GP #002: Stolen from Freedom by Robert Nabena

Fierce attacks on Mama Nneka’s hut,

Swift, painful and brutal blows dealt

Trapped in a net,

A metal sling around my wrist,

I heard Mama Nneka scream

At the end of freedom street.

              * * *

Stolen, bought or sold

Against my will

A lonely traveler

On a lonely journey

Beyond the Atlantic

Tortured, stripped and chained

Amanze never knew much pain.

                 * * *

Caged like rats,

I lay still on racks

Dirty racks befitting my price

Covered in kernel oil

We bay in Queens country

Awaiting my day of auction.

                   * * *

Ape that I am

The rest of my life

Decided by a stranger

I am a slave

A lonely traveler.

Robert Nabena is a Nigerian author and contributing writer for various journals, magazines and newsletters.


I find this poem to be self explanatory and at the same time deep. Makes sense when interpreted literally but also, can be interpreted as our personal struggles. We’ve all been a slave to something say – a bad habit which crept up on us unexpectedly at sometime in our lives and too often, we are ashamed to speak out so it’s a lonely journey.

“…A lonely traveler

On a lonely journey”

Some parts of this poem (2nd and 3rd stanzas) also Remind me of Saartjan Baartman’s life story and what she must have been feeling while swinging her waist for the white man’s amusement.

Please drop your analysis and thoughts on this beautiful poem… Bless!


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