Kumukanda, means initiation, the process/practices by which a young boy grows into a man. Removed from the original cultural context (in Zambia) the poems explore how the author navigates identity and space in the current environment (England).
Growth is reimagined and explored in a terrain that is antagonistic to the author’s heritage and is closed to the voice of migrants – much of the writing will resonate with others. It did with me. The sadness comes through in the overall loss of a welcoming environment to develop as a person, to experience what life has to offer and to navigate personal loss and grief.
The migrant is seen as less than the dominant culture and therefore their experiences, feelings, history and thoughts are not given the same weight – and perhaps, are almost always read through a lens of ‘anger’ rather than resilience.
Through a highly accomplished series of poems that are linked by intelligent lyrical construction, emotional depth and compassion, the author reveals the struggle of decolonising the mind in a culture that erases the experiences of the ‘other’. Highly recommended.