Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Pages of my heart...Terryanne Chebet: AFRICA IN LABOUR

Pages of my heart...Terryanne Chebet: AFRICA IN LABOUR


Africa is in labour
summon the village elders
to make a prayer for the royal birth
the brain child of heavenly matrimony
as the fields turn golden
ripe...with harvest
let the celebrations begin,
the ululations of the African woman,
pour libation to the ancestors with pride
for Africa is in labour

The anxious mother writhes in pain
her eyes shut as the memories of yester years fill her mind
years of slavery, exploitation, poverty,
the aftermath of racism and war
burns like acid rain
The beautiful pain of childbirth

Africa's children lay scattered in the dust
torn apart by untold calamities
that rock the womb of black heritage
she prepares her already full breasts for the coming child
as tears stain her milky bosom

Africa is in labour
the naming ceremony is just about
the royal cockerel is at the shrine
it crows...several times
if it crows 3 times, it is a girl,4 times, a boy
6 times it crows, a child..just a child

Africa bursts into celebration
A child is born
A black child is born
and sound of the African drum fills the air
Africa rises with every beat
Grandpa, blow your kudu horn,
uncle, play your marimba
mama, pluck your nyatiti
let the horn of Africa, down to the cape
burst forth for this celebration of colour

The women ululate in awe
the children break into dance
the men sit around a bonfire, warming their liquor
For a child is born
Africa is its name
Africa, my Africa...

come see the re-birth of black culture
As Africa rises from the dust
to soar into the heights
of black liberation.

The chief holds the baby up in the air
'Africa will open her eyes, and bury her songs of old
she will recover her unrivalled beauty
and heal from her wounds of affliction
shades of black will be her crown
time surely has told
and Africa, will rise again'

join me celebrate
the rebirth of Black Africa


Back to the basics;

I have continued to battle with words that sound politically correct in recent days, including trying not to read between the lines in our daily newspapers, when indeed, the news is all between the lines. But in the same way that one loves with the heart and not with the mind, then, one can only be correct or wrong, disregard political, and it’s corrected-ness or lack of, that has found us a place with the pigs, even when our so called intellectual minds sit, sipping a chocolatey mocha, loving the nightly news or the bevy of beauties gracing the screens these days, the back and forth news of Premier today, no Premier tomorrow, sharing today, no sharing tomorrow.

But, the pain that’s deeper in my heart, is that I have smelt burning, not flesh, but concrete, black smoke, money and hard work smoked up to the heavens that shot them back down for discoloring the pure white clouds above, on that day when traveling back to Nairobi from Kitale, my mind racing with Kalenjin vocabulary, just incase we got stopped and asked what the name of an onion is in my tribe.

I smelt burning, on my way to Eldoret in Soy Centre, and I clutched on tight to my little girl, praying to reach the airport safely. That was the day the mind of my very Kenyan brother turned black inside, DO NOTE: this is politically correct language.

My gal, is half tribes…if today, she was in the schools i went to, beautiful places hidden in the scenic rift, beneath the dry river beds of western Kenya and looking up to the hills of what was once the white highlands…would I, in my right mind, take her to school there, I would like to be politically correct at this point and say, I will evaluate the situation first, and as we love to say it these days, now that( uneasy )calm has returned to the country?

Or do I say, you know, education is a very important tool in this day and age, and where one takes her child, depends on how well one sleeps, and in that case, I would find a school next door.

I dream, me, the Gemini is born to do that. I Dream about sunset years spent soaking the sun in the canaries, sipping a cosmopolitan after years of investing wisely in the Nairobi stock exchange. But now, I have had to double my old mutual premiums that will take my girl to that school that knows no tribe, and better still guard against the inflation that now means with 100 bob in my hand, I can only get 3 packets of milk and a balance of one bob, which will not be enough for the spinach, emergency matchbox and a 250gms of salt, like it was mid 2007.

And inter tribal relationships, where do they fall? Just when Otieno’s mother was getting used to the fact that Wambui is here to stay, the breaking news started scrolling, 8 dead in Kisii, 7 burned in Burnt Forest…my fingers, that were alive with youth and anxiety, soon broke out in a sweat, shock on me, how blind could we be, taking to the queues at the polling centre's from 5.00 am, and not see that this was going to happen?

So, how do I start the healing, when I believed in my heart that only the old and un educated were the tribal ones?

You see, the first question my aunties asked when I told them I was dating a kikuyu, in September 2003 were was, how will we tell your uncles?

And now, I would like to pretend that I come from a family where another tribe means an equal, lovable person, but that would be a lie. I speak for a percentage of Kenyans, but I do not have the figures of this percentage. But now, how much more will we revolt each other, how do I, one who thinks intellect comes with literacy, begin my own healing?

I have learnt, in a few crippling weeks, that a book, ink, a pen…does not equate statesmanship, does not equate freedom, and does not equate healing.

Way back in the day when the white man came, they say he took the land; we kept the bibles, and learned to hold a pen. But even then we fought, and tried to stop the snake that is now the Rift valley railway. We fought to get our land back, fought he that came with both sugar and pepper. We took the sugar, and stumped out the pepper, and stayed around long enough to sniff into the dizziness that divides us into tribes, proud tribes that guard our land with a vengeance.

One brain, one mind, one thought, only that our weapons are different, I carry my desperation on my keyboard, others carry bows and arrows, farther away, some carry machetes.

And now I have to put my house in order. How do I be a Kenyan, love Otieno, Mutisya, Njoroge, just the same way I love myself?

How do I begin to love again?

PS- We all are Goliaths, the Davids’ are long rested, with grass already growing on their graves, so I pray, tell me, where do I begin?