Subscribe to Newsletter
Monthly Newsletter: Join more than 3,000 African literature enthusiasts!
Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our "Guide to African Novels."

Gary-Stephens

My button was brown but pink in the inside, I liked looking at it,
The way it curled at the top, and tucked in at the bottom to protect itself.
Blue buttons, small ones.
Beauty my rabbit teddy had really nice large pink buttons on her dress.

Bathing for the party with Sissy Memuna, every drop of water counted
I washed my button well I was happy,
I was going to a party

Down the bushes, and highways,
Poda Poda’s drove off in the distance
We walked.
Wet muddy grounds swindle in my toes, and the rain drops on the blades of every grass smiled at me

Big women,  lappas  large breasts  out
Bright colorful waist beads
like the ones old mama Baindu  would have me wear every Christmas she visited
When they would shut the door  and whisper to mama about adult things

Mama shed tears,
No music, no party, just screams
We sat in a line my clothes taken from me and a cold white chalk  painted on my body

We sat in the Baffa and waited, me and twelve other girls
Memuna, marion, mariama from class 4 , Fati the girl who sold oranges every day,
It was all of us

“Lay down” , beads shaking,
1-2-3 flash!
Burning button, Hot Button.
No party music  just our screams.
The  razor, the calabash with the green leaves.

Kicking, screaming for my button, the one I looked at upside down,
The one I asked mommy for her mirror for me to see it well.

My button hurt,
It bled.,
It screamed for me to run for it, but I couldn’t.

Sing and dance they would say the few days after, silence and tears
Fati was quiet very quiet. We couldn’t sing our buttons were crying, we were crying.

My button doesn’t sing to me anymore
I wonder what mommy’s button looks like, I wonder.

 

{This poem is part of a “16-day campaign to end gender based violence which occurs during the period of November 25th to December 10th.”}

 

Image is by Gary Stephens via African Digital Arts. See more of Stephens’ images HERE

 

***************************************

About the Author: 

Portrait-Moiyattu-MbanyaMoiyattu is a native of Sierra Leone, a Digital Mover and Shaker, Feminist and a Writer. She currently teaches women studies courses at Temple University in the United States as well as does international consulting with Social Enterprises in West Africa.  She is Founder of Women Change Africa www.womenchangeafrica.com . Moiyattu is also a member of the African Women Writers Community.

Tags: , , ,

I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

6 Responses to “My Button | by Moiyattu Banya | A Feminist Poem” Subscribe

  1. Eunice Kilonzo 2014/12/06 at 05:50 #

    Moi, Oh, the button. Description is so vivid, wrapped up in emotions. I still cannot understand ANY Justification of FGM. Its cruelty.

  2. hilda 2014/12/06 at 23:32 #

    An emotive poem Moiyattu, that button.
    FGM is the worst form of violence against women. Very unfortunate that men connived and used women to push and sustain the FGM agenda. Brutal.

  3. Juliet Kushaba 2014/12/08 at 00:13 #

    Moiyattu, this poem explicitly tells of the brutality of FGM. Do ‘these’ people have a sense of what pain is?!

  4. Oyin Oludipe 2014/12/15 at 19:14 #

    An impassioned read!

    Reminds me of Womb, a poem of mine also written for this theme.

  5. MF 2015/11/25 at 18:08 #

    Brutal indeed. Thank you Moiyattu for so poignantly conveying this experience. Knowledge must create change.

  6. Omar Dibba 2015/11/27 at 19:35 #

    What a great piece Moi…as I read this…i did it with a sigh of relief knowing that FGM is banned in my Country-The Gambia. This is what women suffer in silence. Thanks for a brilliant piece.

Leave a Reply

I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

Monthly Newsletter!

Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our
"Guide to African Novels."

Archives

Watch This Poetry Dance Film of Kayo Chingonyi’s “Kumukanda”

kayo chingonyi - the guardian

Zambian poet Kayo Chingonyi’s first full-length collection, Kumukanda, is receiving praise. The Guardian has hailed its “lyrical elegance” and “many […]

Photos | Nommo Awards 2017: How Africa’s First Ever Speculative Fiction Awards Ceremony Happened

IMG_7063

The announcement of the winners of the inaugural Nommo Awards took place at the ongoing 2017 Ake Arts and Book […]

Goodreads Awards 2017: Vote Chimamanda Adichie’s “Dear Ijeawele” and Nnedi Okorafor’s “Home” in the Final Round

Nnedi-Okorafor BELLA NAIJA

Earlier this month we announced the online voting for Goodreads’ 2017 awards. The first round saw nominations for four authors having massively […]

#AkeFest2017 | Follow Brittle Paper’s Coverage of Ake Arts and Book Festival

ake festival (1)

  Ake Arts and Book Festival is happening in Abeokuta, Nigeria—has been happening since 14 November, to end on 18 […]

Opportunity for Writers and Visual Artists | Apply for the 2017 Artists in Residency Programme

Applications are open for the 2017 Artists in Residency (AIR) programme, an initiative of Africa Centre “seeking high calibre African artists, in […]

South African Literary Awards 2017: All the Winners

The winners of the 2017 South African Literary Awards have been announced. Here they are, with excerpts from their citations. […]

Thanks for signing up!

Never miss out on new posts. Subscribe to a digest, too:

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.