David Rubadiri

From the west

Clouds come hurrying with the wind

Turning sharply

Here and there

Like a plague of locusts


Tossing up things on its tail

Like a madman chasing nothing.


Pregnant clouds

Ride stately on its back,

Gathering to perch on hills

Like sinister dark wings;

The wind whistles by

And trees bend to let it pass.


In the village

Screams  of delighted children,

Toss and turn

In the din of the whirling wind,


Babies clinging on their backs

Dart about

In and out


The wind whistles by

Whilst trees bend to let it pass.


Clothes wave like tattered flags

Flying off

To expose dangling breasts

As jagged blinding flashes

Rumble, tremble and crack

Amidst the smell of fired smoke

And the pelting march of the storm.



David Rubadiri

Such  a time of it they had;

The heat of the day

The chill of the night

And the mosquitoes that followed.

Such was the time and

They bound for a kingdom.


The thin weary line of carries

With tattered dirty rags to cover their backs;

The battered bulky chests

That kept on falling off their shaven heads.

Their tempers high and hot

The sun fierce and scorching

With it rose their spirits

With its fall their hopes

As each day sweated their bodies dry and

Flies clung in clumps on their sweat scented backs.

Such was the march

And the hot season just breaking.


Each day a weary pony  dropped

Left for the vultures on the plains;

Each afternoon a human skeleton collapsed,

But the march trudged on

Its Khaki leader in front

He the spirit that inspired

He the light of hope.


Then  came the afternoon  of a hungry march,

A hot and hungry march it was;

The Nile and the Nyanza

Lay like two twins

Azure across the green country side.

The march leapt on chaunting

Like young gazelles to a water hole.

Heart beat faster

Loads felt lighter

As the cool water lapt their sore feet.

No more the dread of hungry hyenas

But only tales of valour when

At Mutesa’s court fires are lit.

No more the burning heat of the day

But song, laughter and dance.


The village looks on behind banana  groves,

Children peer behind reed fences.

Such was the welcome

No singing women to chaunt a  welcome

Or drums to greet the white ambassador;

Only a few silent nods from aged faces

And one rumbling  drum roll

To summon Mutesa’s court to parley

For the country was not sure.


The gate of needs is flung open,

There is silence

But only a moment’s silence-

A silence  of assessment.

The tall black king steps forward,

He towers over the thin bearded white man,

Then grabbing  his lean white hand

Manages to whisper

“Mtu Mweupe Karibu�

white man you are welcome.

The gate of polished reed closes behind them

And the West is let in. 


David  Rubadiri

Towers of strength



Like life itself.


Up they rise

Tall and slender

And around them

White coats flit.

Like the magic they spell.

New Mulago Hospital

-the name shakes - 

she stood firmly

on that cool afternoon

giving names, tribes and sex,

a woman clad in busuti.


As the fullstop was entered

On a white sheet of paper

A whitecoat gave a nod.


Her hands cross her chest

And the message unsaid

Crushing granite and concrete

In gushing tears of pain

And a lonely sorrow.


David Rubadiri

Dark twisted form

Of shreds and cunning

Crawling with an inward twinkle

At the agonies of Africa.


Praying and pricing

Passers by

As in black and white

Jingle pennies past;


A hawk’s eye

Penetrates to the core

On a hot afternoon

To pick the victims

That with a mission

Dare not look at

This conflict.


A dollar drops,

An Indian sulk

Passively avoids-

I am stabbed to the core;

Pride rationally injured.


In the orbits of our experience

Our beggarness meets

With the clang of symbols,

Beggarly we understand

As naturally we both know

The Kampala beggar

Is wise-

US - Africa Literary Foundation

Chimdi Maduagwu, PhD
Executive Director
US-Africa Writers Foundation
Dr. Bode Osanyin
Chairman, Department of Creative Arts
University of Lagos
Department of Creative Arts
Akoka, Yaba
Lagos, Nigeria

Website Copyright © 2002-5 US-Africa Writers Foundation.  Selected writings copyright by their authors