“What do you want to be when you grow up?” I asked. Having to pause for about some seconds gathering some few thoughts the little toddler staring at me, with an easy smile, hazel like eyes whose reflection spoke hope and life and moved the lips to say, “Teacher”, the rejoinder was said in such self-assurance that I had no doubt that it came straight from the boulevards of the young ones’ true heart. It was an honest answer. Marveled of course, I get nosier and ask an even more not so complex question, ‘what is your favorite color?” This time all red from having dug through a packet of potato chips (Tomato flavor) all charged up. The answer I got was rather interesting , ‘Color I love, Red…” I pounce on the conversation immediately not knowing that the list was longer and got an immediate reaction from the little bundle of joy “I also love blue, purple and orange and pink”. I couldn’t help but smile all the way deep down in the very chambers of a heart 7444 days old.
Happy and sad at that very second I drift. She is all grown up but confused than she has ever been, she continues to gain the world and loose her soul. I am in pain because of what society has done to her in the name of teaching her 21st century ways with the aim of reclaiming her true self amid her ruins. Her name is Africa. She didn’t need to be discovered by anyone because she stood out. She has been a home to men and women whose history is barely recorded. Their feet stamped on the soily ground, every step rigid. A spear at hand they chase their prey, their wives farming back at home and children learning of their being from their grandparents in mind. This is what they had come to learn and were determined to keep. They knew no boundaries, knew no monetary differences, new no skin complexion. They were one. Proud of who they were. But what we have in books is rich enough to justify, that maybe when she was in her teen years someone somewhere deflowered her of her dignity jealous of what she had achieved in her young age, wary of the possibilities of what she could do in the future. People who thought that because her tongue rolled in a different way she was disabled, because what clothed her was peculiar she was poor and because what she believed in was unheard of she was inferior.
So they decided to rob her off her intellectual freedom, deceived her into a marriage one that seemed promising at the time but whose implications would be felt centuries later. Just as any mother with many young ones, she had mastered the art of giving birth, she had given life to great children in the beginning. The first being Mighty and Strong Egypt, as beautiful and lovely as her mother was and intellectually free, she built a kingdom with the very unique features as the Pyramids of Giza famous for being properly aligned to Orion’s belt. Khufu, Menkaure and Khafre being the largest. Empires arose from her womb from the great Axum empire, Benin Empire, Kingdom of Ghana, Songhai Empire, the Ethiopian empire the only virgin daughter free from colonial claws and the great Mali empire which at one time housed the world’s richest man whose wealth was estimated to have been at least 400 Billion $, his name Mansa Musa.
Great African leaders and kings who defended her dignity from the king Lali Bela who later on became the Saint Lali Bela saw the rebuilding of the Axum empire, and is credited for the lali Bela churches 12 of them that were curved from pure stone a remarkable gem in the architectural world. We also boast of an Ivy League her name was Timbuktu University that existed from the 13th century long before Columbus discovered America. Leadership has always existed even when our bodies and volitions were chained, Nelson Mandela still believed it could be done, during his circumcision a great chief Meligqili son of Dalindyebo spoke and he said “Here sits our sons….we have just circumcised them in a ritual that promises them manhood, but I am here to tell you that it is an empty, illusory promise that can never be fulfilled. For we are conquered people, slaves in our own land and tenants in our own soil. Among this young men are chiefs who will never rule because we have no power to govern ourselves; soldiers who will never fight for we have no weapons to fight with ; scholars who will never teach for we have no place for them to study. The abilities, the intelligence, the promise of this young men squandered in their attempt to make a living.”
Though freedom was worn the consequences still remain alive till date. We have grown to learn that being better than the other is the definition of success. Being lighter than others is the definition of beauty. Being able to buy worldly luxuries is the definition of wealth. Being able to control your pledges and doing as you like is the definition of power.
Just like the chief was concerned about the future of the young men, I’m also concerned about little Alexia, she has free will and enjoys it so well that she can even afford to love more than one color. Will she still want to become a teacher? what about the 84 toddlers born every minute in this great land, shall we give them the space to truly achieve what they can, or shall we inflict limits on them in the name of a ‘way’ of life? Africa our dear mother is ailing we need to heal her before its too late. If at all Alexia and Millions of others should have a clean shot at life, it’s time we fight the right battle.