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Biography collected and written by Angela Bizera
Photo by B.V.

Heritier is a young man from Burundi who fled his country, seeking safety. He arrived in Malawi in 2017, alongside his three brothers. He is pursuing his studies here in the Dzaleka Refugee Camp.

His nickname is “First Born Poet.” He loves poetry so much because his art is poetry. He writes poems and performs them as well. He learned poetry through Branches, a group he joined in 2018. He was taught poetry by Hassan Chilewu and John Kazadi. His friends, such as Espoir, contributed to his journey to poetry as well. He was inspired by Angela, a lady he saw performing in the group. His first time performing was in 2019, in the Branches group, and he has been performing ever since.

When he is writing poetry, he feels good. When he is going through situations, he writes them down and feels good because it is written down on paper. It is also fun. It makes one feel good when he writes. His poem, “Keys of the Better Place,” was written this year on World Refugee Day. It talks about safety. According to him, everyone has the right to be safe. The other poem, “No One Like Mama,” he wrote in acknowledgement of mothers. One can miss their mother and cannot be able to exist without them.

His words to readers of this book and website are “Poetry is good, and if someone has the talent, they must not hide it, because when someone is reciting a poem, they usually feel good. When performing about certain situations that happened in life, it feels good and takes out of the mind and the heart, and you are free. To those who have a chance to support poets or people with talent, you should do so, because when someone has something and they don’t deliver it, that thing usually dies inside them, which is too bad! Thank you!”


Before this distraction
Life was a simple word to describe
We were used to mingling with different people from different cultures and races.

Our grandpa used to tell us charming folktales when we lit the fire and sat around it.
And when the world changed
We were called victims of an ended war and now we are called audience of this discrimination, invasion and corruption which destroys our collaboration
We are busy, busy like bees searching for a person to solve and end all these gunshots, sounds of nuclear bombs

We are tired of this life
Changing our beautiful identities into one
As if we are children of the some feathers, although we don't flock together, however
They said

Whenever our rights are still the key which opens the doors of the better place
Doors of the paradise
Doors of the world with gender equality

Which burns inequality
Everyone with ability to oppose or propose
A world without conflict uses negotiation when solving different questions, and now my book is open .

They said that my future is under a black paper
They said that my future is dead cuz of my identity
They acted as cruel as death in order to bury my dreams and put them in the coffin

They did everything to show me that Beggars can never be Choosers
But I am still standing up, fighting for my rights, but all in all
Safeness is the key of the human race, which shines in the darkness

I am a refugee
But being a refugee doesn't mean that my rights were written in the middle of the book with 1000 pages
100 letters

in 10 stanzas
And 1 individual to read it all

Being a human means having a right to life
A right to live a bright and better life which means
Whenever, everyone has the right to be safe.