I had the pleasure to see my good friend Sheron Wray after 4 years of separation. It made me realise for the first time all that I have left behind in terms of friendships and connections. I suppose it was necessary for me to let go as I embarked on a new life on the continent, otherwise you pine for those left behind and fail to move ahead. I didn’t think what I was doing was such a big risk (moving back to Africa). I just knew I had to do something different. I had just emerged from one of the lowest points in my life and I thought well I have nothing more to loose, so let me try something new. My journey continues to be filled with challenges and opportunities as I seek to re-establish myself as a citizen of the continent of Africa.
One of my biggest challenges has been in other peoples need to identify me by tribe/nation as deterimined by geo political borders defined by a passport. I see Africa pushing towards ‘development’ which in my eyes is the destruction of the natural world for the erection of concrete edifices. I dream of a continent united as one, removing the borders established by the colonial masters. This system of separation not only applies to Africa but all inhabitants on this beautiful planet of ours. I know there are others like me out there who hope that sometime in the near future humanity will realise that we only have this planet and that she is the one who provides for all our needs. Like Shumacher says ‘small is beautiful’. Like the Sankofa bird of the Adinkra we have to have our feet pointing forward but our neck and head facing back. What I mean by this is a return to the simple things, what some would call the primitive I would call the sustainable.
Black Gold is being discovered all over the continent now and governments and corporation continue to exploit it like it is something created by man to own and exploit, at great cost to the environment and its people.
For me, (this is why i miss Wangari Mathai so much) the biggest challenge for us in Africa is the preservation of our environment. No one seems to have it on their political agenda apart from civil society. I would love to hear from groups who are championing the rights of nature, women and children as these issues are at the core of my work as a poet and creative facilitator