Thursday, 4 October 2012


If you missed me on Vox Africa TV's Manolorgz special, here it is again

If they told you the sky was purple
You wouldn’t eyes closed, no second guessing believe it
You would look
See the sky was blue
Find the basis for their contention
And then go ahead and challenge it

But, they have told you,
There is no need for you to pursue education
That you lack the skills to further ambition
They said your people came from nothing
And had to be taught civilisation
They mandated you control your aspirations
And not ask so many questions
They said slavery was wrong
But it was a symptom of your condition
So you should be grateful
That they gave you your freedom
Gave you a whole month
To celebrate your liberation
They have distorted your history
Fed you lies wrapped in purple sky
Tell me - why do you so easily believe them?

Why not look past what’s been fed to you into your past
Unpack the boxes of history
And let those stories be your guide
Then you would know your ancestry is an achievement mine.

That Africa had 10,000 states and Kingdoms before the Europeans arrived
That slavery did not kill your people’s will to fight
That Claude McKay said they were “pressed to the wall, dying but fighting back”
That first generation sons of slavery didn’t let circumstance hold them back
That here, in the UK, William Cuffay, fought not just for his but for universal suffrage rights
Leading the first mass political movement at a time when Black people weren’t known for having rights
That before there could be an Obama, there was a Shirley Chisolm
First African- American Female to stand for US presidential office in 1972
That before Mo Farrah and Usain Bolt could take world stage
Jessie Owen had to outrun Hitler

You would know that you come from a long line of caring strong men
Who having reached the top of the ladder
Cane down and fixed the missing rungs so others could climb higher
Like Olaudah Equiano who was kidnapped from Nigeria at age 11
Sold into slavery in Virginia and again till he ended up in the UK
Bought his freedom and then became a powerful voice in the abolitionist movement

Like Nelson Mandela who exemplified the mantra ‘no man left behind’
When in 2002 he repatriated the remains of Saartjie Baartman deceased in 1816
A Black woman taken from her homeland and paraded as a freak show in Europe in life as in death

Nelson Mandela,
Who fought apartheid at the expense of 27 years incarceration
And then showed us how to turn brokenness into the highest position
Don’t tell me the doors aren’t open

Imagine if we celebrated true success instead of instant stardom
Acknowledged the achievement in the journey as well as the result
Understood that gold only comes from a fire mould

If you would just take the time to look
you would know that strength pumps through your veins
That untold possibilities can result from your pains
That they have only told you enough to keep you in chains
And it is up to you whether you choose to believe them

When no one opened the doors for our predecessors
It didn’t stop them it just made them fight harder
When they were locked in
They slipped out through cracks determined to triumph
They rode their adversities like horses
Until the world reckoned with them
They stood strong
Fighting for worthy causes
Buying our freedom with their blood

So next time someone tries to put you in a box
Conveniently marked; black, unproductive, always needs a crutch,
Before you consider crawling in,
Think about it!
Remember your history and
Know that what you do, what you achieve, who you become
IS your choice
©Tolu Agbelusi

No comments:

Post a Comment