We Are Africans
We Are Africans:
We are a people of untimed rhythm, jagged heartbeats,
And the clucking ululations of the sun;
We are the dancing undulations of the sea,
The baffling but seductive pull of the tide,
The storm you feel brewing inside me
The flash of the stars at night-
We are the celebration in the vibration of
A loud leather drum,
The silent hum of a revel without the need
Of a warranted occasion,
Or the desire for the glint of daylight.
We are the inherited totems we venerate,
The culture of sacred mountains,
The rituals stuttered in painted caves,
Prayers chanted in the chill of a midnight breeze,
To gods and mediums,
Spirits and bearers of rain up in the heavens,
To skin deep lineages, bloodlines we can trace
On the face of our soil-etched palms, back,
Back to places those who do not know
Will ever know.
Our unified heartbeats echo songs to the spirits
Of our living ancestors, in melody, in rhyming unison,
In the harmony of the skies.
We ask these gods:
“Watch over and sanctify us.”
We are the sharp taste of an
Imminent drought that will be watered
By rain designed by the heavens themselves,
Rain designed to
Heal this beaten, beige soil, and nurture
Its yet-to-come, soon-to-be-lush,
Thick-trunked, wide-hipped goliath of a tree,
Emerging, rising out of that same soil,
We are the rooted tradition imprinted in the
Stubborn, wire kinks of these warrior coils of hair,
Warrior coils of hair that have grown and have
Been matted, dreaded and locked
Into that same soil, we are children of the soil,
We are that swollen-with-bounty, rich-bellied,
Gestational arc of a, prolific womb whose
Sweet fruit bears the cultivation of coming generations.
Yes, we are women, the men, the children,
Of a north, south, east and west of a continent
That cradles the heart of the ocean, as if the
Ocean would spill over and evaporate
Into nothingness without it.
We are a people of being, a people of colour;
We are that rich, Sahara-sun-blessed killer Kenyan-coffee,
Soft-Bantu-Kalahari, kind of smooth brown skin.
The flag of oppression, the stubborn stain of poverty;
Emblem of discrimination; stench of failing politics;
The colour of a struggle?
We are grit, the same grit that conceived
The confusion, the chaos, the mad mayhem,
And fatal reality that is vapoured tongues,
Distorted habits, diluted cultures and doctrines,
Mismatched values and outdated moralities,
Brothers, sisters without a clue of who they are
Or what their place of origin endures,
Brothers and sisters out in the great diaspora,
As if, mistakenly, that new place were a token of salvation,
A leaf of hope for a people that has it all wrong,
Brought by chance in the form of a white dove- redemption.
We are an exodus.
We are a plea to our coming descendants:
“Do not forget.”
Do not forget that you eternally belong to this land the
Way inhale belongs to exhale, the way
We inhale what this land will exhale
And what we exhale will be its inhale
We are its oxygen.
We are a people of one faultless moon,
One rising sun that burns only in Africa and for Africa alone.
We are the look of ageless flare.
We are Africans.
“’We Are Africans’ means redefining for myself what it means to be African. It means claiming the narrative as my own, validating my experience as my own.
Tanatsei Gambura is a first-year student from Harare, Zimbabwe, who describes herself as a cultural activist. A poet and actor, her work explores the implications of African culture, identity, and womanhood. Tanatsei wishes for her art to be a brewing revolution, a pair of wings, a place of healing. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org