#PoeticLicense: A letter to Africa

Rabbie Serumula

Rabbie Serumula

Published Dec 9, 2023


Dear Africa,

I hope you have been wonderful, and that this email finds you well in your right to recognise the rise in frequency and vibration of your beloved people.

When I came across ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula saying the removal of Thabo Mbeki from his presidential post a few months before his term ended was “wrong” and “reckless”, it prompted a contemplative exploration into the historical currents, the continuous and dynamic flow of events, decisions and circumstances throughout history that collectively shape you, our continent.

In acknowledging Mbalula’s concerns, I am humbled by the complex interplay of events that has seamlessly blended into the narrative of our shared experience of you, dearest Africa.

Looking back in time and examining events with a reflective perspective, Mbalula highlights the repercussions of a decision made in 2008, a choice that, in his view, triggered discontent and internal divisions within the ANC. The commitment of Mbeki, however, to remain within the party despite his removal shows resilience while facing political turbulence – he is an African.

The resonance of history echoes further when we revisit May 1996, a momentous occasion when then-deputy president Mbeki delivered a masterful speech at the Constitutional Assembly in Cape Town. As a poet myself, I dare say his words transcended political rhetoric, portraying a poetic vision of a unified you, exalted Africa.

Fast-forward to the speculative foresight presented by Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma in her 2023 “email from the future" to another African, Kwame Nkrumah. Envisioning a Confederation of African States propelled by youthful vigour, she painted a picture of pan-African dominance in various sectors, fostering unity and prosperity – a forward-looking picture of you that I pray is as close to accurate as imaginably possible.

It’s possible that Mbalula’s critique underscores the potential repercussions of hastened decisions, a sobering reflection on the unintended consequences that can ripple through time. It prompts a sincere acknowledgement that hindsight offers valuable lessons for the present and future.

Dlamini Zuma’s optimistic projection, on the other hand, is a beacon of hope, a beacon illuminating a path where unity and prosperity intertwine on your horizon, noble Africa.

It outlines a future where you, having overcome past divisions, stand as a global force, united in diversity and marked by technological advancement – a Wakanda of sorts, a subliminal reminder of sorts, a predictive programming we are taking into our own hands.

Hence in the humility of acknowledging the perspectives, we recognise the complexity of leadership decisions and the enduring pursuit of a unified identity of you, esteemed Africa. The interplay between past reflections and future aspirations serves as a guide for wise decision-making.

May our leaders, many of whom are not born yet, who their sun has not found home on their skin yet, navigate the intricate currents of history with a keen awareness of the echoes it creates, fostering a future where the heartbeat of one Africa resounds harmoniously.

Saturday Star

Rabbie Serumula