I Want To Speak To My Children

Poem by Vangi Gantsho

I want to speak to my children
Those who have been forced out of their homes in the middle of the night
and those who remain sleeping, warm, in comfortable beds
Those who walk barefoot towards uncertain futures
Those who have been swept under Exile’s carpet
I want to speak to the youth of 76
the children of Sierra Leone

the Lost Boys of Sudan
I want to hold each one of them in my arms
Whisper courage into their ears
Tell them that they will spark revolutions
Stand as a constant reminder of our need to repent
I want to assure them that God has not grown tired of them
That their homes, though broken, are not beyond repair

Come to me my little ones
My beautiful ones, come to me
Ours is the bond of mother and child
Deeply rooted in the Cradle of Humankind
Creation flows through our blood reaching far beyond the Sahara and the Kalahari
You, little Anathi’s and Adewale’s
Need to be told of the Nubian truth
of how the Kush decorated our homes
filled them with art and knowledge and architecture
and walls that were books
You need to know that you come from a people who spoke with stars
long before they were sold astrology

Bring me my children
Let them come and sit at my feet. Ndizakubabalisela iintsomi
I want to tell them tales of magnificent battles where their fathers were heroes
Paint them a portrait of Isandlwana
Then take them to El Obeid and Sheykan
Then I want to journey with them to the beautiful forgotten land of Adwa
Where Menelik and Taitu won a colossal victory
against the dark forces of colonialism
I need my children to know that we have our own epic stories
That Ghandor is in Africa
That they are the lions’ historians
Lions who have left many scars of the face of the audacious hunt

And when my children sleep

I want my children to dream
I want them to dream of the courageous Yaa Asantewa
and the beautiful Queen Makeda
Dream of Kemet and Songhay and Timbuktu
of Nkruma and Nyerere and Lumumba
Then I want them to awake!
And to write!
I want my children to write for Gaddafi and the South Sudan
For Zimbabwe and the DRC
For the African Union and about the International Criminal Court
I want my children to tell our tales through fresh discerning eyes
To imagine and dream on our behalves.
Dream for yourselves then tell us what is to be
my young lion scribes

Call all my children to me
Tell them to come home
Tell them youth is purpose
Tell them to learn and to remember
That although history has already been told
They are the authors of our tomorrow

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