It’s been seven months; since you, tsunami, got locked up in Luzira Prison.

Before you knew the roar of prison walls, we trooped to your Facebook page, making breakfast of your words; words unclothed, words un-sugared, words un-minced.

You and silence were milk and lemon. You became yogurt on contact.

It was easy then, to cheer you on, from the safety of our gadgets. It was easy then, to fantasize about matching your peppered condemnation; your verbal slap against the MP whose testicles were squeezed in detention; your whack against the politician whose breasts were groped during a demo; your stomp against broad-day abduction of citizens from court precincts; your rally call for what should be basic, for what should be accessible, like sanitary pads for school girls.

It was easy then, to shake our heads in admiration, to shake our heads in shock, to shake our heads in awe, as you spewed lyrical about your body, your sexuality, your imagined sexcapades. You were the ssenga, mother, counselor, academic, researcher, fierce critic, the feather ruffler…You were nimbus cloud, roaring, always roaring, ready to rain.

You and silence were milk and lemon. You became yogurt on contact.

You touched fire and dared us to do the same. You said it’s okay to call a vagina a vagina, not nini; it’s a body part, our body part. You said we shouldn’t conform to the commandments of society, the commandments that say, women should not raise their voices, that women should not trumpet their ache; that women should not climb the ladder higher than.

We learned, even dared to peel the shame that comes with carrying the body of a woman. We learned to play with the fire in our hearts and to let the butterflies in our stomachs to flap – aloud.

It’s seven months since jail became your home and the silence here is loud. And I am guilty of hiding my face before asking, what happened to Stella? And I am guilty of lowering my voice before asking; how are her children doing? I am guilty of forgetting, like Facebook that moves on to the next biggest sharer, the moment you stop naked-ing yourself in its presence.

I’m guilty of private-ing my anger, my rage, my dismay at what has become of you and them and us. I am guilty of wrapping my body in a garb of silence; the silence you refused to bed; the silence that has kept me, kept us, kept them, “safe” while you get used to the chilly arms of jail.

Sometimes, the silence here fools me into thinking that you went to jail with the ills you fought against. It’s a lie. Agulu [pwod] odiyo otac – the water pot is still pressing the head-pad.

I know, we know, but this silence is convenient. This silence is cheap, even in this tough economy. This time, this silence is no weapon. This time, this silence is no self-preservation. This time, this silence is no shield.

And I plead guilty to silence about you, about them, about us.


3 thoughts on “For Dr. Stella Nyanzi: I plead guilty to silence

  1. It equally irks me that we can do nothing about her current predicament. I love Stella. I hope my grand children will read about her in social studies. Happy birthday to her.


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