Internationale Poetry-Biennale  -  Filmfestival  -  Salon  -  Netzwerk

Saba Kidane
Freitag, 23. Oktober, 18.30 Uhr

video - Paris

*1978 in Asmara, ist Journalistin, Dichterin und politische Aktivistin, sie lebt derzeit als politischer Flüchtling in Paris. Kidane schreibt seit ihrer Kindheit Gedichte, sie arbeitete für das eritreische Jugendradio, private Zeitungen (Tsgenay, Meqalh, Hadas - Admas) und hatte im nationalen Fernsehen eine wöchentliche Poetry Sendung, die sehr populär wurde.

Sie gehörte zu den ersten Mitgliedern von PEN Eritrea im Exil. Nachdem sie vor einigen Jahren ihr Land verlassen hatte, wurden die Arbeits- und Lebensbedingungen von Schriftstellern immer schwieriger, viele private Journalisten wurden kamen ins Gefängnis.

Ihre Gedichte sind in vielen Anthologien und eritreischen Magazinen zu finden, und sie nutzt soziale Medien wie Blogs, Youtube und Instagram, um ihre Gedichte zu veröffentlichen und zu performen.

Kidanes Lyrik befasst sich mit Kindern, dem Alltag, sozialen Problemen und den Auswirkungen des Krieges auf eritreische Frauen. Ihr Gedicht Tsiruy guhaf nafiqe (Ich vermisse den sauberen Müll) z.B. thematisiert die sorgfältige Entsorgung von Kondomen aufgrund des Risikos der Verbreitung von HIV.
Im November 2020 veröffentlicht sie ein Gedichtband in Englisch und Deutsch, übersetzt aus ihrer Muttersprache Tigrigna.

Saba Kidane wurde 2001 ein US-Besuchervisum verweigert.

Festival Focus Eritrea

*1978 in Asmara, is a journalist, poet, and political activist, currently living in Paris as a political refugee. Kidane wrote poetry since her childhood and continued to do so ever since. She worked for the Eritrean Youth Radio, private newspapers (Tsgenay, Meqalh, Hadas – Admas) and introduced a weekly poetry program to national TV which became very popular.

She was among the first members of PEN Eritrea in Exile. After she left her country many years ago, the working and living conditions of writers became increasingly difficult, many private journalists were sent to prison.

Her poems can be found in many anthologies, Eritrean magazines, and she uses social media like blogs, Youtube and Instagram to publish and perform her poetry.

Her poetry addresses children, everyday life, social issues, and the effect of war on Eritrean women. Her poem Tsiruy guhaf nafiqe (I miss the clean garbage) encourages careful condom disposal due to the risk of spreading HIV.
In November 2020, she is publishing a Poetry book in English and German, translated from her mother tongue, Tigrigna.

Saba Kidane was denied a U.S. visitors visa in 2001.

Many a poem

Mogogo* is finished
Laundry is waiting
My babies are sleeping
It’s time to cook.

Wash, peel, chop
Fry, stir
It starts to simmer
My mind wanders.

The idea emerges
Then submerges again
I follow it
Try to catch it
From a river
From the hills
From the meadows
To realise it
To let it know it is a poem

‘Let me make you
Take my hand
and come with me.
The audience are waiting.’

Suddenly, my nose calls me
I turn with my eyes
Oh no! My food is burnt!
I scream
I shout
Silly me! How could I be so stupid?
But, no
I put the spatula down
Let it burn
Let it understand what it means to be burnt
Many a poem has burnt away
while I’ve been cooking.


*mogogo = used to make ‘injera’ (a flat, sour pancake)

Gossip and me

I am pulled one way
and pushed another.
I can not breathe
I have to escape the loneliness.

The gossip reaches its climax
Then trickles back down to me.
He tries to comfort me
He shows me my files
But the painted picture is still a beautiful one.

My eyes follow his eyes
My step follows his step
My wave follows his wave
Our hearts beat in time
And harmonise.

I am not ashamed of my files
I read with pride
I can love
I can feel passion
I am true to myself.

Your father

Propped on the sidewalk
With a few coins near her legs
And a child wrapped in the folds
Of her scarf worn to shreds,
She holds out her hand in the cold.
The modest bend of her head
Says she doesn’t want to beg
But she must to feed her son.

Left on her own when he was born,
She cried and cursed her fate.
Where to go? What to do?
She had no other choice – the street –
But he went with her, too,
And now she sees he has grown.
“Let me show you,” he says,
Putting out his hand to play.

At first it makes her laugh
To see him imitate
Her begging in his own way.
She’s not totally hopeless
And can accept who she is
As long as she has him.
But then it hits her: what if
He has to beg for the rest of his life?

“Let’s play peek-a-boo or… ”
She says quickly and afraid,
Trying to make him forget
Playing this one ever again.
He goes along with what she has said,

But one day he starts crying.
She says, “Let me kiss where it hurts,”
Hoping to soothe the pain
But then he kisses her
And asks, “Who hurt us?
Who should I hit?”
And demanding the name.
“Your father.” She lets it slip.
Realizing what she has done,
She keeps quiet
Thinking she can still save her son.


Passionately do I enjoy
The music of ‘Emblta’, ‘Wata’
‘Kirar’ with the vibrant ‘Kebero’
Some cheer, some applause
Out of excitement
Driven away
I beg your help!

Help control my passion
Dances, ‘Kuda Stalile’
Jittered movements
Still encourage me
Not to wither
“Don’t die!”

But even if I died
Even if I died
Even if I died
It would always be there

Let her burn

I had hated Hatred
For the sake of Love
But a long time ago
It happened suddenly
I couldn’t bear them

So depressed as I was
In need of a friend
All rejected me
“Let her burn”

Then only
I realized
That only Hatred
Was loyal to God
Hatred has loved me
His principal enemy!

The Mother

Her eyes watering
From the smoke
Her energy drained
From her exhausting day
He arrives home
With his anger
He passes it on to her
Breaking his stick on her back
Making her cry even more
I wish she had kept
The child on her back
Even though it was hard to bear