Internationale Poetry-Biennale  -  Filmfestival  -  Salon  -  Netzwerk

Saba Kidane
Freitag, 23. Oktober, 18.30 Uhr

video - Paris

Saba Kidane, *1978 in Asmara, Journalistin, Autorin und politische Aktivistin, lebt derzeit in Paris. Saba Kidane trat im Alter von 13 Jahren der Eritreischen Volksbefreiungsfront bei. Sie schrieb schon in jungen Jahren Gedichte und arbeitete später für eine private eritreische Zeitung, als Programmdirektorin eines Jugendradios und unterrichtete Highschool Schüler in Poetry Writing.

Kidane ist Gründungsmitglied von PEN Eritrea. Sie besucht ihr Land immer wieder zu poetischen Anlässen. Die meisten ihrer Gedichte sind in Tigrinya verfass, ihre Themen sind Kinder, der Alltag, soziale Probleme und die Auswirkungen von Krieg auf eritreische Frauen. Ihr Gedicht Tsiruy guhaf nafiqe (Ich vermisse den sauberen Müll) ruft auf zur sorgfältigen Entsorgung von Kondomen aufgrund des Risikos der HIV-Verbreitung.

2001 wurde Saba Kidane ein US-Besuchervisum verweigert.

Festival Focus Eritrea

*1978 in Asmara, is a journalist, poet, and political activist, currently living in Paris. Saba Kidane dropped out of school and joined the Eritrean People‘s Liberation Front at the age of 13. She wrote poems at an early age and later worked for an Eritrean private newspaper, as program director of a youth radio station and was teaching poetry to high school students.

Kidane is a founding member of PEN Eritrea. She keeps visiting her country for poetical purposes. Most of her poems are composed in Tigrinya, addressing 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.

Saba Kidane was denied a U.S. visitor‘s 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