‘The Fundis Consider their Handiwork;’
This is the house the worker built,
not KANU or the Mission Schools.
It’s not the House of Mumbi
nor the Palace of Ramogi.
It is clearly no manyatta
nor a classic Kamba thatch.
It’s a Nairobi house, perhaps:
strong concrete, scaffold and the
labour of the builders who have
downed their tools, disgusted at
(again, perhaps) the bickering
of those who think they own the plot,
the stone, the booted working folk…
The ones, I mean, who try to set
the one who holds the plum line
at the throats of those who skim,
or those who knap against
the man who firms the pointing.
They have stalled our current project, own
sweet nothing when the future of this edifice
is clearly with the ones who’ve
built foundations, raised the walls,
constructed pillars, who are waiting
for the time to tile the whole roof, gleaming red.
©Stephen Derwent Partington
Photography: Wambui Mwangi