The launch of Dried Rose Petals and Lavender Buds at Nyali Play House this past Sunday was not only an event filled with colour but love, laughter and a genuine sense of a community out to support one of its most enterprising daughters. Entering the Play House, one is accosted by two distinct things- a large number of women attendees (and very few men), and the generous splash of colour around the well-lit room with most ladies in matching saffron head scarves rhyming with the book cover. The colour and enticing space is most obviously to Salma’s (the author) liking; she is candid about her inclination to colourful things and the colourful Instagram posts prior to the book launch are a testament to this.
March 2019 marked the first instalment of the annual Swahili Literary Festival, the inaugural theme being “Celebrating Achievement”, a participatory theme informed by the dire need to acknowledge and celebrate heroes in the East African littoral space. While heroes come in many different shades, our intention was to celebrate those whose achievement was literary or artistic in nature.
Thousands of our kinds were killed that time, but history won’t remember a single one. We arrived at Mutara wa Tsatsu in the forgotten years. We were invited by our dreams, smiling at our future, our young romping about like lion cubs. We came seeking peace but never saw the signs of nightmare to come. We rowed for many days upon foam crowned blue seas, defeating the veritable tempest of the seas.