I wear beads and African bracelets for beauty. I forget why the people before me wore them. I wear them with pride not because I earned them but because I simply look beautiful. Beautiful!? What does that even mean? My Nana has scars on her body. She shows them to me with pride. Narrates stories of the war in the past like an action movie only she didn't have a gun only bows and poisonous arrows. The missing teeth in her mouth causes her to spit almost every second she talks. But this embarrassment is only felt by me. She is proud of the hole in her mouth. Suddenly I feel the urge to remove my African beads. They have no meaning only that they are African and I am and so am entitled. But I have done nothing for my heritage. Not even fight for it. Slowly it's being forgotten and people are crossing over without a care in the world. 'To civilisation' we say. 'For the good of the people' we say. But is it? We were a community wrong as we were to circumcise women, marry them off at an early age, burn the wrong... We were a community. We loved each other. We cared. We taught our children how to feel and be the earth. We taught our children to respect the earth and in return the earth blesses us with herbs to cure. What did they call it? Aaah yes 'witchcraft'. We were not animals who forget their children in pit latrines or by the river side just because we cannot afford them or don't want them. We cared not of individualism because together we grew in spirit, body and soul. It was not backward it was culture. And culture is flexible. It can change but can never be terminated. It is not a shoe that when you grow out of you throw and buy another.
And so I am not telling you to go back to your roots because if am quite honest you were never in it. Rather embrace it. See how 'civilised' you will feel then.