I was watching a you-tube clip this afternoon,I was from having lunch,the lazy afternoon moments saw me click my way into some you-tube clips on my phone.It was the Kigali fashion week that caught my eye.The tall alluring beautiful Rwandan models were a wonder to gaze at.It is not only their striking beauty that would capture your attention but also the outstanding couture dresses that they graced the runway with.The dresses were definitely made by a seasoned tailor,a true son of the soil,this soil we all stand on and call home,this earth that birthed the entire world,this beautiful haven they call Africa.The dresses are nicely cut out,they speak everything African,from their deep and rich colour scheme to the quality feel of the material.Well you don’t get to feel materials on a you-tube clip but your brain is a powerful centre of imagination and it could feel it anyway.
It is that moment of watching that video that sparked an awakening for me today.I appreciated the progress that we are constantly making as a people.I felt this deep sense of pride inside of me.A certain sudden warmth engulfs my spirit,my soul is elevated,my person-hood is exalted,suddenly an unexpected joy annoyingly hijacks my hearts,it throbs,a little faster,then faster,then faster than the later.The models catwalk on the runway royally,its an African kind of catwalk,with an African sort of attitude.I am in love with the entire act,for a moment i feel like i should have been the photographer for the event.The moments to capture were more than I could have imagined.Then when i calmed down,I couldn’t help but wonder where all that certain happiness had suddenly creeped up from,then i recalled him,he should have smiled from his grave,may his soul rest in peace,i don’t remember his exact words but he said something like this”When one finally realises the values of his own nation,the beauty that simply lies within reach,then there is an awakening in that individual,an emancipation and that is what true freedom feels like.”
Then I tested the moment of an awakening,I instantly tapped into the ether of the universe.I was in total sync with the whole thing,as though I was born again,only this time round the baptismal was by a you-tube clip and not tap or river water.For a moment,I had returned to the source of my being.It was like the people I was watching,those pulchritudinous African models had assumed the fact of being African once more,in Cabral’s word they had ”Reafricanized” and my ooh my,I was just thinking to myself:”This is how beautiful Africa would be if we all in one accord decided to get back to our roots”,That is what brought me the excitement i guess.
If i had an alter ego,then it would be the man who put in frantic efforts in unification of Africa’s then Portuguese colonies,the legend goes by the name Amilcar Cabral.He was of the idea that if Africa was to be on a path of progress,then it would have to ”reafricanize”,a term that he personally coined and which i truly think is a word we should deeply meditate on and assume sooner rather than later.The problem with Africa is complex,its an intricate and delicate subject that transcends centuries of history.If Africa today looks like a Continent that is recovering from post-traumatic stress,it is majorly because of the numerous historical injustices that have been perpetrated to the Negroid race.
There have been moments in our history that have really played an intricate role in disorienting the Negroids sub-conscious,we have suffered moments in our lifetimes,moments of colonialism,moments of slavery and all this things have contributed to us finding ourselves at a hard place in this moment in time.We have been psychologically battled and defeated subconsciously,that is why Africa seems to lag behind in today’s overwhelming competitive global space,the question of concern therefore becomes,How can Africa catch up with the rest of the world,amidst obvious post-traumatic stresses and psychotic disorders.
When our founding fathers waged a fearless struggle for our independence,they did so with a deep love for their fellow African and black people as a whole.They travelled all corners of this world advocating for our freedoms,chattering slogans of Africa belonging to Africans,they did all this not so that we could merely put a flag on our soil or get an anthem.No.They did it so that we could assume our fact of being African.They did it so that we could bring back our song and dance,they fought so that our grandmothers and old folk could pass down the ancient legends and folk lore of our people by the firesides,they did it so African women could get back to their beautiful dressing,the kind of dressing I saw on that runway in Kigali,they did it so we could get back to our culture,so that African women could get there beautiful hairstyle back aboard.They did it so that we enjoy African games,bullfighting and cockfighting,simbi,wrestling.They did it so that we could once again breathe the air of being African once more.
But is that the ideal scenario we see in Africa today?No.I see an Africa that struggles to keep up with European and American trends.I see a young African generation that is inspired by Kanye West and Nicki-Minaj.I got nothing personal against the two,but we got our own musicians down here.Men of the calibre of Oliver Mtukudzi the only African man who has a genre of music named after him.Why are we quick to admire jay-z who does not live in our reality,and who does not provide musical content that inspires solutions to African problems.Why not listen to Oliver who sings about HIV/AIDS,about poverty,about issues that African people relate to.Why are our artiste singing about cars,and money and all that disillusioned music videos that is merely a parody of American music videos.
I see an Africa whose leaders live on private Islands,the billionaire dreams,actualised by mass impoverishment of African masses.I see corrupt African governments that have no limitations to the lengths they are willing to go to keep African masses suppressed. I see hopeless youth who have lost faith not only in the existing government systems but also life.I see an Africa that is suffocating,slowly succumbing to years of unending injustices,not only from men of different skin colour but from our very own black folks also.Yet I stand before you,with an exactitude of a Jewish prophet,borrowing the words of proff Lumumba,to proclaim that the struggle continues. Aluta continua.
Africa has to keep on pressing,it has to struggle so that it can always be on a forward move,Africa should not mimic the patterns that Europe or America followed to enrich themselves.Just because they succeeded by disadvantaging others does not mean Africa has to follow suit.We have to develop and progress within the contexts of our realities.We should not let anyone,other than ourselves decide for us the path of our own prosperity.That is a road we will have to construct on our own.Our problems here in Africa can be best solved only with African solutions.
So what can Africa leverage on in order for her to make a name for herself?The richest and single-most important resource of a people is their culture,yet Africa has the richest cultural diversity in the world.As we look into the future,we need to find an effective way of blending this numerous rich and often forgotten African cultures into a masterpiece that we can call ”African-Cocktail.”(Mark you if that word ever trends,give credits to this African for coining it).Our diversity is our only and first weapon of defence,our unity is at the centre of making all these possible for Africans.Unfortunately Africa has many enemies,enemies who are hell-bent to making sure that African Unity cannot be a reality.Most of the enemies are our very own folks though.History tells us time and again,that African enemies are her very own people.Men and women who can barely shelve there greed and dark ambitions for the well being of others.
Men who at times have taken up arms and assassinated their very own comrades.The problem is not far away,it is right here.The spirit of betrayal that is rooted in Africa has to be weeded. It is only by so doing that we can move forward in harmony,so that our people can finally be free,free to work and define their own happiness and progress.So that our people can be awakened and receive this illumination deep inside of them.This emancipation that will make the Yorubas meet the Luhya,the Sosha meeting the somalis,the Mandinga meeting the Baganda,the Ogonis meeting the Maasais,so that we can create a deep and unique blending of African cultures,Music,art,song and dance.This is the only sure way of leveraging.So that we can create more Kigali fashion weeks,So we can make creative African films,so we can narrate interesting African stories,so we blend amazing African recipies,so we can make more Toure’s and Wanyama’s,more Wizkid’s and Mtukudzi’s,so we can create our own heaven right here in the cradle.I am never going to give up the struggle until Africa and Africans are truly free and finally emancipated.