Africa, My Africa - what happened to ubuntu
After the success of her poem Water, PEN SA Student Prize winner for 2016 Koleka Putuma pens a new poem Africa, My Africa - a poem she calls Water’s Grandmother (who should be taken with a pinch of salt).
Africa, My Africa
Woyina Mah Afrika
We the born frees
We are the future of this country
We must fight to unite
Fight for the freedom uTata Rolihlala fought for
Fight for the Rainbow Nation he prayed for
Went to prison for
We must not destroy the Fruits of the TRC
We must love our fellow refugee native Africans
We must forgive
Even when they teargas you
Especially when they teargas you
Am not the colour of my skin
I am human
When I step into a restaurant and the waiter does not serve me
I am not the color of my skin
She is just busy
We must tip the waiter. We must tip the waiter.
I am a human being before I am black or a woman
I write in English as to communicate with you
As to communicate with my ancestors-abaphantsi
My ancestors who owned the land before colonisation
Whose statues I do not see erected here in stone
But it does not matter because they live forever in our hearts
In our bones
The same way yours live in our text books
My Africa belongs to us all
My Africa is your Africa
Elilizwe lokhokho bethu liyakhala lithi
What happened to Ubuntu?
What happened to Ubuntu?
Who even is Uhuru?
If our fellow brothers and sisters
Asian/white/or African are divided by privilege
What even is privilege in the face of democracy?
Are you not free, why do you want privilege?
Privilege cannot divide us if Love can unite and ignite us
I think this is what uTata Ubantu Biko meant when he sung Senzeni na
Oh Nkosi, Nkosi woJan Van Riebeck sikikele
Umhlaba wokoko bethu
Dankie Jan Van Riebeck for Jesus and For English
God bless you youth of 1976
For I know why the caged bird sings
Kawula-makamendela-Not yet Uhuru.
Oh youth of 2015, you aint got nothing on the Youth of 76
Until you have bled and and been killed live by the policeman
And been featured in your very own sarafina
You know nothing of revolution
Oh we ma
Children of Africa
Daughters of the soil
Sons of the mother land
Why are you making Rhodes fall
Because without oom Cecil there would be no UCT
You are all ungrateful!
Why are you burning paintings?
When the 76-tiens fought so we could have an education
Where is your gratitude for democracy?
Why do you piss on the freedom uTata uMadiba fought for?
The constitution he fought for
Who cares if you live in a shack and have no accommodation at UCT?
Who cares if Racism still breathes and lives in the mother city?
Who cares if they teach you in Afrikaaans?
Who cares if Cecil falls or rises?
Who cares if there are more shebeens and churches than there are museums about black people
Who cares if Max Price has a comfortable salary
And doesn’t not address police brutality
Who cares if black bodies exist on the margins?
ALL LIVES MATTER!
Your life matters
My life matters
We are all equal
Belongs to all of us
Oh Mandela Tata
May your spirit of ubuntu come upon those who invite it
And those who believed and believe in you
We are all Africans
Children of the soil
Children of Africa
Transcend the chains of Apartheid
Transcend the after math of colonisation
Transcend the fact that you live in the slums/township
At least you have a roof over your head (even if it leaks in the winter)
Stop being ungrateful
Transcend your blackness
Transcend your white bread and rama and sugar water diet
Transcend The Toilet in your backyard
Your poverty mentality
Democracy is yours (if you will take it)
If you do not change mntomnyama
Democracy will never happen for you
Transcend the false promises made by the ANC
It’s not the Government’s fault your life is backward
Take responsibility for your destiny-mntomnyama
Oh child of Africa raised in a shebeen with no matric
Transcend your circumstance
You are not where you come from
Oh mama of Africa
Who took out a loan to pay for her child’s tertiary education?
Transcend your debt
You are a strong black woman
You can pay it off-it will take your entire lifetime
But you are a strong black woman: Imbokodo.
Oh Fathers of Africa
Why are you all
Absent and rapists
Oh men of Africa we fear you
We do not know you
Your sons impregnate our young girls
Our girls with bright tomorrows
Now carry babies on their backs
Their bright tomorrows now dark with HIV
Our children are dying
Imbi lendawo, ndiyisaba lendawo imbi lendawo
Oh child of slavery
[Yoh—-I mean Africa]
Child of Africa
Slavery does not define you
You are not the land they took from you
Even if your are landless
You have your blackness
Sleep on your blackness
Eat your blackness
Live off your blackness
Pay rent with your blackness
Even if you don’t have land you are still a child of the soil
Transcend your landlessness
Transcend your colonisation
You are a reflection of me as I of you
Your suburb is my township
Your riches are my poverty
Your wealth is my struggle
My Shackles are your freedom
Peace not war ma afrika
Madiba is turning in his grave
This is not the country he saw for us
Oh Africa, my Africa
Make us one
Oh Africa My Africa
Bless your children
Who are all one under the sun
This land belongs to us all
Even if only some own and benefit from it