Rö qe mba kunda do tar njaa ne: See gelee ban bba deouje njaa do dee ge tar wa.

Ngambai

Mbaihoguemel Samuel

Ketté ge leou lé deouje njaa asena ge nékundaje ge gol dee so so bee mbata deen d’om gol dee nang lem qe ji dee nang lem to bba njaa né. Deen d’ain ngwod d’unda ëm lem, ngaraou lem qe kasbani lem to. Gol deouje lem qe ji deouje lem to lé to mbor nan’d deb ba. Kuru gol deouje lem qe kuru ji deouje kârâ to asena qe do bag deouje lem, qe mër rèeng deouje lem to. Kil ji qe ta keji deouje qe kwöji ngonn gol qe kem kil ji deou, qe ji deou , qe gol deou qe nganneeje deen mi-mi lem qe elji qe elgol deouje kârâ to kenneng lem to. Ji deouje qe nganneeje lem ge ngann gol deouje lé d’asena ya rai-rai. Mee ndea genn lé kon ji deou lé to mbor nganneeje ‘g deb, kon gol deou kârâ to togebé ya lem to. Gol deouje qe ji deouje ndaà deen pana, deen to njemeekonje.

Deen d’oré nan mès ndaà d’unn ro deou lé d’aou né loo ge méee ndigi asena qe loo ra gadje’g lem, loo néndogoje’g lem, d’unnee d’aou sea tàr loo ge al kag ése loo ge in do mbal ‘g uru nang, looje lai ya ge yeen ndigi k’aou kenneng ndaà deen ra sea togebé ya. Lée dann mann’g kârâ, deen d’oré nan mès d’aree in do mann’g tàr, esé d’aree alèe mann lem qe and mee mann’g lem to. Deen d’om meen de nan’d sad tobei d’oré nan mès loo kula noji nan’d le dee. Deen d’askem deji barkemroje ge rang qe mba k’oré se dee mès do kula ge neelé asena qe ndu deou ge in qe reou ge to tâ deou’g esé ndu ge in ge reou ge ro mbi deou’g esé bain né ge in qe reou ge ro em deou ‘g lem qe k’oo loo qe in ge reou ro kem deou ‘g lem to.

Loo ge deen d’oré nan mès esé d’om nan’d sad togebé ndaà ar njé ge rang lé ra se dee nii yaan tobei deen d’enji njé meekonje neelé bein-bein to. Takenji nii ge to mee dee’g neelé ar kem dee tö sum-sum lal kar dee ger to ge gol deou qe ji deou bba d’unn dee d’aou se dee ge yô ge neen bée el. Gelee ge neen bba, deen d’unn kudu kon njuman woji do gol deou lem qe ji deou lem to.

Ndon deou unn kudu k’aou kinga kàa- do- deou qe mba sang goso kon njuman lea. Yeen deji rea tâ qe ndea ge boi wel woji ne do né ge golje deen qe jije d’askem ra. Yeen deji rea tâ pana: see dann dee deen ge joo neelé see nan bba singà yaan uru do maree wa. Njemeekonje ge to golje qe jije neelé deen ndiman ndu ro tâ deou’g tobei deen pana: Jeen lé n’to maji dum mbuna barkemroje ge rang lai. Deen tel deji ro dee ta pana: see nan bba ngal to danna ndigi-ndigi mbuna mareeje’g wa. Jije d’unda kàr dee pana: ngann ji neenje lé ar danna ndigi-ndigi, tobei deen tel pa qe ta kogo pana: ngann golje ndàa gwöji tobei deen ndër do nan’d lem to. Ngann golje lé d’in d’illa kenneng pana: ngann jije lé ëng këng-këng asena qe deou ge bbo tolèe bée. Njuman neelé to meen dee’g ar kurée eou ar loo k’om nan’d le dee sad qe mba ra kula to ge ketté lé goto. Géee ge gogo ndàa deen sang reou qe mba deji ro dee ta k’oo see nan bba askem kuru do mareeje’g wa. Ndàa deen sang reou d’inga barkemroje ge rang qe mba kar dee d’illa kag do ta ge neelé d’ar dee.

Ndon deou lé ya bei tel pana: maji kar dee ra né naa-singà qe mba k’oo see nan bba a kuru do mareeje’g wa. Barkemroje ge rang lé d’om sea naa do’g tobei deen pana to takenji ge maji yaan. Nê see ddi bba to né ge kem ra wa. Njé ge nanje pana: Rö – nan bba to né naa-singà ge maji kar jije qe golje d’illa do nan’d. Njé nge rang pana, maji ra né naa-singà qe kiambas bba esé ngwod bba maji kar dee ndum né nan esé né naa-singà ge asena qe ra néndamje qe mba ndum né naa. Ndon tel aou ro kàa- do- deou’g ya bei ndàa teen qe takenji ge rang tobei pana: maji kar nana kârâ mbuna jije qe golje lé ya teen qe né naa-singà lea qe mba dum né maree. Jije ge golje lé deen pana, maji ra togebé ya.

Loo ra né naa-singà neelé to meekör’g mbor mann kuu’g deb. Barkemroje d’ishi pèrèrè qe mba kar né ge majel kara kârâ teen do daro ‘g el loo ge jije qe golje d’aa ra né naa-singà neelé. Kem deou ishi pèrèrè qe mba ra kula lea qe mba tenn mee kör neelé qe mba k’oo boo lee né ge majel a teen ndàa qe mba kosee reou ge rang. Mbi ndàa tuga mbia gèng ishi né pèrèrè qe mba kar boo lee kàa né ge majel a bbar ndàa qe mba karee og léee lem to. Em-deou ndàa kodèe reou emee aree ar ngàt-ngàt ishi né pèrèrè mba kar boo lee né ge kem oo el esé mbi oo el ndàa yee a taa bain qe mba kula dee to ge né ge majel aou ree qe mba kar dee d’wa né do gol ro dee to. Ndon – deou ndàa gol do rea ishi pèrèrè qe mba ra né wel-wel loo ge né ge majel a kuba dee nang bus.

Lël unn sôr né naa-singà neelé and aou né mee körje ge lem aou né dann mannje’g qe looje lai-lai lem to. Bee bba daje ge mee wala’g ge gol dee so-so lé teen qe barkem kagje ji dee’g asena qe nétwoji ge kan kula noji nan’d bba ree d’inga dee né loo nee naa-singà ‘g neelé. Daje qe kudu dee kudu dee taa loo pel-pel. Deen ge gaji dee ngal- ngal lem qe deen ge gaji dee göjo- göji lem to.Deenje bba neen ya: ëm lem, ngaraou lem, kasbani lem, maakör lem, toboin lem, rigem lem këre lem, pulapula lem, jamal lem arkas lem qe yeg lem, lia lem qe baila lem, bbëd qe bangla lem to. Deen ge dann mann’g asena qe ab lem màar lem qe kanjije lai ya d’or do dee tar dann mann’g tobei d’yan ro dee bura dann mann’g qe mba k’oo ne né naa-singà neelé lem to. Daje ge gol dee joo- joo asena qe miro lem, tanji lem, ra rolel d’isa né bag dee mir-mir lem to. Elje qe gel dee –gel dee ra kam kagje d’aree bbar mir- mir lem to. Ndiri korje d’os pa qe kàrje lai ya mee ndea genn lé lem to. Gadmagarje qe ngann kuruje ge tèn –tèn ge d’ag nang esé kululuje d’aou qe looje lai-lai do kagje ‘g lem qe dalèe qe taa mee dee nang qe looje lai lai lem to. Lia ndàa yee illa méeen pon njaa lom-lom tenn loo sô-sô nê baila ndàa ain qe looje lai-lai ar loo asée el lem to. Bbëdje qe banglaje tal kagje d’om yô ge neen lem to. Loo ge boo lee I tenn do kagje oo ndàa lël aou se dee ge yô ge neen tobei lam ndàa loo tel ar nding lem to.

Tâ deou bba or ta reou loo né naa-singa ge neelé qe pa kos togebé pana:

Jeen n’ra togebé qe mba shi né qe rolel
Jeen n’ra togebé qe mba shi qe rolel
Jeen n’ra togebé qe mba shi né qe rolel
Mbata jeen lai lé j’in ginn koji ge kara ba

Jije deen qe golje d’unda ndu dee nan’d mânn né ro dee qe ndu noji tobei deen pana: kand né naa-singaà neelé deou a ra ong kenneng el lem, a ra dingam kenneng el lem, a ra karee tuji el lem, a ra qe ji ngao mbad el lem to.

Jije ya d’unn kudu né naa-singà neelé ketté. Deen d’unn ddugru kag d’illa nang ndàa deen deji golje qe mba kar dee d’unda singà dee nan’d d’unn d’illa rang. Golje ge dokol qe dogel d’inga nan d’or sôr nan’d tobei d’inga ngann golje qe mba kôré nan mès ndaa qe mba kunn ddugru kag ge to né naa-singà neelé killa rang. Loo ge d’inga nan togebé ndàa d’unda singà dee nan’d nê loo kunn ge tàr killa rang lé léee dum dee tès. Loo k’aou né ge ketté kârâ goto lem loo tel né ge gogo kârâ goto lem to. Nduburu ya bba deen nduburu bël bee bbo loo rea ge rang goto. Loo ge jije d’oo togebé ndàa deen ndiman kogo ge to tâ deou ‘g tobei deen kogo né golje mbata d’askem kunn ndugru kag neelé ge tàr el. Jije njaa gaman, kogo , ra rolel tobei tel d’unda ro dee nan’d ndàa deen d’unn ndugru kag neelé d’unda m’ari d’illa rang ar kem daje lai ya turu ge do dee’g togebe to. Deen ra neje ge rang ya bei, d’wa néso ge d’ula qe ngö bura mee nang ‘d d’or raga lem, d’ula kulà kem bolo libri’g lem to. Deen ra neje ge guburu qe mba kodo né kagje ge boi-boi lem to. Deen ra ningàje qe mba tur karee aou eou yaan lem deen ra neje bula ge ngann golje d’askem ra el lem to. Golje ndàa kem dee ya bba d’ishi d’oo ne né ge njemeekonje le dee ge ngal ndigi-ndigi asena qe deouje ge lab or dee bee d’aou ra. Daje lai ge ree loo né naa-singà ge neelé d’unda ji dee rab-rab d’ula ne ronduba do jije’g to. Nê lee bee ya kârâ loo ge d’aou d’unda ji dee togebe ndàa, ngann golje d’aou gër nang qe mba teen qe né naa-singà le dee ya lem to.

Mee karee ge nee ndàa deen d’yan tareou d’ar golje qe ngann golje qe mba teen qe né naa-singà le dee nga. Deen pana : kan neenje ndàa to né ge lam ba bée. Deen d’woji gad loo nang gir-gir tobei d’ula jije pana maji kar dee d’wa kagro deou lé bura ya njaa ne gang loo’g neelé. Jije pana, né naa-singà mbë ge ban bba togebé wa. Maji tenn k’oo bba. Neje lai ge to kag ro deou ‘g lé tel rea wagsa. Jije ge to kagro deou’g lé oso nang rëb. Kem deou tel ge nang ar loo karee oo loo qe kuree lé goto. Korö uru em deou ‘g aree kès aou nang ddeng-ddeng. Golje ge ngann golje ndàa deen tel ro dee ge tàr: nya ya juu. Daje lai ge ree loo né naa-singà ‘g neelé d’ur kii wel- wel tobei deen pana:

Nyayo nyayo juu
Hakuna matata
Fuata nyayo
Hakuna matata
Turukeni angani

Takenji le dee lai lé to ge do jije qe ngannjije ya goo kara ba. Barkemroje ge twoji ro dee kem mardeeje ge neelé ya loo qe mba kar dee d’unn kagro deou qe mba ra né naa-singa neelé goto ge ban bba bee wa. Loo ge d’wa lam ya ndàa ji dee wei përeg, d’aou né yo-yo neen neen ndàa dyan kagro deou lé d’aree unda nang rib. Loo ge d’wa ro dee lam ndàa deen tel ree d’unn ya bei tobei deen pana maji teen qe ngann jije lé yerere bba banelle j’aa kunn né bei nê konji ya qe karee ba bba teen rea ge raga nê deen ge lai ndàa léee goto. Deen ndigi ra né gir-gir bba qe mba kunn né kagro deou lé bei nê léee neelé gol bba askem la se dee do’g bei bee ndàa léee goto ya tobei. Leeegenee ndàa golje qe ngann golje nga bba d’unn kudu kogo jije. Deen d’aou ndiman kogo ro tâ deou’g tobei deen kogo toso qe goo dee goo dee. Leeegenee ndàa ong in qe jije püü ar dee tel d’aou qe mba kunn kagro deou lé gogo ya bei nê loo ge d’unn lé d’askem k’od né ddegesè el ya saar. Jije qe ngann jije d’enji pi ndàa d’uba né naa-singà neelé d’yan. Léeegenee bba golje qe ngann golje ra rolel twoji né néger le dee. Deen ra rolel d’unn gol për lem, tàl tàr d’ain gwod lem , deen tàl ge tàr lem ge nang lem d’unn né kagro deou lé lal karee oso nang. Golje qe ngann golje lai ge ree loo né naa-singà’g neelé tuba nang d’aree ddang yir-yir d’oso né ginn golje’g tobei deen twoji to ge d’om se dee nan’d sad lem to. Jije d’unn ji dee ge tàr tobei deen pana: né ge sein golje aou raije lé to léee’g el nê mee dee wei lal kar dee ger to ge deen ya bba ra neelé ketté to.

Léee ge nee lé, deen ge njera né naa-singàje qe deen lai ge ree loo né naa-singà ‘g neelé d’inga néndoo kara. Loo ge jije qe ngann jije d’aou qe mba k’unn kagro deou neelé ndàa kon ji or rea qe karee. Barkemroje ge nje ra jang je d’om nan’d d’aou kogé mbata deen d’enji to ge konji ge or rea qe karee neelé a kor singà dee nê loo ge yee or rea qe karee neelé ndàa ar singà jije qe ngannjije lé in do maree’g ge ketté-ketté togebé. Deen deji ro dee ta pana see ddi bba togebé wa. Konji or rea ge raga ya nê singà dee in do maree ‘g ge ketté –ketté.

Mban bba qe mba kar dee d’ula dee see nan bba teen kor non mareeje’g wa ndaà deen m’ain nan ta do’g as ndo mi twoji né ngann jije ge mi lem qe ngann golje ge mi lem to. Bee bba loo ge deen tenn d’oo togebé ndàa loo killa ta do nan’d goto. Barkemro ge rara kârâ ra kula ge woji dea ya. Tobei deen kara kara lai lé d’oré nan mès lem to. Bee bba ar takenji kemkàr ge rang ree oso do maree’g ar dee togebé: see kagro deou lé see to ge ddi wa. Loo ge deen deji ro dee ta togebé ndàa deen d’illa kenneng pana: Kagro deou lé to jeen ya kara kara lai tobei jeen j’and mee nan’d ge yo ge nee lem to. Barkemro deou ge kara njaa maji ndàa reaje lai lé a k’aou maji ya to.

Bee bba qe mba kar né ge togebé lé tel teen do ci’g ndo ge rang bba illa né kag non si’g el ndàa jeen j’unn ndu si qe mba kar kagro deou lé golje d’unnee tàr njaa sea lem ji deou a to ge tar lem to. Bee bba kagro deou lé rea lelee yaan mbata ndukunn neelé, nê yeen pana , qe mba kar meen ngannje wei do loo ge jeen j’in kenneng lé el ndàa deen d’a njaa gol dee so ya. Bee bba barkemroje k’ai nan kula ge d’a ra qe léee- léee lem to. Golje d’a k’aou qe deou loo ge yeen ndigi k’aou kenneng nê loo ge deou ishi nang mban ndàa, to ta le jije qe mba ra kulaje lai ge yeen woji kwoji ra. Loo ge golje d’a kodo deou k’aou sea rara kârâ to ta le jije qe mba sang néso qe mbata tula tâ deou’g neelé lem to.

Tâ deou a so né ndàa a kula né qe reou ge ro gwos deou’g qe mba karee aou kei –boo ciin ‘g. Kei boo-ciin neelé a kor mannee ge maji qe mba karee njaa ro deou’g. Tobei ciin ndàa deou a k’aou dubu mee ndö’g qe mba karee ar do nang singà lem to. Bee bba loo ge kam nainje a teen ndàa, ji deou a k’aou sang qe mba ree kul né deou lem to. Bee ya yee bba to reou shi do nang nee le deou.

Léee bee ya kârâ, barkemroje pana: néje lai ge j’or kemee neelé kârâ banelle a tel to néjog mbuna si’g ya bei. Do deou askem pana nee bba n’ishi tàr ddoi mbata golje ndàa d’aou njaa nang ndàa nee ya bba n’to mbai do barkemroje lai mbata deen lai lé d’ishi gel nee ‘g nang. Nê deen pana, boo lee woji do kuru do nan ndàa deen lai ya d’asena boo njekuru do maree goto. Bee bba deen tel ya tobei, qe mba kar tapa si neelé to njang ndàa loo ge barkemro kara inga doo ndàa jeen lai ya ro si a ddiri njig-njig to. Deen d’illa mbër d’ar tâ deou d’ula pana: a ra né qe doroi el nê jeen lai ya bba j’aa k’omje nan’d qe mba ra.

Deen d’os pa pana
Mee kagro deou lé,
Barkemro deou ge a to ngonn njéshi le maree lé goto
Mee kagro deou lé,
Barkemro deou ge a to ngonn njéshi le maree lé goto
Jeen n’la qe nan ge yô ge neen
Jeen ya lai
Jeen n’la qe nan ge yô ge neen
Jeen ya lai
Jeen n’la ge nan ge yô ge neen
Ndon ge to ndu si lé
Maji kari w’am ge roi’g ndàa ma kârâ ma k’woi ge rom ge to
Jeen j’ar kagro si ar ngàt-ngàt
Maji kari w’am ge roi ‘g ndàa ma kârâ ma k’woi ge rom’g to
Jeen j’ar kagro ro si ar ngàt –ngàt, maji le daro lé to k’om nan’sad
J’oré nan mès j’aou ra kula mba kar kagro ar ngàt-ngàt
J’oré nan mès j’aou ra kula mba kar kagro ar ngàt –ngàt
K’om nan’d sad bba to singà si.

Yee bba to goso pa ge woji do daro. Pa neelé bba kagro os aree twoji kunda ro bbed le deou qe nékundaje ge rang lem qe deen ge ndigi shi qe do dee ge tar el lem to.

Lee togebé ya kârâ deen ge gol dee so-so lé ndigi kar do dee to ge tàr el ya saar. Pa neelé tel to nékogo ba ar dee. Tâ deou lé to mba néso boo qe mba kos né pa el. Né ge meen dee on byan do ‘d lé ya deen d’ar kenneng njang boo loo tel takenji le dee rang lé goto.

Loo ge deouje d’om nan’d sad do kula ge barkemro deeje d’aou ra ndàa kula neelé aou maji nê boo lee kagro deou qe do deou d’aou naji nan to ge ma m’uru do m’aremje ndàa léee neelé jeen tel asena qe njemeekonje le si ge to ge daje ge mbad ro qe mba kar do dee tel to ge tàr bee ya lem to.


Mbaihoguemel Samuel

Jalada 06: Diaspora

 

DWF_FINAL COVER

Cover Illustration by Guled Abdulwasi

 

Introduction: DWF x Jalada: Diaspora 


»“We are the Children of Diaspora” by Anisa Nandaula  ·  Distant Relatives” by Anne Moraa ·  “Stranger Kin” by Aline-Mwezi Niyonsenga ·  “Your Tears Are Hands Trying Not To Shake” by Ahmed Yussuf · “Amani and Upendo” by Mwas Mahugu ·  “Familiarity of the Diaspora Gang” by Adut Wol · “Lines on the Soles of My Feet” by Marziya Mohammedali · “Continental Spaces” by Richard Ali «


Credits

“Lines on the Soles of My Feet” by Marziya Mohammedali

 

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Marziya Mohammedali is a wordsmith, photographer, designer and artist based in Perth, Western Australia. Their practice focuses on narratives of dissent, identity, migration and transition, working for social justice through multidisciplinary creative practice. They are the Arts Editor of Jalada – A pan-African writing collective. Twitter: @kikei. Website: www.kikei.net

“Continental Spaces” by Richard Ali

1.

I want to be African.To be African denotes expansiveness. It also means that when you travel, you feel a kinship with everyone who is dark skinned like you, the sense that—this must be my brother. For Africa is a country the size of a continent and its diaspora goes on to the ends of the earth. An African – which can only come from self-identification – is a seeker of kinship everywhere, in culture, in history, in perspective.

Australia, of all the countries in this world, fascinates me.

Because it is a country the size of a continent.

Because its people are all lovely shades of black, like me.

Because its people, because they are black, were placed on tables and carved into psychological and geographical chunks by greed and a bureaucracy.

Just as my continent and I were, at a conference in Berlin, in 1884.

After which, there was a scramble.

Across the world away, in a place down under, live family with whom I share scope and experience.

2.

There is a scene in the 2008 Baz Luhrmann film Australia where the hero, the boy Nullah, sings stampeding cattle to a stop, himself at the edge of a cliff. It has remained in my mind for many years after. For in that scene is a powerful idea—that music is a universal language that comes from the soul which can affect nature and all in it, that even the powerless, at the precipice of death, can take up agency, do have power.

But the very nature of the medium, film, with its plotlines and creative license, the primacy of the story, makes it equally unreliable. A story is, very often, not the truth. Baz Luhrmann is, of course, not an Aboriginal Australian and can only have tried, honestly perhaps, to mimic Nullah’s existence. Therefore, there is another power involved here—of funding, ideology and the potential to subvert—possessed by Luhrmann, which cannot be denied or downplayed.

Would an Indigenous Australian filmmaker have been able to raise the funds for this same film? In what ways, were this to happen, would this film have been different? And, to your answers to both questions, a third question—why? Do you now see?

3.

Truth arrived in my Opera Mini browser inbox a day ago. The Australian PM, Scott Morrison, was set to deliver an apology to the victims of sexual abuse at various Australian institutions, including schools. The victims are, for the most part, members of the Stolen Generation, Indigenous people who were forcibly taken from their families by the State. Most of these were “half castes”, people like Nullah. The notion of a “half caste” is taken from eugenics, the discredited pseudo-science shared by the Australian State with the Nazis, white supremacists all throughout American history, and the Apartheid South African regime.

The purpose of this policy, which ran until the 70’s – within living memory – was to convert these persons into white citizens. It was alchemy, no less, but done with lives, with the aid of a bureaucracy and the complicity of human beings who should have known better.

In the days after, I have been unable to stop thinking of these people—what they saw, what was done to them, what they endured.

The Prime Minister in parliament gave the apology, yet, I was astonished to see some coverage of it describe it as “rare”. If an apology for a crime is rare, does that not mean it was not a crime, in fact, but rather just a lark gone wrong? Yet, that was simply not the case. A State, mobilizing thousands of civil servants and agents, many of whom are still alive, over decades, perpetrated this pillage of human beings systematically and deliberately. This was not a mania, this was premeditated. And of course, further reading shows that the effects of European meddling in Australia continue even to this day. So what does an apology mean? What does this apology mean?

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4.

I’m a traveller and a writer. Lives matter to me – the exploring of geographies and memory, and what Kenyan writer Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor asks in her epic novel, Dust, “what endures?”

I was born in a small cosmopolis named Jos in central Nigeria, sitting pretty 4000 feet above sea level. In Jos, there is no modesty about the nature around us; everywhere one looked was impressive, nothing was half done. Perhaps this explains my fascination with the world of Nullah— the Australia of wide-open spaces and dust and water, and people dark skinned like me, slim and secure in their traditions.

Research and news over the years have exploded the previous sentence with the truth of irreparable disruption, the white racial tyranny, and eventually, the madness that is alchemy with lives.

5.

I have a yearning for wide-open spaces, an innate love for travel that, years down the line, continues unabated. And, sometimes, I recognize that I too seek to achieve a sort of alchemy, only my medium is not lives but rather the experiences of others. To place this side by side mine. To make them mine.

I have always desired a more nuanced identity to match a greater sense of self. Which is how I have wound up here at the terminal at Aeroport Charles de Gaulle—an African pondering Australia, while thinking in images about books and films and make believe things. Thinking of language.

6.

Continental spaces can be overwhelming, as can be seen from the tension between specific injury and inclusive identity, a stolen generation, and a need to conform everyone into Australian white.

I have to think of Africa.

7.

 

 

BSWM-2

 

When I say I am an African, it is a potential thing. No such thing as African, in the way I want it to be, exists. It is not a country though I wish it were, in the way I need it to be. Africa is, in today’s sad reality, a continent of over fifty different countries with just as many complementary local elite, all in tacit cooperation to keep we, the people, apart. There is something about the unity of Black that scares the world, and those who partake of the system of this world, even if they too, in skin, are black. Fanon, in this was prescient.

In trying to find my Africa, I have had recourse to music, to rebel music especially.

A few years ago, I sampled reggae artistes Bob Marley and Luciano along with Fela to make an argument in my essay, “Rebel Music and the African Country” published in Jalada Africa.

“Rebel music remains influential, its prophets stay large than life even in death, because they have provided definitions. Clear. Prescient. Positive.

The absolute poverty of our present intellectual elite is eloquently demonstrated in the Africa-Is-Not-A-Country trend of thought. They have failed, in contrast to the rebel musicians, to tell us what Africa is. What it is not is quite besides the point. It is true that a tiger does not declaim its tigritude, to borrow Wole Soyinka’s famous quip, but neither does it go on long drawn out fits of barking over its non-dogitude, or squawking about its non-chickenitude, or similar concessions drawn on the true roar of a tiger, made in favour and in honour of the deprecations of anyone who says a tiger is a dog or a tiger is a chicken respectively.

To follow the present intellectual elite down to their own kennels and coops, they have failed further to tell us what the countries Nigeria or Algeria or the ethnicities Motswana or Kikuyu mean either. In the supreme snobbishness of negation, in the same breath as the giving up of the very agency of definition, they fail to define anything. It is in this West-centric lockstep that my sympathy with Olatoun William’s character, Oyinda, finds itself firmly ensconced. We have no reason to have a bankrupt intellectual account, no reason to excuse our intellectual elite being merely acadas, yet here they are, not observing and experimenting with ideas, not applying ideas to lives, not inspiring any material culture. For so long as we are reacting to what the West says, for so long as we refuse to DEFINE, we are merely mimics of other people’s voices, moons to suns, adjuncts to predicates.”

So, here is a music break —

8.

Where and how do we find the immense strength to be human?

THE

—Australian State
—the National Socialists
—the Afrikaner Broederbund (and the state they animated)
—the entire gamut of American history
TO WHICH
—we must add the Zionist Israelis in occupation of Palestine
DID NOT BELIEVE that other people were less human than they were but
THEY WERE AND ARE WILLING to act as if this was so,
and they pay the price with their dehumanized lives
and broken societies
their system
TODAY.

Where do we find the strength to be human?

Malcolm-X

 

“But when you get the white man over here in America and he says he’s white, he means something else. You can listen to the sound of his voice – when he says he’s white, he means he’s a boss. That’s right. That’s what “white” means in this language. You know the expression, “free, white, and twenty-one.” He made that up. He’s letting you know all of them mean the same. “White” means free, boss. He’s up there. So that when he says he’s white he has a little different sound in his voice.”

[1965]

 

Jimmy-B

“I have observed that not many of us can say, or sing: hallelujah. Perhaps it is because one first [must] descend into the valley, where one learns to say: Amen. If one can find in oneself the force to say, Amen, it is possible to come to Hallelujah. But Amen is the price. The black experience in the valley of America remains, my friends, America’s only affirmation. We have sung the Lord’s song for a very long time, in a very very strange land […] Perhaps that is why so many like to say that only black people can sing the blues.”

[1973]

“By deciding that they were white. By opting for safety instead of life. By persuading themselves that a Black child’s life meant nothing compared with a white child’s life… In this debasement of and definition of Black people, they debased and defined themselves.”

[1963]

“Love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within. I use the word “love” here not merely in the personal sense but as a state of being, or a state of grace – not in the infantile American sense of being made happy but in the tough and universal sense of quest and daring and growth.”

[1963]

Ponder on these.

9.

If we are to survive, we must find ways to collaborate that incorporate nuance, blending a curiosity and empathy for the specifics of others with a general need to fit all within a simple humanity. There are no stories to this, there is only truth. And all truth can only be found by getting on the road, real and metaphysical, exploring terrain and memory alike.

At the centre of curiosity must be the idea of the equality of all cultures, the correctness and relevance and truth of communal lived experience passed down. It is the lack of accepting this equality that saw to a generation stolen and abused, and wounded. Needlessly. By the Australian state.

To be human is to refuse to dehumanize ourselves in the ways we treat other human beings, no matter what the benefits are. It is to understand that the price is not worth it. Not the money gotten from the exploitation of migrant labour, not the edifices built with resources extracted from the backs of slaves, not a society that cannot survive without the disenfranchisement of Australia’s Indigenous people.

10.

The task of conscious people is to continue to find ways to put the human being back, in humanist terms, at the centre of this rock we share.

Fractions, categories, where these can be exploited by politics to create Others, must be rejected. The lived experience, especially where this is negative and from which resentment flows, must be acknowledged and amends made. There can be no excuses for doing this. We have to reclaim our agency.

Which leads us back to the essence of a scene in a film made with the limitations of that medium, of a boy on a rock, who sang a universal language even when he was very, very afraid. New ways of understanding and seeing is what is called for. If we dare.


Richard Ali is a Nigerian lawyer, poet and author of City of Memories (Parresia Books 2012). He is a founding member of Nairobi-based Jalada Africa and sits on the board of the Babishai Niwe Poetry Foundation (Uganda). Twitter @richardalijos. Website:  www.richardalijos.wordpress.com

“Familiarity of the Diaspora Gang” by Adut Wol

We hold a gaze of familiarity, something like that one song you remember hearing, you can hear the words and feel the rhythm, but the song never comes out your mouth. A similarity like a mirage in the horizon, something you swear is there. But was it ever there? Or was it the longing for it that you saw?

I was standing at the edge of the field at Afropunk, done with the entire day. I just wanted to isolate myself from people, even if just for a second. I needed that space.

I saw her in the dawn of light and I was hoping she saw me too. I was staring at her, making sure my gaze was gentle enough so that if our eyes should meet, she would feel at ease. She kept getting closer and closer to the point that I had to look away.

What if she had realised I was staring at her and was headed over here to yell at me, what if I had food on my face, what if she’s trying to walk past me to get to where she’s going? All the scenarios played over in my head and by the time I had looked up, she was standing right at my feet.

Tall statue, skin like a glazed donut. I looked up at her and she was smiling down at me. I tilted my head, like you have some audacity to look at me like a garden gnome. Her smile was so gleeful, like she was about to have an outburst of something.

I smiled at her too – we recognised each other. She pointed at me and said, “South Sudanese?” I smiled back at her, nodded and said, “South Sudanese.” We embraced another in a long and tender hug.

“I knew it, I knew you guys were South Sudanese, I just wasn’t sure.”

I introduced her to three of my other mates and she proceeded to hug them and introduce herself. We were all just as happy to meet her as she was to meet us.

She wanted to know where we’ve been, what we’ve been eating, and how long we were staying. She spoke to us like an older sister, who just wanted to take care of her sisters.

We wanted to know how she’s been, how long she’s been here, and how was she surviving.

She came back closer to me and asked if we were going to be in the same spot for a while because she had some people she wanted to introduce us to. Within 10 minutes, she came back with a group of ladies. We all started screaming and pointing at each other. We all hugged who we could, and shouted over one other for introductions. We were South African, South Sudanese, Kenyan and Brooklyn, New York.

She invited us to her favourite restaurant in Harlem – we were so tired of eating bodega food. All we wanted was a home cooked meal that would smell and look familiar.

We arrived at the restaurant, took our seats, and continued to talk over each other about our experiences of being in the diaspora.

I loved listening to her talk about her passion for connecting all the South Sudanese in the diaspora, her struggle to merge cultures, surviving on her own, going to school, having to juggle university debt with a job one has no passion for. I felt that right in my chest.

I was finally grateful to be from Australia, the idea of leaving home to go to a completely different state for school and having to support oneself scared me. Having my parents’ house and Uncle Centrelink gave me the comfort of knowing I had a safe place, and I wouldn’t need to worry about money for now.

Some of us wanted to go to a home we all left when we were too young to remember, but still hold on to the hope of one day returning. Some wanted to make do with what they had. It was their home now. The only home they remember.

Even though she was in a place that was predominantly black people, she still felt different, she still felt like going home.

Something we all felt at some level.

But we recognised the familiarity in our eyes. Our joy was familiar, our laughs, our excitement – it was the Familiarity of the Diaspora.


Adut Wol is a South Sudanese born Australian raised writer slowly coming into my craft. She is just here to write stories and make our lives relatable. She enjoys reading and writing because stories have a way of helping people navigate through life, through written experiences. Twitter:  @KakoyaKaka

“Amani and Upendo” by Mwas Mahugu

baskets_amani-and-upendo (1)

masks_amani-and-upendo

Amani and Upendo

A long time ago in Africa there lived a happy people from a happy village on the hill, where everything was perfect. Villagers lived in utopian harmony, Love reigned supreme, and Peace was the core pillar of Nyambo society. Everything formed one energy, from nature to the galaxies.

Myths and stories from grand elders spoke of medicine men and priests who had explored the galaxies extensively. Planting, marriages, and many rituals were done in perfect alignment with the stars each yearly season.

Annually, a huge golden beam would be shone across the galaxy towards the desired planets to appease the gods, who would in turn respond with blessings and a bountiful harvest the following season.

One particular season, a drunken priest miscalculated, directing the golden beam ray towards the dreaded ringed planet Saturn. The people had explored all the galaxies, but Saturn was a taboo place.

Evil vibrations descended upon the village, bringing with them dark destructive energies. Vibrations of fear invaded the hearts of the villagers.

Confusion took over the people’s normal life, and greed, suspicion, turmoil, and mayhem became the order.

What amazed the villagers is with the change of people internally, there was an energy shift that affected their weather and planting seasons, resulting in angry thunderstorms, intense rains, forest fires, and extreme sun, leading to a devastating famine that lasted for many seasons.

A Priest born on the great day of the Golden Beam Ritual made a discovery — he had a powerful energy that could capture the demon. Later he recognized that all the children born on the same day also had extremely powerful energies that grew stronger when they formed a pair.

The priest from Nyambo and neighboring villages met and decided that all children born at the exact time and day of the Golden Beam Ritual be named Amani if a boy and Upendo if a girl. From birth their sole mission on Earth would be to fight evil and restore the equilibrium in people’s hearts and in nature too. Over many years, hundreds of children carried the name Amani and Upendo.

The priest ordered rituals all over the ridges to be performed to match the male and female energies. All the children were brought together, and lifetime pairs were formed. This was the weapon the demon virus could not face —

their light burned the darkness and chased it away. Each season, the warriors were given a secret mask by the priest of the area. Clans known for their leadership, priestly, and warrior-like traits were chosen for this noble cause. When the time came, each warrior would find their partner with a matching mask and continue combat together.

camo_amani-and-upendo

Amani was fourteen years old when he saw warriors on the other side of the ridge. Clad in black lobes, an ostrich rider leading, they moved across the millet plantation chanting as they loped past where Amani had hidden himself.

He emerged from the reeds and jumped on their pathway, raising his two hands in surrender.

“My fellow brothers salaam? With all this chanting, where are you going? My name is Amani from Nyambo village. I humbly request you tell me why you have crossed the boundary ridge, have my people wronged your people?”
The leader of the warriors, a young woman, ignored him, passing by without saying a word. Amani saw the luck mask hanging from the young maiden’s heart. Not only did it have a warrior mark that matched his, but she was from a clan that could inter-marry his, she was the one.

Seasons passed and Amani became a strong young warrior.All of a sudden, a beautiful lady emerged from the cool shade of the forest edge, her attire gleaming like the wings of a parrot in the sun.

Amani paused for a moment, accustoming his eyes to the sight of the young woman walking towards him. Suddenly, the blade of a spear flew through the air, but instead of fear, Amani felt a warm sensation as if someone had stroked the inner chord melodies of his heart. Although she was a couple of meters away, he could see her eyes shining bright like a golden blade struck by sunset rays.

Amani saw the warriors behind the beautiful woman; lithe as a leopard, swift as savanna grassland antelopes and surging forward like a stray buffalo.

He stood still and signaled his group of warriors not to emerge. His battalion wore fresh, camouflage green reeds, and the approaching warriors were unaware that they had entered Amani’s trap.

“I command you to lay down your spear, young man,” the woman began. “My name is Upendo, daughter of the supreme chief of Gathundia Chiefdom. I am here on two missions: one, on an order to slay all the people that have sided with the demon from Saturn, and two, to find the other wing of my heart.”

Upendo marched forward towards Amani, followed by her warriors.

“My name is Amani, son of the supreme Chief of Nyambo village. I am on a mission to slay the demon virus that has scattered our people and hid the face of my beloved.
“I am not an enemy,” Amani pleaded, hoping Upendo would see his luck mask.
“Are my eyes deceiving me?” he asked. A teardrop fell to the ground when Upendo saw his matching mask.

The reign of Chief Amani and Upendo began. So great was their reign that they managed to connect all the peace and love soldiers from their village and from distant lands. When all their energies united, the power of the demon virus diminished. The soldiers fought together for many years and finally, the time came.

The Nyambo village dancers swung in unison with the beat of the drums as Chief Amani, accompanied by his wife, Upendo, and an entourage entered the village court. The afternoon sky was radiant.

They took the staircase to the podium. Only the weaver birds swirling above, and some perched on a nearby acacia tree, ignored the grand entry, continuing with their singing.

“My People. The secret of success is being calm and peaceful on the outside, while beneath, paddling fast like a cheetah,” Chief Amani declared to the crowd.

“Our People are scattered. This is not good for our village – we need to be together and connected. Our systems have broken down as a result of the virus that has infiltrated our society. As your Chief, let me say that language creates the world!” he continued.
“The golden ratio has ripple effects. Like the rain that falls on the high mountains, forming hundreds of streams that flow down, eventually connecting together to form a river which flows and replenishes the trees that become homes to the birds. That’s the power of Word my people.”

“The village is facing a turning point: people are fleeing from war and terror and they are being betrayed and pushed away. Where people should move together, they move apart. People no longer see solutions; they always see the problem, and only ever in the other, in the stranger, in the weak. How could it be that villages are led by stupidity, not love and respect? Today we will correct the Priest’s mistake”.

There was silence followed by murmurs and clapping, the sound of a surging sea. Fly whisks were raised in the air as Chief Amani left the podium. The master of ceremony, Miss Imani, took the dais while the sounds of flutes filled the air.

“I greet you in the name of the most high,” she began, “I have a few words before I welcome the one and only Upendo. My name is Imani, the lead faith bearer for our village and beyond, and I must say that the Chief is right. I feel it in my soul each time one of you fails to stand up to fight and whisper the words, all energy is interconnected,” she said. “I, Imani and all my fellow namesakes put all our faith on this material day of the Golden Beam Ritual towards the end of the evil demon”.

A lovely sensation, sweet as nectar, filled the entire meeting as warrior Upendo gracefully took the stage. There were hundreds of insect sized robots, each one equipped for tele presence, broadcasting the ceremony so that all warriors could see what the priests saw and heard.

“The scattering of our people affects the heart’s equilibrium,” said Upendo. “The way to find unity is to take a step towards love to speak the words whispered by our priest in secrecy that wove the fabric of our being. Unity is born when love and peace are our core, connecting all people. We will manifest oneness.”

“May our priest guide my beloved Upendo as we shine the Golden Beam. Today we not only beam the ray, but we fire golden robots into the galaxy,” chief Amani said. “These monitored Golden Beam capsule robots will modernize our galaxy exploration. We will restore the order that the drunk priest caused and we will develop more advanced technology so that the chaos of Saturn will never return,” he finished.

“I Upendo with the love shield, and Chief Amani with his peace shield, powered by all our namesakes and guided by Imani the faith bearer with the blessings of all our Priests and Priestesses present, fiiiiiree kaboom kaboom.”

All the priests and priestess spoke in unison as one being:

“Peace through unity. Unity through trust. Trust through honesty. Honesty through compassion. Compassion through understanding. Understanding through freedom. Freedom guided by Love and Peace.”


Mwas Mahugu is a writer and an Afro -hip hop artist who when not singing, writes, coordinates music events and manages artists.he has been published by kwani literal magazine,a founding member of jalada africa(pan africa writers collective)a pioneer sheng writer (slang language)and written for people daily newspaper. Twitter @gasfyatu Website: www.shengtown.blogspot.com/