Touch Me


This poem was composed during Alamin Mazrui's long imprisonment by the Moi regime. We translated it fairly quickly. The main discussion we had was about the first line which, in Katriina's literal version, is 'When I leave detention(/from obstacles)'. We wanted to avoid 'detention' because of its association with being 'given detention' - staying after school following misbehaviour. Interestingly, the poet could have used the Swahili word for 'prison', but he went for the more ambiguous term which means an obstacle. In the end, we settled on 'When I'm released'.