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If somebody asks me,
Do you know Africa? Are you proud of it?
I will hesitate and reply in folds,
The truth, paining I will put in disguise…
I will rant on, pain filling my mind।

Yes, I know Africa, I’ll reply,
But pride of her?!...surely a thing of the past,
All I feel is abhorrence and disgust,
And, who to judge me?
Everybody is busy…with their own shame,
Some crying of hunger…
While others busy opening new bank accounts…and more,
Of these, who will notice my agonizing pain?

Yes, I know Africa,
The father of Dafur, and parent of Central Africa
We breed mosquitoes and “laugh with” Madagascar..
It’s a stain, notice the name ends with “scar”?
Why breed troubles and open doors cowardly for them?
I detest this Africa where AIDS is absentmindedly forgotten,
Yes! Always in mouths but miles from the minds,
“It’s just another fever”, we’d say,
Or, “people die even from accidents”… pity our machismo O lord.

Yes, the same Africa of vows and oaths,
Vows to enter the new millennium in gallop and style,
Oaths to take accountability to an extra mile…
But all these promises…now lost in the mist,
Busy, everyone is,
Busy for our selfish selves,
All those promises in the gutter are thrown,
Surely we’ll fulfill them in the next millennium!!!

This Africa that I know,
Is not the one Mandela was imprisoned for,
Certainly not what Lumumba died for…
This Africa, is exactly as Achebe envisioned,
No longer at ease”…chaos adorn this Africa of ours,
We embrace evil and sideline the good…
Kenyatta, Nyerere, and Nkrumah… what strong legacies they built!
But today, only their names we honour,
I ask you my fellows… what of their virtues?
Shameful we must be, on graves of our forefathers,
Blood they shed on the land we walk,
Chaka Zulu, Mkwawa, Queen Nzinga to Tunkamanin,
All these fought to preserve our values..
But at what effect, today easily we throw all that away,
All the memories of African pride is gone,
Western dominance plucked our ears, brainwashed our minds,
We see no evil, remember no good, and hear no alarm,
Africa is sleeping; we are just pawns in the mist.

This Africa, My Africa,
Shamefully, only place on earth where pirates still reign,
Only place where inflation defines every day’s economy,
This Africa…schools still uses windows 1997,
My Africa, a factory for many tears,
In Tanzania still 31st Decembers we gather, clap and cheer,
All around us, “Things Fall Apart” but we are still oblivious of the passing years.

I know of this Africa,
Where regional co operations are born and buried,
EAC, SADC, ECOWAS, OAU to AU…. Named and renamed,
Like any of us is interested on the names?
What Africa wants is results,
Wonder I must, how objective a name is…
Subjective I’m sure…not a catalyst of change,
Better stand alone, than with legs that are broken…
Of this Africa…I know.

We can afford the change, no matter how expensive,
Our waters sails countless species of fish,
Our land… home of the world’s scarcest gems,
Wildlife…certainly the best the earth’s ever seen,
Our cultures… a joy one to be proud of,
Need I say more, while minds are corrupted?
Why lose my voice while different lives we adapted?
Yes, I will say more for hearing you must!!
Together we will explore the quest of truth and keys,
Lets ask why this Africa that we know?
Why not that Africa that we promised?
Brothers and sisters we can’t afford to burn the candles at both sides,
On donkeys the memories of our ancestors rides,

Let’s preserve those in the clay pots and cowhides,
Africa is blood, not name or skin,
All of us who share values and history are clearly akin,
Let’s honour what has been,
Let’s stand together for a future of togetherness and love,
Let’s thank God for all the good things we have,
For clearly, with us, is the almighty from above…
Let’s pull up our brothers, who have fallen,
Let’s clear corruption and warfare…and every similar token,
Ties of Africa and evils clearly must be broken.

Yes, we all know this Africa,
In you, me and us all; the bugs are getting thicker,
And our strength as one surely is running weaker,
If we part, to save Africa we’ll never,
Unity, our only weapon…our lifesaver,
Let’s nourish our home, our heaven.
Yes, the Africa that we all know.

By Kheri Mbiro, (c)2009, October 11th.