woman swimming in water
Photograph taken in Mulanje, Malawi 2019

The words fall out of my mouth like
Foreign soldiers invading a colonised land
‘Coconut’ is what they call me until I say
Malawi is home but home is not here

And home is unfamiliar except for longing
when I recognise the sun as it comes to greet my skin
Gently my chitenge hugs my waist reminding me
Malawi is home but home is not here

I hear my name on native tongues
A gift so soft yet powerful that
I am called into existence
Malawi is home but home is not here

I find myself apologising for not knowing
For choosing English instead of Chichewa
But you choose kindness every time
Ndathokoza, I thank you
For welcoming me
For giving me the name
So I can remember
Malawi is home even though home is not here

Thokozani is a queer, ancestor-summoning Malawian poet and writer based in Cape Town. For them, home bears the fruit that they place on their altar as offering to guide them through the journey of becoming- through the journey of writing. Africa seeks to call out to its children and we only need to hear her song to dance and give praise to her everlasting love for us.

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