Thank You African Man


This is a thank you to all African males.

To the men sometimes forgotten, the founders of this nation. The men who dwelled these shores, centuries before anyone else. The men who lived in harmony with this environment. Living only from what they received from nature. The first technologists and engineers. To the first artists who decorated our caves with the most beautiful paintings. Thank you.

My existence I owe to you. You laid the foundation for this powerful nation. A foundation so deep it can never be defeated. A foundation so universal it runs in the veins of all us. It unites us as one.

You fought bravely against giant animals unknown to you. You hunt every day to provide for your family and your friends. You ventured into the unknown for a place you can call home. Your ingenuity caused you to tame the wild, to discover new land and to go where none has gone before you.

You are the first freedom fighters of this land. For you know what freedom entails. You have been free all your life. While you were dwelling the shores of the Cape you saw the riders of the ocean. They came from far to occupy land where you hunt for your food. Your peaceful nature caused them to enslave you.

While your women and children saw you as a provider, a leader, a father and a hero. They only saw you as a labourer, too uncivilised and undeserved of fair compensation for your labour. You were forced to leave the peaceful sanctuary of family and friends to obey a man whose only purpose was greed. He used you and beat you until you had no more to give and then he would set you “Free” to return to a home. Only to discover the home is no more.

So powerful is the greed of this man he encourages others from his own land to come capture your land. He travelled inland where you used to hunt with your father when you were a child. You were aware of the dangers but this man has no fear. For he does not conquer with the bow and arrow as we did, but with guns and ammunition from his land. His gun and his whip gave him enormous courage.

It was not enough for this man to only conquer our land. He also stole our identity. Our tribe names meant nothing to him and so he gave us names he could remember. He named us after the works we did, after the months of the year and even after animals.

You can rob us from everything we had, we had little even before you appeared, but you can never rob me from my soul. My spirit. The spirit that wakes me up each day to face the trials and tribulations of yet another day. That spirit keeps me going. For just as my father I too can find a home for my family. I can provide for my family, even if it is by working for you. Over the years I have build houses and churches, cars and buses, hospitals and schools. I start organizations, I write music, I preach for my people and I teach our children. I heal the sick, and encourage the despondent. I defend the innocent, I write stories for newspapers. I entertain my people.

When things get too much for me I drown my sorrows. But I always remember my family first. For this family is my family. My nation, my Africa I have struggled for you and was prepared to die for you. They locked me up for my beliefs. But still I kept on believing. To many the reward seems small. But freedom for my nation can never be small.

We are warriors. For years we have fought. We fought for survival. We fought for animals and for caves. We fought for land. We fought for identity and self respect. We even fought in battles that were never ours to fight. But we fight. We fought against oppression. Sometimes violently, sometimes quietly. But still we fought.

We are still fighting. Today we are fighting a different battle. Today we are fighting aids. We fight poverty, we fight illiteracy, we fight gangsters, and we fight drugs and various addictions. Sometimes we fight violently sometimes we fight quietly. But just as always we fight. For this battle is far from over. This battle is targeting our children and our youth. We fight ignorance and intolerance. We fight hatred for others and we fight self hatred.

They could never defeat us, Africa my nation, now my child has to fight. My baby. So delicate, here today addicted tomorrow. Just as I protected my baby against lions in the cave I will protect my child against these animals. Animals that don’t prowl in the wilderness. But cruise in fancy cars in the tarred streets of our communities.

I will keep on fighting. And I will triumph. I will win the final battle for this is the battle to be me, to be the dweller of the beaches to be the hunter, to be the tamer of wild animals. To be a provider for my family. Not to provide the wealth of the slave drivers but the provider of peace and of love.

Aluta continua!

Thank you African man.
Keep on fighting.

This piece is dedicated for my father Richard Terblanche he will be turning 81 on 27/08/2012.

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