I remember my fathers
How they taught their children to live on after them
That was the time when wisdom grew with age
The gray hair was respected
Hands were dipped into fufu
Fingers were sticky with eba
Days when true language was one’s father tongue
It was one’s mother tongue
Not one picked up in a building and from the mouth of ignorance
When Chineke and Oluwa were better names for God
When Mesere, Sannu, Habari and Bawo ni were better representatives of Hello, Hi, How do you do?
For we no longer do fine
We no longer do fine
For we can now only love each other clearly in English
I can only love you clearly in English


I remember my mothers
Those days when every elder was my mother
When the training of one’s child did not come from one mother
Cooking, fetching water and balancing children at their backs were all the activity they needed
They taught my sisters and I to respect our husbands
For that was all they did
But now everyone sweeps only their compound
Morals are good bye laws for prisoners


I remember my brothers
I remember how Ubuntu was not just a word from Bantu
But human kindness was for all
Regardless of race, short or tall
Masquerades and moonlight tales was all the entertainment they needed
Warriors carried their spears with pride
Fighting together towards a common unity
Civilization meant loving your neighbour
Working hand in hand to achieve all labour

But now I see black faces on white collars
Coats on sunny days and shoes to punish their feet


I remember my sisters
I remember how we played under trees
Running around with our kinky hair dancing in the wind
That was before we got locked up in rings
That was the time when breasts where covered
When our kinky hair was not just a covering to the head but a crown to be adored
When true beauty was in the steps our feet took
But now when I see a sister I fail to recognize her
Her melanin has been exposed to constant bleaching
Hair now shades of different straighten colours
Her tongue so strange my ears bleed
I feel shame for my dark-brown eyes
For that of my sister is the bluest, purplest, grayest, starling gray eyes
Eyes I don’t recognize

I remember Africa
I remember when black was not just a colour
For now when I walk through the valley of whites
I fear for I am black
For my shadow wears white strips
And my culture is slowly… slowly… slowly… fading away
I am free, so I am told

But these fetters and chains of western culture bound me
They make me to slowly forget where I’m from
To slowly forget who I am
So each time I speak my ‘h’, ‘r’ and ‘n’
Pardon, my ‘h’, ‘r’ and ‘n’ betray me
It tells others of where I’m from
That I can only represent myself better in Ambara, Yoruba, Hausa, Shona,
My memory gets blurry by the day
But my skin urges me to always remember
That which English wants me to forget
For out of my remembrance so shall my children remember
They shall remember my fathers
They shall remember my mothers
My brothers and sisters
They shall remember that they are Africans
They shall remember that black was not just a colour
‘Cause black is who we are!



Precious Lola

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