Am I really African? This is a question that I can’t seem to answer no matter how hard I try. I can call it a search for identity yet I identify myself as a pure African.
I have heard stories of how my great grandfathers and their friends stood and got off their hats at the mere sight of a white colonialist who was just 20 yrs. of age when they were in their sixties, I have stories of how they were whipped as they bent themselves lame on their masters farms the whole day and humiliated before the very people who saw them as heroes. I don’t know what I really could do to repay the pain they endured to liberate a generation that would not even appreciate their efforts. I wonder, Am I really African?
I have read poetry that depicted the struggle that we Africans, not even we but they, went through as they sought to liberate us.
Oh Africa! What can I do to repay You?
When Father and Son were separated, Father to the mines and son to jail just for looking at a white girl. When a mother who had thirteen children was left with only two just to satisfy the colonial demands.
Africa my Africa! What do I owe you?
I have read prose fiction of the struggle, how a brother turned against a brother due to sycophantic tendencies but they still remained a family.
My Africa, they called you a dark continent and I wonder; was it because you challenged them so they wanted to make you feel inferior?
Why My Africa? Why?
They said You are a question and they are the answers so You shall forever lean towards them for solutions. But I wonder, is it to be so?
You see, when I look at your bulged back, I think it is because they overworked you. The River Nile symbolic of the lashes on your sons backs, the tall mountains symbolic of the clobbering your sons went through. I occasionally hear your Rivers weep as they shed their tears into the oceans through which your tormentors came.
I remember you long hair, the one which you cherished proudly, whose beauty was incomparable and incomprehensible but they cut it till nothing was left on you. These are your trees my Africa.
They said they wanted to educate your sons and daughters. That they needed to have a god that they would look up to and all their problems would be solved but they had a gun on one hand and a religious book on the other. They made us know them more than you my Africa. We feared them and dis respected you, did to you as they did and followed the ways they taught us and instead of appreciating it they said we were ‘aping’ them.
My Africa, they told you eldest son, a father and a husband, that he was not good enough compared to their toddler. Let me tell you a secret you know my Africa, you see when they come here, we dance ourselves lame at the airports but when we go to them…
They still come for us even after they left after scattering your children for they were and still are afraid of their unity. They say you are not good enough to discipline your own so they do it for you. They force us to take hemlock and when we refuse they punish us. My Africa, I love You but I just cannot stand and watch as they Kill You. For long you have kissed their buttocks and they spat on your face but you said nothing. You reserved your anger and projected your utmost kindness unto them. Your back is bent from their enslaving work but you still strain yourself up to shake their hands, your once beautiful face is scarred and drenched with tears but you still embrace them with a new and refreshed smile each day. Your beautiful hair is long gone and I know you still labour to renew its glory but you still bear your pride.
You see my Africa, I am sorry for all these that they and we did to you.
I want to be as one of your sons – Neto, Nkuruhma, Luandinho, Kenyatta, Lumumba, Mboya…
I want to feel what it is to be African…
I AM AFRICAN!