Celebrating East African Writing!
Let me tell you its insane here! The whole day has been one long celebration. Now at night, there are fireworks going off all over the place and various impromptu celebrations.We have declared a national holiday tomorrow , and expect some streets and buildings to be named after him.
I just wanted to share what I feel with someone. On a personal level, Obama’s victory is really deeply psychologically empowering for me as I expect it is for all of us African men. Here is a man you can look at who totally vindicates the African male. In one persona, the stereotypes of the African male have been blown away. Now, we don’t have to fatalistically believe that genetics, culture or geography is destiny. We are not all Jacob Zumas, Mugabes, Mois and Mobutus.
We are not all polygamous, virus spreading, misogynistic, women beating, angry, lazy insecure, envious, intellectually challenged, machete wielding, petty village tyrants or tin-pot dictators.
Its more than I can put in words.
I mean, no matter how self confident I was in my abilities, always hovering there, at the back of my mind was the unspoken, lurking, shadowy, thought, A slimy, beastly, odious enervating diseased thing that crept up unbidden in unguarded moments, a thing that dared not speak its name, a horrible thought that urged me to give up and just finally concede that maybe, just maybe, maybe us dark hued African men were indeed unfit to sit at the table of democratic nations and partake of the bread of civilization.
Maybe I was a fool to hope and strive. Maybe I was – horror of horrors – simply genetically incapable, a prisoner of my genes. Perhaps mine and my children’s nheritance would be forever to crawl in the shadows, trapped here on this dark side of the earth, the only light to guide us being that dimly reflected from the shining golden spires of the distant western cities, light that barely reached our miserable dwellings from across the
eternal gulf separating our species from the rest.
I would sometimes (many times actually) despair and think were it not better I was still borne than live like this, trapped in this strange land, among these beasts, crawling and cowering in the sewers, living on my knees just to survive. And for what? To live one more day? To breed and perpetuate the misery?
And when I saw the shiny blue eyed blonde haired angels from the other side that deigned to grace us with occasional visits, how envious I was! How I longed that they would recognize my difference and take me away – back to where I should have been born but for some colossal celestial blunder. Some inexplicable toss of the dice by some mad god must have landed me here amidst these lush green hills and red soils that perpetually stank of death and deprivation, ignorance and pitiless self preservation. I really pathetically wallowed in self pity. I knew I was meant to be like them, these shiny blonde gods that bestrode the earth with such confidence, with no fear, secure in their superiority in all aspects, in their magical technology and their intelligence.
My double tragedy was that I had by chance, through some magnanamous gesture by these gods, been privileged to travel a few times across the gulf and visit the shiny cities. I had seen how they lived and worked. I had seen what was possible. Then they sent me back. I couldn’t stay. I was not one of them. To be taken to the mountain top, and see the Promised Land spread out below, and be told no, there you cannot go, here and no further, you are not one of us, you do not belong.
I’ve been sick a long time, my mind has been sick, my soul has been sick.
Yesterday and today I got cured. I stopped crawling on my belly and stood up for the first time.Light flooded my mind and my constant shadowy slimy companion slowly retreated from the darkest corners of my mind. I couldn’t hear his dark whispers anymore. I would not listen anymore because I could see. With my own eyes I could see what even the most secret corner of my soul never dared hope. There he was – accepted and even feted
on the greatest stage on earth, some drop of my blood however minuscule beat in his veins, his skin approximated the same dark hue as mine, his hair almost woolly like the knots on my head. But he stood proud and they loved him, their hands outstretched in adoration and acceptance. He was just like me, even the very hidden core of him. The secret code that made him up was no different from mine, from us. So it could not be biology, or culture or geography.
It was because he could and he did.
Yes he could. So Yes we can. Yes we must. Yes we will.
Anything I can say right now about what I feel is totally inadequate. I feel like an inarticulate frustrated ape, trying to explain in grunts and gestures, the grand feelings evoked from listening to a divinely conducted performance of Beethoven’s 6th symphony. It would try to say, “my, I understand. Why… I can hear the bubbling brook and the birds sweetly singing in my forest. I can hear the rustling leaves of the trees swaying in the breeze…Its like coming home!”
But all the ape can do is throw back its head and roar in happiness, thumping its chest, rushing this way and that in seeming frenzy.
Its beyond words really.
If I could speak with my soul, it would sing you such lovely songs at this
moment that all heaven would hold its breath and God would shed a tear.
We have for a few precious moments been allowed into heaven’s inner sanctum,
and as we walk in through the golden arches and approach the blinding light
within, the angels approach and gently hug us, enfolding us within their soft downy
wings whispering “Precious lost sons of Africa, you were never the least of your brethren, we never forgot you…welcome home”
I’m in tears as I write this. I must have drank the Kool-Aid.