By Professor joseph diescho
I know who I am in my tribe and in my village,
But I know not enough about my home, my nation and my extended family beyond my childhood memories.
I am aware of what went on before this day,
But I remain ignorant about the details that would transport me into my new world.
I am grateful for the vast sacrifices made by countless who make them on my behalf,
But I do not possess sufficient grammar to express my gratitude at the most appropriate moments so that the relevant people can hear me.
I know my politicians, good and bad,
But I have yet to know my leaders.
I have a language that takes me back to my childhood dreams, but the language to link me to my current challenges and to tomorrow is inadequate and elusive.
I know who liberated me,
But I honour not who is to take me into the future of my dreams.
I am confident in the names of my leaders today,
But I am very anxious about their individual strengths and spiritual fortitude to beckon me to the future and deliver me to the Promised Land.
I have faith in the systems around me,
But I see no champions of these systems to stand the test of time.
I am proud to be called the Land of the Brave,
But I am alarmed by the fear in the hearts of the inhabitants of this Land.
I am happy with the past in so far as it has guided me and my sand to have come this far,
But I am nervous about the narratives that shine the light on the road already travelled.
I cherish having a peek into the past,
But the lack of a lantern to illuminate the long road ahead gives me grief.
I love history told truthfully,
But I hate untruths told as history,
Especially the story of wars that others waged.
For wars occur because those who engage in them prepare for conflict,
Instead of peace.
That is their story.
I know that history is a more or less objective account by a more or less biased individual, about something which, with a greater or lesser degree of accuracy, occurred or did not occur at some point that did or did not happen in the past.
My dunes flee from the history that causes me to choke in the life of others who created it for the good of themselves.
I need, I want my own story.
I understand politics and appreciate mature loyalty.
But I do not appreciate sycophancy.
I have regard for gender equality,
But I have to disregard gerrymandering.
I yearn to hear the perspective of the youth in and of the Land of the Brave,
In their search for the truth and meaning,
And their role in the New Afrika!
But I shiver at the militancy of half ill-informed logics
That seeks sweetness and light,
And disrupts the flow of wisdom from yesterday and yesteryear,
As I cannot imagine the freedom to be and become,
In the absence of the freedom that was given to me through sweat and blood of the older grains of sand that I shall never meet.
I thirst for the voices of the youth with bodies that have spirit,
And eyes with vision.
And a lever to reach the souls that departed to make space for me to be.
To have freedom:
Freedom to think and freedom to act,
With discipline and honour for others who have similar or dissimilar freedom.
Freedom comes from education that brings me closer to the people,
Not detach me from them.
For when I am in education, I must eat the forbidden fruit,
That I was once not permitted to come close to.
I know that every generation speaks from a different vantage point.
Its own angle.
I am an angle:
I am the Namib!
I am ancient.
You can ask the stars for proof,
Yet I am abandoned by all.
I am not orange,
I am not green,
I am the house of the Welwitschia —
That dwarf tree, in need of both colours to grow into maturity.
Thus I say:
I am here, hear me
I am real, feel me
I am for you need me
I am with you, be me
There is no real Afrika
No New Afrika without me
For my sand houses more of you than you care to know
I shielded you over the centuries
And will in perpetuity if you listen
To my voice under the sun.
I hide you from the past
To which you do not belong
I deliver you
Into the future unknown to you.
I am your yesterday and your tomorrow,
Not you mine!