To Do List For Africa

When you no longer hate
who you are
And the circumstances that brought you here
Undress yourself
Reclaim your weathered body without fear
Stand naked at your Nile
And hold your reflection dear

Behold a brilliance
You, cracked riverbed
Rainforest
Desert
Monsoon
Savannah
Swamp
Almighty harmattan
Spectacle of sand dunes,
Are the wonder of the earth

Cleanse yourself
Bathe in still waters
And while contemplating your future
Flick the chip off your shoulder
Treat yourself to a make-over

Adorn yourself in the armour
Of oil, diamonds and gold
Destroy the robe of martyr
Once and for all
Deprive the stain of colonialism
Any relevance or meaning
Pack your throat full of a narrative
That truly believes in healing

Let it be your song
Sung through centuries, decades, eras
And echoed by possibility
Echoed by possibility
Echoed by possibility

See
The sun will forever sing highly of me
Take the sandstorm of my skin as testament
To the survival of Timbuktu Manuscripts
And the creations of Egyptian architects
Our blood carries the staying power of ancients

How solar rays cast exact shadows
Was our version of quarter-to-nine
So forget ‘African timing’
We exist in a time before time
The sun is our culture

Take this to-do list as lesson
And, once again, let love be our nature

Africa

I am begging with all of my browness
Unlearn the word “pirate”
When speaking of poor Somali people
Actively defending their seas
Against European greed
They are protectors

Unlearn the wrath of fire
The way hatred burns down shacks in Khayelitsha
Beats down bodies in Diepsloot and rapes in Alexandra
Leaves the devastation of desperation in its wake
Never forget: Harambe

Unlearn your blemishes
Unlearn Idi Amin
Mobutu
Bashir
Mengistu

Unlearn civil war
Coups
Blood diamonds
Kleptocracies
Xenophobia
Genocide
Child soldiers
And casualties

Unlearn your ugly

Africa

My love for you is a broken mirror
Sits heavy in the cavity of my chest
Among dusty boxes full of Fela Kuti songs
A history bloodied by regret
Between these Nervous Conditions
Things Fall Apart, yet still we rise
Unapologetic for our breath
Occupied with survival and sky
Light is what we reflect
Through the pieces
And pieces of turmoil, disasters and diseases
A whole continent
Overlooked by the mercy of Jesus
I need us to love ourselves
A whole lot louder,

Even when the “First World” can’t see us
When it cuts to tell the truth
When the ignorance of our tongues
Lick salt into each other’s wounds
When it hurts to heal
When the taste of freedom
Is not yet as familiar a food as abuse

Africa

Never again will I throw your name around
Like an old excuse
I vow to reclaim all that honours
The origin of we without fear
Bloodied but never broken
We are still here

 

Lebohang Nova Masango