A Thought for Africa
they’re on my body,
not my mind-
I’m free, where it matters.
It’s the new year, 2008.
Beautiful outside. Dry weather, a bright sun promising heat in the day. Heat there is now, a nice, dry feel to the skin. The kind which would have me throw off my shirt and labour under the sun, skin glistening with glorious sweat running down my back, muscles rippling and dancing under my dark skin, swinging an axe, or hoe, pulling at stubble in a field, in the hope of rain far off in the future.
The new year has dawned as the old did. New and old are mixed, despair and hope.
Another African leader has betrayed his people. This time in
Swindling a poll? Maybe he did not. But there is so much circumstantial evidence that he is guilty till proven otherwise. Like our president, he came in on a wave of promise, five years ago. Popular support, acclaim, for a new
Like our president, again, he has turned a horrible new leaf.
Chains? Yes, they are there. But we are free. As free as we will allow ourselves to be.
Sometime ago, I would wail and cry at what has happened in
Yet I have to admit that I hold too closely to the values which are foreign to my culture. They are good values. But not enough of us hold them to make them African. They evolved in the thinking of years. In Africa, in
Yet these chains are on our bodies. We are still free.
And it is that freedom that I am carrying on in the new year.
I do freely admit that I am stubborn enough to hold onto my convictions. I am an African. A Ugandan, living and working in
That is freedom. That is freedom of the mind.
There are chains of poverty, of ill will, of greed, of corruption and despair all around me. Death seems a constant companion. Life’s cycles seem corrupted by pain and despair.
Yet I know, believe, that I am free. Because I am free.
I know you are hurting, your children hurt, your earth raped, your forests naked and stolen and hurt. But thank you for the gift of life, and freedom of the mind that I celebrate of now, in this new year.
And thank you for a very beautiful morning, dawn, and weather promising a beautiful day today.