Black Man’s Sorrow and other Poetry

Let me intoduce my second poetry book dealing with the search for the meaning of life to you. It was originally written in 2014 but was constantly being edited to make sure it comes out tasty and well baked. It covers many themes from the ‘African situation’ to politics to religion to morality to love etc. If you are interested in what I have to say and want to buy it please click here. All proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to the CWC Childrens Home, an orphanage in Accra, Ghana, in service of humanity. Have a nice day my dear. You know yourself.

Africa, my Africa

We want to go and
See what’s happening
In the underworld.
Perhaps the gods and
Ancestors know why.
We ran and ran and
When our feet refused to
Go, we saw that we were
Back in whitey’s chains –
In the oppressor’s talons.
Africa cries for a liberator.
How can her children go
Hungry when she has
Fertile land? How can she
Be poor when she has gold?
Nkrumah said revolutionary
Path will bring freedom but
Who will fight for us?
No one wanted to fight.
Whitey’s dollar is working.
Lumumba is gone.
Sankara is gone.
Madiba is gone.
Nyerere is gone.
Kenyatta is also gone.
And so is great Nkrumah.
Heroes die soon and
The clowns live long.
But Africa, my Africa is not
What is shown the world.
My Africa will rise…again.

The Brutal Rape of Africa

 

Seeing that Africa was young and endowed with treasures,

There came many kings seeking to lure her and dominate her.

And Africa, much to their disappointment rejected all of them,

But the kings went and took counsel how they might put down Africa.

Behold, with deceitful pretenses, they seized Africa and raped her –

 

The king of the tribe of the British,

The king of the tribe the Dutch,

The king of the tribe of the Spanish,

The king of the tribe of the French,

And the king of the tribe of the Belgians –

 

Each king holding each limb, they took turns and raped Africa.

And in those days Africa was barely a teen.

She lay on the ground in pain and agony.

Her blood flowed through the gold mines of South Africa and the Gold Coast,

Through the diamond and copper mines of Sierra Leone and the Congo,

 

Through the rubber plantations of Liberia,

And finally through the uranium mines of the Niger.

Vagabonds, did Africa produce as offsprings.

And I saw an old queen wearing a gold crown stolen from none but Africa.

Suddenly there came a loud voice from Abyssinia saying:

 

‘We shall wipe her tears and we shall restore Africa to her people.’

And after the voice, I saw Africa anew, adorned as a bride

For her groom – for her people.

The old Africa is long gone – this is a new Africa!

And I saw her people embrace her – and there was no more war nor strife nor

Disease nor ignorance nor even revenge in her heart.

 

©2015. Tawia Tsekumah.

 

 

On Perception And Subjective Reality

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” – Albert Einstein

Everything you see or hear or experience in any way at all is specific to you. You create a universe by perceiving it, so everything in the universe you perceive is specific to you.” – Douglas Adams

These statements are indeed true, but only up to a point. One is invited to observe his or her surroundings and inform us what he or she perceives and whether what is perceived is entirely specific to one. I had an interesting discussion with a friend sometime ago which led to the question of perception and its flaws. My opinion is that there is objective perception – something we all see or feel or think about, something that often pre-dominates external experience and is self evident. I will like to take the time to answer the question what is meant by “perception.”

Merriem-Webster dictionary defines perception as “…the way you think about or understand someone or something : the ability to understand or notice something easily or the way that you notice or understand something using one of your senses.” For the purposes of this discussion we will concentrate on the first part of the definition i.e. the way you think about or understand someone or something. This can also mean that the way you see the whole of something may be completely different from the way you see the sum of its parts.

We may all agree that, often times when people perceive they contribute some information to what is being observed and when they have to communicate their observation, this information often but not always becomes visible or perceptible. The accuracy of our perception is therefore directly proportional to one’s ability to detach one’s opinions or a priori from actuality. For instance, the difference between the educated and the ignorant person lies primarily in their perception which gives rise to the significant difference in their cognition or intelligence. I shall narrate an anecdotal story to illustrate my point:

Many people believe in ghosts. In fact, I have at one point being afraid of ghosts but now I have no intellectual space or energy for such thoughts. We still do not know whether ghosts exist or not. Although the idea of ghosts can be dismissed as an illusion or mere perception, it can be “real” depending on the number of people in a community who believed in it. When a significant number of people believe in something it becomes real to them. What one believes one acts upon it, and our actions inevitably affect one another in a community. In certain primitive societies there are elaborate rituals to drive away ghosts. So a ghost is real there, just as aliens and vampires are real in most parts of Europe. End of anecdote.

Now let us look at the effect of subjective reality on the individual. The first European to enter the African hinterland was a merchant. In the case of the upper Guinnea or West Africa, it was a Portuguese named Diogo de Azambuja, who presented himself to the chiefs and people as a friend and a trader. At that time, trading in humans had not begun. Diogo de Azambuja and his cohorts spoke nicely but had guns hidden in their cloaks. Once they had learnt of a flaw in the perception of the people, it was time to launch an attack. They presented gifts of strong drinks, gunpowder and muskets in return for gold and war captives. So the first slaves sold in Africa were war captives not nobles, belonging to tribes different and distant from those selling them. The sale of war captives was common everywhere including ancient Rome and Greece.

Then centuries later, many Europeans joined in the trade. Some African traders (mainly chiefs) with the aid of the foreign merchants could no longer wait to receive captives so they took to raiding weaker communities. An orphan, a rogue, any poor defenseless thing was captured and brought to the European forts and castles to be sold. This is the whole tragedy of the African existence which emanated from our inaccurate perception of the world around us.

This painful history is still relevant because it influences the way the African or people of African descent are perceived. The master thinks for the slave. Any slave with higher perception or thinking capabilities was a threat and was quickly eliminated. Nevertheless, flaw in perception exists everywhere not only in indigenous Africa. In fact all terrible mistakes or decisions, emanate from subjective reasoning or reality. This is my experience of life. Some say there are no mistakes, only choices and I think this is true only in regard to one’s personal life. But it doesn’t mean the mistakes or subjective tendencies of others does not affect us.

The Kingdom of Heaven is in Africa

This may sound unbelievable, but I assure you the kingdom is here. Africa is a vast,  mountainous and tropical land with not only the most diverse life forms but also tribes and languages.  Needless to say, between the 18th and 19th centuries, many European nations were seeking fortunes in Africa. And as far back as 1700s or 1600s, they braved the storms just to be in Africa.

The French settled in Ivory Coast and Senegal and parts of Togo. The Germans were in the then Upper Guinea which became German Togoland, now part of Ghana and Togo. The British were in Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and the then Gold Coast. The Belgians – Congo, the Dutch – South Africa (they are still there), the Italians – Ethiopia, the Portuguese – Angola, the Spanish and even the Swedish were in Africa but only the British stayed longer.

Most of them came to trade in timber, cocoa, gold and other precious minerals and in doing so introduced their gods, cultures and belief systems to us which worked well in expanding their philosophy and raising profits. Most of them also ‘switched’ to humans when there was too much competition in the gold trade – that’s capitalism for you and there is no need to play the blame game. They couldn’t have been successful without the connivance of some myopic and avaricious African chiefs and yes it was the Europeans who, to some extent, opened our eyes to reality.

But it’s ok, it has been a long time and Africans are a forgiving people. Today we have the Chinese, the Lebanese, the Indians and the Malaysians amongst us and just the other day I met a Greek. All of this is good because we now live in a global world. What our share is in this global world, I naturally do not know.

We have come a long way as black people and the question which has constantly troubled my mind is this: Why would this people risk their lives initially on the sea and now in the air to come all the way to Africa?

In the colonial days many of them died of the harsh climate and infectious diseases yet they were not deterred. If they don’t see the Kingdom of Heaven in Africa why would they bother? Even today as I’m speaking to you, in some typical villages, whenever it rains heavily and the running water sweeps the surface of the earth, it’s possible to find gold particles or even diamonds.  What other heaven are we waiting for?

The kingdom surely is here, but as Africans, because we live in that colonial mentality of believing and receiving, it is left with nothing but to wait for an already-made heaven which comes only after we have suffered enough and died.