Day 354 (Ten Years Ago…)

Ten years ago today, I had just returned from West Africa. I enrolled for IB and was pondering on an Extended Essay topic. It was my French teacher Mr. Banzi that informed me that Léopold Sedar Senghor had passed on. I guess he did it because I told him about Sénégal and how that Land of Téranga had been my home intermittently for over a half a decade.

One thing led to another and I ended up writing my Extended Essay on Senghorian poetry exploring the famous concept he coined: “La Négritude”. The next year, I presented my work at a Conference held to celebrate the life and times of L.S.S organised at Alliance Française. To date, I consider that presentation and the warm welcome it recieved to be one of my most defining and memorable moments ever. At the time, I was doing two things which I considered to be of absolute importance, firstly I was paying homage to a great African scholar and public figure and secondly I was in a sense pledging my loyalty to that soil on the westerly most tip of the continent that witnessed my metamorphosis from childhood to adolescence.

Suffices it to say, I still feel a strong connection to Dakar. Quite natural, considering she was my first, in more ways than I can explain.

Sentimentality aside, the commemoration of 10 years since Senghor’s death for me is an opportunity to think back and reflect on the course my life has taken, while trying not to regret things too much.

I know the journey is far from complete so this is just a pause.

One of the dreams that I continue to silently harbour on this long journey is that of the Extended Essay one day sitting side by side with a Ph.D Thesis by yours truly… inch’allah.

Before I sign off, allow me to share one little poem by Senghor. A poem I crammed while in Junior High School just for the sake of passing exams but when I went back and studied it during IB and even now, I came to terms with just how powerful it really is. Senghor was a man who spoke fondly of his native Africa and his home country of Senegal, both when he was at home and more so when he was away in France or elsewhere. He relies quite heavily on personification as a stylistic device throughout his writing and in many passages, one finds him likening Africa and Senegal to a woman, a love, a wife, a mother, all wrapped in one. He speaks of Her ‘blackness’, Her beauty, Her warmth, Her eternal love for all, Her Culture, Her Civilisation, Her decolonisation…


Nuit de Sine

Femme, pose sur mon front tes mains balsamiques, tes mains douces plus que fourrure.
Là-haut les palmes balancées qui bruissent dans la haute brise nocturne
À peine. Pas même la chanson de nourrice.
Qu’il nous berce, le silence rythmé.
Écoutons son chant, écoutons battre notre sang sombre, écoutons
Battre le pouls profond de l’Afrique dans la brume des villages perdus.

Voici que décline la lune lasse vers son lit de mer étale
Voici que s’assoupissent les éclats de rire, que les conteurs eux-mêmes
Dodelinent de la tête comme l’enfant sur le dos de sa mère
Voici que les pieds des danseurs s’alourdissent, que s’alourdit la langue des choeurs alternés.

C’est l’heure des étoiles et de la Nuit qui songe
S’accoude à cette colline de nuages, drapée dans son long pagne de lait.
Les toits des cases luisent tendrement. Que disent-ils, si confidentiels, aux étoiles ?
Dedans, le foyer s’éteint dans l’intimité d’odeurs âcres et douces.

Femme, allume la lampe au beurre clair, que causent autour les Ancêtres comme les parents, les enfants au lit.
Écoutons la voix des Anciens d’Elissa. Comme nous exilés
Ils n’ont pas voulu mourir, que se perdît par les sables leur torrent séminal.
Que j’écoute, dans la case enfumée que visite un reflet d’âmes propices
Ma tête sur ton sein chaud comme un dang au sortir du feu et fumant
Que je respire l’odeur de nos Morts, que je recueille et redise leur voix vivante, que j’apprenne à
Vivre avant de descendre, au-delà du plongeur, dans les hautes profondeurs du sommeil.

– Léopold Sédar Senghor

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Day 132 (Living memories)

Mood: She moves me

Mode: Pensees intimes

Thoughts:

Memories don’t live like people do. Whenever I hear this line from Mos Def, I close my eyes for a second and realize just how true it is. I’m a travellin’ man too and I’ve finally come home. And she has come home too. But as much as we are together, in many ways it may feel like we’re apart. And those memories that we’d want to hold on to forever are the ones that’ll slowly become harder to remember. Where we’ve come from. Our travels along the way, as two strangers, two classmates, two friends, two lovers, two parallel worlds and one inescapable truth. I love her and I know our love is just as nascent and in need of replenishment as before. I also know that our love cannot live on memories alone. We need a Present, we need a Now, what we had can never be taken from us but what we need is to find a way to make our love feel the way it felt. The way we feel when we think back to those days. That summer. Together.
In my solitary moments of foolishness, I’ve wanted and wished that things could go back to that easy life, those simple days just so that I could see her more, be with her more, live in her and hold her hand through life, every day. But every day I wake up and look across the trees and the rooftops and imagine her somewhere over there starting off her day without me, living without me. Adjusting has been the hardest part. But I’ve slowly had to get used to this new form of distance that unites our hearts with longing. A distance that makes it easy to fall into the temptation of reminiscing and going through old camera photos and mental images. In a way, it makes one lose sight of the Present. Coming back to Kenya means that we can finally be together, whatever shape this new “being together” will take is for us to create. So let’s make new memories here at home! Granted, they’ll be different and not as grandiose or spectacular as summers spent back-packing through Europe. But whatever memories we make here will still be ours to hold on to and hopefully to build upon in years to come.

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Now playing: Alicia Keys ft. Drake – ‘Unthinkable’

I Know Why The Rum Is Gone..

bday
Since landing in this little village a week ago, I have been at my lady’s side at two big events in her life: first was her thesis defence last Friday which she passed with flying colours and second was last night at her birthday party. Its late in the afternoon right now and the birthday girl is still bed… rum and coke all night and red wine prior to that, seem to have done the trick. The fake summer out here played its role in making it rainy and cold forcing to plan a dinner-party at home as opposed to painting the village red. She’s a year older and several months older than myself. For someone who’s only dated guys older than her, I often got the feeling that everytime I screwed up somehow, my age would probably be an attributing factor in her eyes. In contradistinction, I’ve only dated girls younger than myself and I never hesitated to label them as ‘childish’ at the slightest slip. That being said, I think I’ve proved myself capable of handling the pressures and responsibilities of being her man so I don’t expect her to give me that “you’re-still-just-a-boy” look or even hear a similar tone in her voice ever again. I hope. Anyways, it goes without saying that thoughout this past week, I’ve been the proudest boyfriend around, witnessing her scholarly accomplishments and celebrating her birthday are definitely the highlights of my summer so far.

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In other news, my touristy side got a tiny bit of action this past week when I noticed something peculiar about this Swedish village. See below.
swedehigh
I know what you’re about to ask me: who are those kids in sailor hats packed that lorry? Well, those noisy, in-your-face brats wearing those ridiculous sailor hats listening to rubbish music, holding-up traffic, being objectionable to passers-by are swedish high school graduates!
Unlike most parts of the world where you have a high school prom after graduation, swedish kids go through the formal grad ceremony in the morning (where I presume they are capped in those silly sailor hats) then in the afternoon, they have this so-called procession where they are all bundled onto lorries and tractors decorated in all sorts of stuff and then they are driven around the city/town/village. Coincidentally these celebrations took place on the very same day madam was defending her Masters thesis, which was interesting because unlike high schoolers, Masters graduates in Sweden dont get a graduation ceremony of any kind, let alone a full “wedding style” procession.

And yes, those high school grads in that lorry are all drunk!

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Now listening: Cassidy ft. John Legend – Celebrate

For Jah provide the bread..

If you ask me, we all have to know when to just let go and hope for the best. Right now, amidst all the uncertainties, I still have a good feeling about a couple of things going on in my life right now. Maybe its just me and my Sunday feel-good mood after spending the last ten days out of this place and with my lady over Easter.

Well, my mini-holiday is over now and its back to the grind of late nights, early mornings, work, study, beef-with-the-landlord, waiting for outcomes, final decisions, a few exams in between and hoping I make it to June.

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Now listening to: Bob Marley- Is This Love

Nothing Zimpossible..

zimflation

To all my young Zimbabweans out there, who says you can’t make it!

In life, nothing is impossible.

However, you must realise that success is not always measured by how much money you have in the bank.

Here are some success stories to ponder about:-

From a tea boy to Reserve Bank GovernorGideon Gono.

From a Welder at Trojan Nickel Mines to Prime MinisterMorgan
Tsvangirai.

From a security guard (mahobo) at railways to Deputy Prime Minister
Thokozani Khupe.

From winning only 600 votes in an election contested by over 8000 people to becoming Deputy Prime Minister – Arthur Muatambara

From a carpenter to Deputy President – Simon Muzenda

From a security guard ( mahobo) at Harare City Council to Chairman War
Veterans Association / Chairman ZFTU/ Entrepreneur
– Joseph Chinotimba

From a clerk to First Lady a.k.a “First Shopper”Grace Mugabe

From a Prime Minister to a farm invader – Abel Tendekai Muzorewa

From a Minister to a murder suspect – Shuvai Mahofa

From a ZANUPF MP to an asylum seeker – James Makamba

From  Minister Of Information to a columnist in a rural newspaper website – Jonathan Moyo

Moral of the Story:  Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.