Homo Sapiens Africanus
I am old enough to ask questions,
though some say,
too young to understand the answers, of
the unbalanced equation of our past and our present
where one and one make zero.
Everything has changed
but the equation of life,
scribbled on the walls
of Rift valley caves
with a sum total of zero.
in the primordial darkness
of vacuum of the “why” of creation.
Darwin saw a tree,
trunk, branches and leaves, no roots,
Idaltu sitting on a branch
Lucy, an arm’s length above.
Some say all was an accident,
atomic and molecular wars in dark depths,
amino acids navy in slimy submarines,
conquering frontiers, intermarrying,
mating in the ecstasy of occasional lightning
finally marching triumphant
out of water to dry land.
II. Homo sapiens africanus
Dark depths was the venue of the beginning
of the continuum of darkness,
one constant in our crooked equation.
Locked in the safety of zero,
nothing mattered, nothing matters,
an accident cannot be sacred,
vacuum abhors sanctity.
III. Homo sapiens africanus
“But I must own, to the shame of my own countrymen, that I was first kidnapped and betrayed by some of my own complexion, who were the first cause of my exile, and slavery……” Ottobah Cugoano, Narrative of the Enslavement of a Native of Africa (1787)
Close to where it all started,
Clouds of darkness,
stamped envelopes of the beginning
have still not lifted.
Fifteen slaves exchanged for one horse,
twenty Lucys for one donkey
just a stone throw from the Rift valley,
all accidents of dark depths.
Ten Olaudahs for a mirror,
twenty Ottobahs for gunpowder,
offsprings of accidents could not be sacred,
at least not in these dark depths.
Abomey’s Ghezo made bricks
with blood of captives and slaves
Idi Amin drenched the valley with rain of blood,
parallel constants of same equation
time is the only variable in the algebra of our mind.
From Arabs we took a horse for twenty slaves
from the Berbers, a donkey for ten children,
with Europeans we traded fifty of us
for glass beads and mirrors.
Locked in elemental reactions,
Lucy pulled Idaltu,
Idaltu dragged Lucy off the Darwinian tree
to the bottom, nearer the amino acids.
“..as we see them at this day,
so they have always been”
locked in the darkness of moral vacuum,
where a herbivore had more value than fifteen of them.
We were taught to point fingers
that the buyers were at fault,
the sellers were doing business
in legitimate moral darkness.
We were told that
our brothers were dehumanized
by the buyers on the ships,
in the plantations, on the streets.
But hear Alexander Falcolnbridge in 1788,
“When the Negroes whom the black traders have to dispose of are shown to the European purchasers, they first examine them………if they have been afflicted in any manner… they are rejected. The traders frequently beat those Negroes which are objected to by the captains. Instances have happened that the traders, when any of their Negroes have been objected to have instantly beheaded them in the sight of the captain”.
In the safety of our envelope of darkness
We point fingers at the grey shade of our actions.
Darkness now sits at the judgement of the shade.
IV. Homo sapiens africanus
Is water thicker than African Blood?
Parallels of the same equation
With sum total of zero morals and ethics,
Geometric circles of déjavu, where
Time is the only variable
African slave traders,
Idi Amin Dada,
Mobutu Sese Seko,
True guardians of the Abomey’s throne.
V. Homo sapiens africanus
Everyone but us is responsible ……
Everyone but us is responsible
for the fall from the branch
homo sapiens sapiens at the top
to the bottom of the tree, as
homo sapiens africanus auto destructus
Pyramids of heads,
lakes of blood, we offered as transport
for others to climb even higher on the tree, as
we squirm as nature’s ordained victims and
clutch at primordial amino acids
to see us through self inflicted curses
of Arab slave traders,
European slave merchants,
modern day slavery,
International Monetary fund,
their adjustments of structures
and readjustments of non structures.
VI. Homo sapiens africanus
they all got it wrong from Negritude to NEPAD
Racism is a legacy of a moral judgement,
a condemnation of our equation,
lack of value of our own kin,
our choice to remain in primordial darkness
of absence of good and evil
We sold, we sell,
We killed, we kill,
We maimed, we maim,
We functioned in moral darkness,
We thrive in moral vacuum.
Within the safety of our envelope,
We grope for direction in everything,
offshoots or negations of others’ way of life
Western and Oriental religions.
We ignore the light of moral principles
of “do not do unto others,
what you would not want done to you.”
For pittances, we have become Judas of our own race!
VII. Homo sapiens africanus
Africa – a case of entropy.
From order to disorder
branch to the bottom,
amino acids in constant motion,
creation recreated in dark vacuum,
deregulated Adamus Africanus abandons his shores,
scuttles out of water in distant lands,
dripping deregulation on well nurtured lawns,
sowing heroine, hashish,
reaping scorn, abuse, jail, rejection.
VIII. Homo sapiens africanus
We are natural dancers
we dance in abandon
to any rhythm,
When the drums beat
”catch slaves and sell to us”,
”catch slaves and sell to us”,
We catch and sell,
The flute pipes
“sell us your land”
we gyrate and sell,
The trumpet blasts
we stamp our feet and go red,
The violin strings
we shake our bodies waving flags,
The guitar strums
“kill your neighbours”
we stump in frenzy, hack heads and arms
The piano mourns
we twist, swing and ta-NGO
The orchestra plays,
Market economy, deregulation, globalisation, democracy,
We howl, jump in delirium,
We have no music,
we are natural dancers
to the music of others.
From Children of Signatures By Abimbola Lagunju