Kenya: Homeland Is Where I Breathe

We were smoking a joint. Me, a US-returned Kenyan artist, and a Norwegian nutritionist working in Ethiopia.

The Kenyan artist was telling me about his 20 long years in the US and the dissociation he felt with the Black community there. And that he didn’t feel like belonging to just one country or one community.

I told him there has been a poet, Waris Shah, in my language who also left his homeland when he was young. While away, he composed a great book of poetry. The book has a line to the same effect.

I, then, sang the following verse from Heer Waris Shah: “Watan dammaN de naal te zaat jogi…”

It translates to, I told him: “My homeland is where I breathe and my tribe is that I am tribe-less.”

Hearing this, he went crazy: “Oh, Sohail! Sohail! This is what I am talking about.”

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