Watch – To-do list for Africa

2011-08-18 10:47

Lebogang Masango, a student and writer, says it’s time for Africans to revel in the continent’s beauty instead of accepting the negative views about it.

Watch her recite and talk about her poem, To-do List for Africa:

When you no longer hate who you are
And the circumstances that brought you here
Undress yourself
Reclaim your weathered body without fear
Stand naked at your Nile
And hold your reflection dear

Behold a brilliance

You, cracked riverbed
Almighty harmattan
Spectacle of sand dunes,

Are the wonder of the earth

Cleanse yourself

Bathe in still waters
And while contemplating your future
Flick the chip off your shoulder
Treat yourself to a make-over

Dress in all your splendour
Just like the days of old
Adorn yourself in the armour
Of oil, diamonds and gold

Destroy the robe of martyr
Once and for all

Deprive the stain of colonialism
Any relevance or meaning
Pack your throat full of a narrative
That truly believes in healing

Let it be your song

Sung through centuries
And echoed by possibility
Echoed by possibility
Echoed by possibility

See, the sun will forever speak highly of me
Take the sandstorm of my skin as testament
To the survival of Timbuktu Manuscripts
And the creations of Egyptian architects
Our blood carries the staying power of ancients

How solar rays cast exact shadows
Was our version of quarter-to-nine
So fuck “African timing”
We exist in a time before time
The sun is our culture

Take this to-do list as a lesson
And, once again, let love be our nature

I am begging with all of my browness
Unlearn the word “pirate”
When speaking of poor Somali people
Actively controlling the destiny of their seas
Against the ever-pillaging, long-arm of European greed
They are protectors

Unlearn the wrath of fire
The way hatred burns down shacks in Khayelitsha
Beats down bodies in Diepsloot and rapes in Alexandra
Leaves the devastation of desperation in its wake
Poor against poor and nothing is being done by the state
Never forget: Harambe

Unlearn your blemishes
Unlearn Idi Amin

Unlearn civil war
Blood diamonds
Child soldiers
And casualties

Unlearn your ugly

My love for you is a broken mirror
Sits heavy in the cavity of my chest
Among dusty boxes full of Fela Kuti songs
And a history bloodied by regret
When I think of you
My heart knows no rest
It skips off track
But once a mirror is shattered there’s no way to put back
The pieces
And pieces of turmoil, disasters and diseases
A whole continent of people
Who have been overlooked by the mercy of Jesus
I’m going to need us to love ourselves
A whole lot louder
Even if the ‘first’ world can’t see us

Hold this love up high
Let the splinters of imperfection
Tell the story of you and I
And even if it cuts to tell the truth
I promise to stop throwing your name around
Like an old excuse

So, remember
When you no longer hate who you are
And the circumstances that brought you here

Undress yourself
Reclaim your weathered body without fear
Stand naked at your Nile
And hold your reflection dear

Bloodied but never broken
Are still

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