After a long slumber of eternal sleep with ceaseless impotence, ignorance and incoherence of my sense of being, I woke up in a land where life suddenly began to assume meaning and meaningfulness. After a long spell of darkness, there was light before my eyes. I woke up in a land where many, everybody and all could belong. Everybody, known and unknown was beginning to belong. I woke up in a land where no nation belonged before; a land we all found waiting to be inhabited. Many of us came not as a nation where we were before we got here, but as groupings bigger and smaller, we came not in search of one another but in search of our new selves, different from where we were, and how we were:
We were different communities
Spoke different languages
Communicated through different modes with the clouds, the footpaths, the fauna and flora of the cradle of humankind.
Our bare feet hit the roads southwards from the mighty Great Lakes Region’s plentiful fruit, grain and leaves, where we were once housed
We fled from unkind and selfish rulers whose stomachs competed with the baobab trees
We wished to live and sleep free from being owned by our rulers who ate on our behalf
We escaped tensions caused by greed, insecurity and God’s temperaments
We came in different platoons, women and children marching forward, ever forward till we could not move any further when our steps were prevented by unending crushing waters we never knew before.
We came at different times
We moved in tandem in pursuit of better days
We came as the others
We came from economies of land, fruit trees, women folk and children
We had no surnames, yet everyone was well known and related to everyone else by consanguine and proximity unending
Our identities were marked by totems and etched on our sacred bodies
Knowledge and memories were reposed in lineages of rural legendary narratives
Passed on from one generation to the next with decorum and responsibility as in running a relay race towards victory
Our relationships were orchestrated through family structures and permissible lineages that were seamless and organic through historic threads:
Where men had their role, a duty of care towards those members of society
-in the twilight of their lives: the aged, the disfigured and the sick
-in the dawn of their lives: children too small to see the sun rays
-in the margins of common life: the women who were marginalized by custom, habit and tradition
We carry a civilization:
Where women were cherished as mothers of All: primary educators and health care givers!
And protectors of families in times of war and conflict
Where the union of men and women formed the frontiers and shield of communities –
Free of adult, sexual and gender-based violence
Where the girl child received special care and tutelage as mortgage for tomorrow’s values
Where the whole village partook of raising the boy and girl child, everywhere and every when
Where any child was every adult’s dependant.
We hailed from a civilization where we counted only to five, as possessions were meaningless in the context of the meaningfulness of life where everyone’s being was tied into the other’s being:
Where I was nothing amidst others nothingness
Where greed and avarice were contained by humanity’s command that we belonged together:
Endured the pains and joys of life together.
Where the act of sex was not for temporary fun,
But for continuing the family line
To sustain God-given life.
We came from a civilization of content and substance:
Where our names told a story
Just like Jesus of Nazareth
And the Princess of Wales told theirs.
Where violence against women and children led to the banishment of the perpetrator
We have our roots in a civilization where there were no foreigners,
Only guests and new family members
Where there was no fear or resentment towards non-members
Everyone was old and new in a group of associational communities.
I woke up in in a land where our identity is elusive
A consequence of European adventurism
-not our own making
-not even our collective understanding.
Some of us derive ours from our ‘labourerness’ in a new economy
Others from ‘ownerness’
Yet equally searching for a new day
They came across the waters with their eyes looking forward
Seemingly different, but similar to us in search of a better day
Bound to us through the thread of our common humanity
And the call, unknowing, to build a new world where we all belong
In possession of a choice between
Living together as members
Or perishing together as fools
I woke up in a land with neither black nor white
I woke up in a land in need of both colours to grow into ripeness
I woke up in the Land of the Brave where fear should be feared
I woke up in the land of great leaders and great listeners
A land of peace and safety for all
A land of honour and a common place that holds the future of the Ageless Desert.
My long sleep ended
I wiped mine eyes
I was awake
I was awake in New Afrika
An Afrika that we did not ourselves name
An Afrika that does not draw strength from our differences,
An Afrika that does not remember our weaknesses
An Afrika that is our only Home
The Home of the Human Spirit
An Afrika that has always been the home of human folk.
Afrika My Home, Your Home, Their Home
I woke up; I am awake, in OUR HOME.