‘The Fundis Consider their Handiwork;’

‘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