Home is where the heart is but the heart is a broken place.
how loud I must barely scream so that people can see my face:
I am dark
and this is a time of shadows.
Sometimes what worries me most about us
is not that we are forced to carry guns and **** our own mothers
is not that we are pulled from our classrooms back into our homesteads
is not that some of our leaders feast while we become skinny UNICEF models
is not that if only one molecule of my DNA was different I could have lived without ever knowing how to read even a single word
is not even that the smallest of things can wipe out entire villages in an instant-
mosquitoes, viruses, locusts; slave ships.
Sometimes what worries me most is that
my headphones carry more sounds of strange places
than my heart will ever know- that not even my brothers and sisters
sold off to those strange places ever knew, as their children are hung off
the trees of Jim Crow and we call them strange fruit, and that
maybe our first president didn't marry a white lady; the white lady might have married him.
Sometimes what worries me most is that for just over eighteen years
of seeing thinking feeling breathing being I couldn't
have ever told you what Africa meant to me past the occasional 'dumela'
to my mother's mother but never, never did I know or now know or will know my mother's mother's mother's mother's mother
she can't fit inside the cellular America that I hold in my palm.
And this is why they call us lost.
Because home is where the heart is but the heart is a broken place.
One time, my five year old cousin said matter-of-factly
that black is ugly. In my Primary School days
everyone said I should stay out of the sun lest I get darker.
I'm here to tell you that I don't even bother wearing a sun-hat anymore.
I'm here to tell you that I don't cut my hair because to do so would feel like oppression.
I'm here to tell you how vivid and lovely and blessed I do feel to have been born in broken-heart home because at least it has soul.
I'm here to tell you that, yes, I do remember
that time when the whole world knew what to do about ****** and Bin Laden but never could get round to talking about Cecil John Rhodes.
I'm here to tell you that
Today, that conversation starts with a toppled statue.
Today, that conversation starts with my voice.
Today, this conversation starts with a poem which proclaims-
child I am, child I am, child I am, child I am, child I am-
that this is my day. This is my day.
The Day of the African Child.
In 1976, the Soweto Uprising happened. We march onwards still.
N.B The 'first president' in the third stanza refers to Sir Seretse Khama, Botswana's first head of state after it gained independence on the 30th of September 1966. The 'white lady' refers to his wife, Ruth Khama. They loved each other dearly and were an important symbol of racial acceptance in the 20th Century. However, even with racial acceptance now being the norm rather than exception, indigenous Setswana culture is becoming increasingly marginalized due to the influence of that of the West: this is an African poem written in English. 'Dumela' means hello in Setswana.