interpret it.
“The most that the poet can do is to weave the lines and let them fly onto whatever interpretation,” says Ngesa.
The award winning journalist, also a motivational speaker, says she decided to take to the poetry writing route as the art of writing is vibrant enough to accommodate different genres and specialities.
“I am still a journalist, mostly focusing on print media and I cherish the written word and have a personal inclination towards the magical impact of neatly woven words,” she says. She is quick to add that “I write what I feel and feel what I write.”
THE LANGUAGE OF THE HEART
To her, poetry is, and will always remain “the language of the heart” and she has taken to it, because it is through poetry that poets convey “the unspoken and unmask the hidden truth about what we truly feel.”
“Therefore, I affirm the power of the pen and have now effortlessly glided towards poetry. It is a very natural progression in my view,” she explains.
In the book, she indicates that her poetry seeks to lift the lid off racism, social stigmatisation and relationship stereotypes.
“The collection speaks of the many gaps and stereotypes that we see in our everyday lives. We live at a time when homophobia is rising in different aspects, racism is manifesting itself through paranoia and relationships are fizzling into stormy judgemental platforms and stigmatisation enclaves,” she says.
“All these give rise to a social disharmony that provokes the creative mind. This is where my motivation to Black Tipped Nipples is sourced.”
STORY OF EVERY WOMAN
The writer’s poems, in her debut book, are almost personal and are written in the first person narrative, leaving the reader wondering whether they are derived from personal experiences.
To this, she says: “I write what I feel and I feel what I write… women empathise with other women in many ways and, to me, the story of every woman is indeed my story and so I write of every woman.”
She also says it was intentional that at least three poems in her collection appear to celebrate the African woman, whom she describes as her queen and key inspiration.
Ms Ngesa says she is currently working on a second book, “in celebration of the bravery of the girl-child” that is expected to be out by end of October.
For now, Black Tipped Nipples can be ordered from www.mildredngesa.com and is also available at Yaya Centre Bookshop and at the Prestige Book Store in Nairobi.
She says it is expected to be on Amazon, soon.