We are African people, whether you accept it or not. You don’t have to go to Africa to be an African. If a cow is born in a pig pen, he is still a cow. The cow will always say “Moo” even though he is amongst pigs.” – Mutabaruka
Yesterday I was told to go back to my country. I was saddened and angered by the statement because I know my origins are on the continent of Africa. Before the imposition of geo-political borders we were a race who had many names but shared commonalities. How we related to each other was our highest axiological reference. The just treatment of people was an essential component of our humanity. As ancient Africans we were never afraid of difference, we embraced it as a reflection of nature and the creator.
Now, Africa has descended into tribalism which is used to discriminate and exploit difference. We pay more attention to the status and position of a person, than the quality of their works within society. Our value is defined by the amount of money we make not by the content of our characters. How far we have fallen, as we continue to co opt an alien culture in the guise of development. We have lost our integrity, we corrupt and are corruptable.
In the current system, your country is where you were born. I remember when I first started to define myself as an African people would get confused and ask ‘so were you born in Africa’? I came to recognise the passport I carry is my citizenship but not my identity and it definately does not reflect my culture or values.
This is a part of the disconnect created by slavery, colonalism and neo-colonalism. The fracture was created so fellow Africans don’t recognise each other because of the way we speak or look. This process of separation is the tool used to keep people of African descent divided. It allows the continued exploitation of people and resources.
Yesterday was a difficult day for a lot of people, in a way I take heart that I am not alone in the challenges I am facing. I continue to read and analyse the movements that liberated the African mind. I seek to understand the processes which are keeping us divided. Many before me have written in response to the repression of African peoples, not only by external forces but internally from our own leaders. Marcus Garvey, Kwame Nkrumah, Nyerere, Walter Rodney, Patrice Lumumba, Franz Fanon, Huey P Newton all spoke about the need for African self determinism not based on Imperialist Capitalist Ideals. I believe there is a better way for us to live, not just as Africans but as the inhabitants of planet Earth.
As I say in one of my poems:
‘the race is not for the swift but for those who can endure,
let your back be bent but never broken.