Despair

you visited me that day
and the black night, without stars
without moonbeams
without fireflies without future
without anything
you could cut it with a machete
like the night when my feet
lost their way behind
the village hut
oh God in heaven
inky
darkness
beat down on me
and you oh earth
yes you oh earth
you had stopped
Turning

— Enoh Meyomesse
(Trans. by Grace Hetherington)

In October 2011, Enoh Meyomesse unsuccessfully ran for president of Cameroon as a member of the opposition party. In November 2011, he was arrested, charged with theft, possession of a firearm, and plotting a coup against Cameroon’s sitting President, Paul Biya, who had then been in office for 30 years. The charges were dropped, but Meyomesse was held in prison, charged with illegally selling gold. Though no evidence was presented at his trial, he was convicted and sentenced to seven years in prison. After months of appeals and international pressure, Meyomesse was released from prison on April 27, 2015.