Author Rabbie Serumula. File image.
Author Rabbie Serumula. File image.

#PoeticLicence: We are tired of inheriting stories of survival, of servitude

By Rabbie Serumula Time of article published Apr 25, 2021

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Sometimes mother nature is our teacher, others our nemesis. But with every revelation comes a genesis.

It is in the mountains that we burn and the fires that we climb, where we remember the need to adapt for survival.

It is from the ashes of our history – lost, never to be handled again – where we feel a piece of ourselves falling, tumbling away from our being, like hoofs of horses dislodging loose stones.

How our history falls into a bottomless unknown. Further and further from our comprehension, our consciousness.

I am a firm believer in African stories, by Africans. A preservation of these is paramount to this ideology. The unifying and strengthening of bonds for all indigenous and diaspora ethnic groups of African descent.

Reminding Africans who they are, from wherever they are.

When mother nature turned nemesis, raging flames slithered down the slopes of Table Mountain on a stroll to the University of Cape Town (UCT), hand in hand with high winds.

Mother nature has no hands, but she wagged UCT’s Jagger reading room like a red cape. The flames were a bull.

A man was arrested for the Table Mountain fire but the destruction of the reading room remains a hot reminder to adapt and survive.

The word “digital” has been around far too long for a historic library that housed a priceless African Studies collection to be extinguished from humanity.

We are tired of inheriting stories of survival, of servitude.

Stories of misdirection – African stories told by non-Africans, who are not too eloquent with the tongue, but write stories about culture.

Not too substantial about the fire, but stories about smoke. Stories that mirror the black man in his manufactured image.

Stories of hope.

Not too many stories of home, from home, but stories of the road.

Stories of the sea, of the trade, of the silk, of the spices.

Ashes from the Jagger reading room darkened a window into the continent's colonial past.

It halted Africa's rise.

As soon as the fires went down, the continent started buffering.

Perhaps social amnesia, the result of forcible repression of the flames, of the alleged arsonist, of ignorance, of changing circumstances, or perhaps the forgetting that will come from changing interests, will ease the suffering.

And if Africa isn't rising, we will still raise our kids on stories of Biko, Sankara, Lumumba.

Stories of Mandela, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

We will also unpack our stories of pain – Marikana, xenophobia, femicide.

But we will tell them that like Phoenixes, they will emerge from the ashes of these concentration camps we call Townships. Designed to numb our minds, but they have become our muse.

Their dark streets double as our vegetable gardens, but at night, shadows are quick to blow a fuse.

The pavements – oh how so many souls have separated from flesh on these pavements, they know us by blood. They are the protagonist of our stories.

Every corner bears our names; ‘champions of living below the poverty line’.

We have been living day zero since day one.

Every revelation births a genesis. Every genesis breeds a mantra. With this genesis; we either go digital, or go extinct.

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