Northland Curse

Over the last month in Nairobi, we have watched as thousands of people were made homeless as police and eviction crews stormed Ruai and Kariobangi in the middle of the night, demolishing homes.

We watched as people cried on live television, begging the president to have mercy on them, to think of their children who had to shelter under trees. This all happened as Nairobi county was under Covid-19lockdown and curfew, barring movement for those evicted. 

We watched as the police were repeatedly sent to demolish even more homes in the middle of the night. To add horror to this nightmare, a few days after the demolitions, the government further gave a directive to destroy the tents that had been donated to the Kariobangi evictees, saying that the land belongs to Nairobi Water Company.  In Kariobangi alone, 8,000 people were left out in the cold.

The newspapers say that the demolitions were to make way for a sewerage plant, while other outlets reported that the demolitions are to pave way for water and sewerage facilities to serve Northlands City, dubbed “city of the future” a Kenyatta (president’s) family investment. This city, meant for expats and the upper ruling class, is being built at the expense of the Kenyan people, and for what? So that the rich are able to shit.

All this happened while court orders were in place barring demolitions. This is an unjustified attack on the Kenyan people. The government does not get to decide who is allowed to have homes, who is allowed to be safe or even who is allowed to reside in the city. To unleash violence upon your people, more so in the midst of a global pandemic is evil. The Kenyan government is evil. As feminists who believe in honouring the dignity and humanity of each and every person, we believe in channelling our rage, grief and collective pain to mourn, to rage, and to act. 

We have written this curse in honour of the despots who oppress, rob and disregard the people of Kenya. It is a practice in uncloaking those who use bureaucracy to cloak themselves. This curse is also an acknowledgement of our connection to our ancestors, our many freedom-loving, freedom fighting ancestors, from the Mau Mau to Wangari Maathai to the dead whose names we do not know. This connection is a resource that the state cannot control, cannot cut off; this curse chant is also an invitation to other Kenyans, to rage with us. It is the channel of our rage and the honoring of it. 

Photo by Boniface Mwangi

Before we begin, we root ourselves in beauty. in sweetness. in protection. Our intention is freedom. Our intention is freedom and comfort and tenderness for the many. Homes. Warm

beds. Dignity.


we curse you northlands

we curse you in the name of all those who came before us

we curse you in the spirit of abolition, in the spirit of freedom

we curse you

may your soil be rotten

may you never be built

may the ancestors in the ground wreck havoc

may our words like thorns forever pierce at your sides

we curse you

we wish you ill

we take back our lives

we do not consent

we do not consent

we do not consent

we do not forget

we do not forget

kamwana and co

may your joy wilt to ashes

may your dreams be haunted

we do not know peace, you take it away but hear this

may you not have peace, may peace never define anything you touch,

anything you think up, anything you utter

(if we do not have peace may you not have peace)

may your khanga suits choke you

may your laughter arrest the air flowing in and out of your rotten bodies

may your words gather like bile in your mouth and poison your plots against you


today today today may it all happen today

may your plans mock you

we drag these curses to your door

they enter your home


muthamaki and co

tangatanga and co

hustler and co

these curses are for your homes, for your bodies, for your minds

these curses are for your soul

you demolish houses in the dark, may this arrow find you in the light of day

you work in confusion, you use bureaucracy to cloak yourself, we reveal you now. may these.

our words. our tears. our anger uncloak you in the middle of the street. may you be left with

nothing. not even the air will cover you.

may your brown animal print shirts choke you

may the newspapers you conspire with suffocate you


whatever you plant will not grow

whatever you water will dry up

whatever you touch will wither

whatever you speak will turn against you

whatever you plot against the people will consume you.

whatever you send into the air will come crashing down onto you

whatever you hide in the water will drown you

whatever you burn with fire will consume you

whatever you dig up in the soil will bury you

you, scum

you, evil

you, the poison that eats up this land, the poison that ails the people

your existence is haram

your existence is an atrocity

your existence is a burden

you tire us



here where we say,

may these words annihilate you

may these words haunt you

may we haunt you

may we haunt you


may we haunt you

we declare it

we call it

we summon it

may this curse, like liquid, like the blood that is spilled at your hands,seep into your bones, flood

in your chests, may this curse drown your souls in eternal agony, may this curse eat you up

from the inside, may it ring in your ears, as the cry of the people. may our voices shout at you in

your sleep. no peace. no peace. no peace.

may these words invade you, like you invade our lives,

may they invade your homes, your thoughts, your lives, your mind,

may they invade you and finish you

mchomeke from the inside

kichapo kwenu

we twist time we beckon time we make the future now we create a portal

here is where you will end


Kisu na Wembe are feminist writers and organizers in Nairobi. They are interested in movements that centre politics of love, care and abolition. Fuck the Patriarchy.





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