2:32 AM: in a quiet room, from a gloomy country on the westernmost tip of the African homeland, a land ever on the brink of collapse from a corrupt and heartless political class, I sit down to write this considering the urgency of the times. The smouldering reality of our context, the hot burning coal of our existence in all of its searing pain and dispossessed ethos. There is much trouble to recount, but aren’t our lives a near-linear story of a disinherited mass of long-suffering righteous people?
During these humid days I am reminded of a sore tenderness of a people loving and beautiful, yet so powerless and humiliated in the face of so much abundance and possibility. Many are the analyses, theories, pontifications as to why we are where we are; from the right to the left, the explanations never cease coming forth. It’s as if we are cannon fodder for the thinking minds and raw material for those who philosophise pain. Billions of us all across the world, from the motherland to the huddled hoodlands of the Americas turned into a one-named statistic supplied dutifully by many of our own, either in glee or indignation.
But aren’t we so much more, we who built this modern wondrous monster with our bare lives and hands? I look to my struggling suffering mother, a beautiful and hardworking African woman who spent her life slaving away. On a regular day she’s usually pacing between menial jobs, nursing a depression but still can’t find respite. She lives on to another day of utter darkness, but my father, who spent his days in toil and worship of his Lord, didn’t live to see this day —no second chance at destiny’s cruel hands. Perhaps he rests, or perhaps he haunts us waiting for a response from the living to at least once in their lives do something and lift this mist that chokeholds our people in mines and fields, in slums and barrios.
How many ancestors do we continue to make each day? Cuz we out here dying every damned day in ways unimaginable. We, many times, can’t even choose at the very last moment, when we at last attain freedom from this misery, to die for ourselves. We have no choice in the matter; we die so many deaths for others to live in comfort and indifference. The drum goes on and the smoke never settles since we can’t put out the fire. Do we even know how to mourn any longer? When death becomes a dancing companion, a guest who refuses to leave, how can you remember the art of mourning? In the place of grief lies desensitisation and in the coffins lies another testimony of ‘just another day in hell.’
Yet, we are the salt of this scorched earth. The righteous of the planet, our many becomings testify to this and no less. We were never meant to survive these many days and years, yet we persist. With death knocking persistently on our makeshift doors, we still dance, laugh, love, and rejoice in the unknown. When one of us comes into the world, we still cradle them, and the village goes on to raise them. Even when our skies are turning against us and the earth is revolting against us, we still make loves to our lives knowing, hoping, and believing that this ancient sun is still one of us. Our greatest beauty lying in a fierce knowledge of the unaccounted tomorrows of our persistent lives, in the hopes that our triumph is only but a matter of time. We are a people of hope; a beautiful people of expectations.
There is only a vast nation of Africans divided, plundered and left for dead by those who accumulate our lives, labour and visions in wanton disregard and hatred for our many humanhoods
But knowledge of tomorrows must be foregrounded in reality. It can’t be any other way. We can’t keep doing the slavery, the bondage, the time, and the dying. Our song will run out and our joy will fly out the window, since everything has a lifespan — and we don’t have much of that, do we? Our centre and margin have a life expectancy, and it seems to me it ain’t much left of it. The times have become urgent. If there is anything we can all agree on, it’s that we can’t keep going like this. The old order can’t hold, we must set free in order to live and bequeath a new and bright existence to those who will come after us. We have a glorious history, a beautiful tapestry of colourful stories to inspire us to fight unbounded for the very soul of the whole human race. But we can’t live off these stories any longer, not at this teetering point of our existence. It’s time to let go of the fancy and fable. We must unite wherever we are on this earth. We are but one people; there is no Nigerian, South African, Kenyan, African American, Afro Brazilian or Afro Caribbean, there is only a vast nation of Africans divided, plundered and left for dead by those who accumulate our lives, labour and visions in wanton disregard and hatred for our many humanhoods.
It can’t be emphasised enough the importance of ending the nightmare of our division. For how long will we try to be everything and everyone, a daunting assortments of identities whiles the world makes a wheel off our backs to roll ever on? When will we look homeward to Africa and her suffering children? Can’t we see our unity is our foremost and most powerful love letter to the future of our kind? Whiles we fill up the journals of unfinished revolutions from yesteryears and today, may we look back and see our distressed and hurting people. Whiles we debate our ancient Israeli lineages and Abrahamic roots, may we see a lost generation running and panting to get away from who they are and stop dead in our tracks, wipe the sweat off our brows and embrace each other in our many billions and change our material condition permanently.
Our paradise exists here today, in this grand scheme of our disinheritance
Maybe this borders on sentiment more than a so-called ‘clear headed objective analysis of our shared reality’, but I love us more than they will ever be able to hurt us. This is but a passionate plea to a scattered people to seize the time and own the means of production here and now. Our paradise exists here today, in this grand scheme of our disinheritance.
It just started raining again as I write this sentence. Many slum dwellers will lose their abode and many will be flooded out of their houses. A truth that binds us across the world. But in the blackest blackness, I still hope for better days for those who have suffered the sheer lack of the barest of comfort. My loyalty is to us, the righteous many of the world and to the African Nation that must be. It can’t be any different. It’s 3:50 am and other familiar worries have taken ahold of me. Goodnight my people.