Being African

By Thabo Mboneni

-Being African is being part of the origin of the human species in the Mother continent, before the earth broke into fragments, and nationalities evolving to claim their segments.
-Being African is living in peace with the environment, no industrial implement to harm, hurt and turn morbid only for profit, for a few pockets.

-Being African is having UBUNTU! To care, to share, to raise children without fear, giving them love and nourishment throughout the year, letting them know when they need us we’ll always be here!
-But what does it mean in the contemporary to be African? Is it the color of my skin that’s filled with melanin? Is it the history of my people who were enslaved and locked in prison, struggling for years in Robben Island, but never being silent, for freedom we remained defiant and resilient until we bought down the apartheid tyrant.
-Is being African growing up in the township, facing hardship, playing in the dusty street, not knowing what you going to eat, there’s no point in trying to compete, you’ll face defeat and the futures looking bleak!
-What exactly is being African? Can I define it? With my singular view of looking through my tunnel of perception, distorted introspection brings me to a conclusion that we need a revision, we need a new vision, a mission, a conscious decision, to move on from the colonial deception, that led us to this self destruction, a cognitive infection that was bought on by Hedrick Verwoerd’s bantu education!

-What is being African post 1994? Where Blacks wear Prada suits, checking time in their shiny Rolex watches and having conference calls on iPhone’s, Black Economic Empowerment we call them BEE fat cats, tenderpreneur’s riding the gravy train, they make money rain, ripping off the poor without a conscience because ethics are nonsense when you trying to get ahead in the concrete jungle. They leave the township streets, pack their bags and move to the suburbs to form a middle-class.
-How can I begin to define what being African is, when I’m stuck in a small portion of a big ocean called Africa! What does it feel like growing up in Uganda, in Ghana or Kenya? My neighbors in Zimbabwe, who smile through strife and poverty, but in Africa that’s not a novelty but a characteristic property, of an abnormal reality, that’s an anomaly.
-I’m still wondering what it means to be African. When I was growing up I was told Africans have Ubuntu, we embrace each other whether you Zulu or Sotho, but does that still hold true? When xenophobic attacks are rife, Africans are looted; some die by the gun, some die by the knife, the skin that’s as black as yours will take your life, blood flowing in the street bodies lay in the cold concrete.
-What does it mean today to be African? Is it a feeling, a way of life or a state of consciousness? Is it the color of my eye or the texture of my hair? Is it the click in my tongue when I talk, or is it the step that I take when I walk? Is it a physical attribute or is it all in my mental attitude?
-What does it really mean to be African?

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