“Decolonize your mind before you become a new black slave.” He whispered to me before pushing one of his dreads behind his ear and grinning wildly at my perplexed expression. I lowered the straightener and stared at him for a while – I had loved him because of the way he was self-assured, it never faltered and I knew an explanation would follow as I leaned forward, raising an eyebrow, questioning him.
“You know you’re a queen right?” He continued, interrupting my train of thought, while turning off the straightener at the plug point.
“Ja, I know.” I answered blatantly.
“ Then decolonize your mind.” He shouted before thrusting his hands into the sky and exiting my room. I think he knew I would figure it out for myself because as I stared at the straightener on my desk- it clicked. The statement vibrated in the very depths of my soul and an untapped reserve of energy was suddenly channelled into my aura. I could feel my ancestors, I could hear their cries, I could feel the weight of shackles, I could feel a whip, I could feel resentment, I could feel hatred, I could feel the power of a God who didn’t look like me, I could feel my peoples names that were written out of history books, I could taste blood in my mouth, I could feel blood on the cotton, I could feel what it meant to be black.
It was an epiphany, induced both by drink as well as the stench of my burnt hair. The epiphany spoke to me, reminding me that who I am was holy. That black was undeniably beautiful and not in the clichéd way that I learnt of in history when people averted their eyes, avoiding discomfort presented in an unacknowledged truth. It was in earnest, that I realised that my melanin was paramount to a glorious dynasty that I was privileged enough to be a part of. I would wear my ancestry daily and no longer shy away from the truth of my being. I am sun kissed, I am regal, I am Cleopatra, I am King Shaka, I am the soil and the trees and everything that matters in this universe, I am a closed fist lifted in a rally where mercy has intersected rage, resulting in non-violence.
The only violence that is accepted is that which vehemently opposes the status quo that my people are not good enough. That is what was meant when he told me to decolonize my mind.
“ You will be villianized in your pursuit for emancipation because the margin of melanin present in our people will always render you a slave so choose now what you will subscribe to. “ and I made a decision, standing upon the raw backs of my ancestors- I chose a discarded truth and the truth is this- I am art. We, are art and art cannot be subjugated or castrated by a close minded agenda, set by people who have never bothered to understand you nor will they ever begin to.
I am a poem that breathes and speaks and therefor has no choice but to be remembered. I will be etched into the minds of people who would rather forget me. I will be written down in history books next to men who would rather deny my existence.
In that moment, in my epiphany, I began to wade barefoot through my soul. I began to find pieces of myself I didn’t know where lost – and is that not courage in itself? Finding the corpse of your soul, buried beneath a cruel, mercilessly pale agenda?
Is speaking the truth not brave?
So I set down the straightener, and began to live.
This was my English narrative essay that I know I'm going to be marked down for. Let Peace, positivity and light live on.