NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 2 – ‘Obama, A Mamma!’ – a book with a collection of 54 poems was launched on Sunday celebrating President Barack Obama’s recent visit in Kenya and past visits to other parts of Africa.
Author Paul Ngotho, a Chartered Arbitrator and Chartered Valuation Surveyor with experience of over 30 years in Kenya and the U.K has clustered the poems into relationships, hope, celebration, corruption, injustice and politics.
It is a collection based on his own experiences as a teenager, proffesional, father, husband and a Kenyan.
“The poems were inspired by the various situations I have observed or experiences I have gone through in life,” Ngotho explained when he launched the book at Lenana School.
Apart from using the Luhya popular celebration song ‘Mwana wa Mberi’ to celebrate Obama who he refers to as the son of Africa, he also focuses on controversial issues that confront his leadership as the President of the United States and his African roots which sometimes have differing values married to culture.
He interrogates the thorny subject of homosexuality which is a serious contest between the U.S and Africa, with the later rejecting it as a complete contradiction of its values.
“Obama, A Mamma!, the poem, was written as a poetic response to Obama’s visit to Africa in 2013. His gay agenda raised a storm in every country he toured and even in those he did not visit,” Ngotho elaborates in one of his poems.
He appreciates lives of also ordinary Kenyans – the likes of Mama Oliech and her delicious popular fish fry dish.
Another poem is in remembrance of Stella Muka, a former student at University of Nairobi who died in a controversial accident in 1982.
He also eulogises JM Kariuki who was assassinated in 1975.
“I was also deeply touched by one of Kenya’s lowest moments. I was a Form 2 student in Muranga High School then.”
Out of his collection, the poem ‘Beyond Lavington’ occupies a special place in his life as he remembers living in a slum near the lavish Lavington area.
“My favourite poem in the book is Beyond Lavington. I wrote it on December 25, 1982 from personal experience after living briefly in Gatina, a slum next to Lavington,” Ngotho recalled.
Ngotho who already delivered a copy of his book to the U.S Embassy in Nairobi to have it sent to President Obama said he believed he will like the book because of its themes and also his interest in poetry during his teen years.