africa is a color

This poem is written by Brian Kwoba, Founder and Convenor of the Oxford Pan-Afrikan Forum

we used to say that black is beautiful
now we bleach our skin and straighten our hair to look nice
we take young colorful minds and whitewash them with dreams of
barbie doll beauty
forgetting all along that

africa

is our color

when you mix me with another
continent another
people
another history
you get

curly waves like the oceans of time and space between us
you get
permanent sun tans for loving and hating on
you get
beautiful hues and skin tones whose namelessness
dampens their very existence

and when we sing the blues
we rarely stop to smell the red n yellow flowers
at the foot of mount kilimanjaro
but they are still there because

africa is more than just a color

among the ancient greeks
walked lovers of wisdom like plato and aristotle
the Founding Fathers of Western Civilization
yet even they
themselves
spoke of

Egypt

as the cradle of
arithmetic
geometry
philosophy

so when you get to the mouth of the Nile
follow it down towards her Nubian heart
towards the
blackness
in the middle of the continent
where it all began

in other words
africa is a

primary

color

before we sang the blues
we crossed a yellow sand-sea called sahara and
if you go further south into deeper
tones and
bones of
red
earth

you can find the land where the ancestors
of ALL of us
once walked

before race
before nation
before class
before caste

but you have forgotten them
more thoroughly
than primary colors

Science
has now discovered that
africa
is the place with the most human genetic diversity and
the further a people is from
Mama Africa
the less genetic variation among them

which is to say
the fewer primary colors
in us

and science has now discovered that the further
a language
is from Africa
the fewer phonetic sounds in it

we can barely pronounce the name of songs like !Qong!qothwane
for we have lost the many clicks and sounds we once spoke with
as we migrated farther and farther away from our

first
mother tongue

and introspection has now discovered that the further a black boy is from his father
the more likely he is to be
crying
if only on the inside

so what color are these truths?

i speak of my mother

i speak of
our mother

i speak of
your mother

yes you too
neo-colonialist
you too

what kind of a person rapes
his own mother?

for gold
for diamonds
for ANYTHING

what color is it
that we have given up our yesterdays for
today and our
todays for tomorrows
and our universal roots in the heart of
Africa for

sorrow said there is a place which gave birth to human
math
human language
human
beings

so put away the hair relaxer
for we are not savages to be civilized
or relaxed

put away the white barbie eye-dollatry

put away the skin bleach that washes complexion ‘n self comprehension out of
young, gifted, and black
minds
that sing in every skin tone

because
africa is not just a color
and not just a primary color
rather
africa
is

THE

primary

color

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

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