Benjamin Zephaniah


“Me? I thought, OBE me? Up yours, I thought. I get angry when I hear that word “empire”; it reminds me of slavery, it reminds of thousands of years of brutality, it reminds me of how my foremothers were raped and my forefathers brutalised. It is because of this concept of empire that my British education led me to believe that the history of black people started with slavery and that we were born slaves, and should therefore be grateful that we were given freedom by our caring white masters. It is because of this idea of empire that black people like myself don’t even know our true names or our true historical culture. I am not one of those who are obsessed with their roots, and I’m certainly not suffering from a crisis of identity; my obsession is about the future and the political rights of all people. Benjamin Zephaniah OBE – no way Mr Blair, no way Mrs Queen. I am profoundly anti-empire.”

Benjamin Zephaniah
The Guardian article

Visit his site.

[Thanks Bemsha]

3 thoughts on “Benjamin Zephaniah

  1. as being a half cast young teenager( half
    white and black,west indies)it is hard living in a white mans village when i say that i mean mostly white people live there,i get looked at twice and stuff like that . and as i experience
    rasim since i have never really experienced it before since i used to live in a town full of different cultures i never got it before.I read your book at school as we were all reading it
    together, i felt like it helped in many ways.with different issues the book was called face. Its true many people dont like going places were there are different cultures its like there scared.i have written half of my book about what i have gone through it will be called “deep issues” i am not keen on the title can you maybe come up with a more powerful? please get in touch with me at as i need to know your views and i would like you to help me with my book which should be released in 2 or more years!
    write back
    yours faithfully

  2. We did a show at our school and we read your poem
    about talking turkeys .The whole school enjoyed it including us .Abdulnour and Galal read two other poems Abdulnour read fair play and Galal read walking black home .When we went on a trip to the yorkshire show some of us read talking turkey to a turkey called C.D! we are y5s

  3. I live in a care home.I write poetry as an outlet of my emotions.When I saw Benjamins work it touched me. There is alot of emotion in them even talking turkeys. I thank you for letting other people see them and you have been an inspiration to ny future writing. luv becksta x x

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