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African Renaissance

Kevin Carter belongs to everyone

Abigail George



I hope you have the sun. I long for the sun today. Yes, I’m thinking of you. You and moonlight. You and tenderness. How you express yourself. How you make me feel from my smile to my soul. Only you know what I want the world to see. So, you took me and then you left me.

You were mentally cruel to me. I love you anyway. I accept and understand that it is part of your genetic makeup.  I accept and understand that that is just a part of your personality. You bring out the best in me. You bring out the worst in me. You’re holy even when you’re holier than thou. I accept and understand that we can’t be together. You’re not here. I’m here. The sea is here. Driftwood is here, my love, but you’re not. Are you drinking again? I know that you are. Of course, you don’t have to explain anything to me. You are my beloved. I understand. If there’s another woman, other women in your bed, you’re a man, I understand and accept that that will always be a factor in your life. I will never cut you. Understand that. I will never wound you for the sake of wounding you. You want me conveniently out of your life now. I understand and accept that. I will be writing to you to try and reach you for the rest of your life. Understand that. For you are my kind, my beloved, my kind of man. You will always be my type. Unfortunately, I will always be a stereotype. What do you see when you look at me now? Is she, your wife just a few years older than me? Both of you thought you’d be safe. That she wouldn’t fall pregnant. You did not use condoms. This is what married people do. I understand. You’re lovers. I understand you needed someone. I would not give in. I tried to tell you that I loved you. I just couldn’t put it into words, you see. Do you understand? Is it fine where you are?

What is the weather like? Is it hot there? How are you? Are you coping? I am trying to make things happen. If I was your woman, and you were my man, life would have been exciting all the time.

Interesting all the time. My sister is in Europe. That is her life now. Which is why I contacted you. I didn’t know how to say goodbye to her. I’m really in the depths of despair, which is why I tried to contact you. I wanted to hear the sound of your voice on the other side of the telephone. I wanted to hear all of your voices. I feel the ache in my lonely bones most of all. Yes, the loneliness is getting to me once again. Here I will pause; will you think my hair looks pretty like this. Do you still love me? There are bowls of fire in the linings of my heart. They are burning for you. You’re the enigma.

You’re the enigmatic prize. Other men look at you envious. Other women want to be at your side. I know you. I know you. I love you anyway.

You’re breaking my heart again. You’re walking away again. We must stop meeting as lovers. We have to meet as friends now. Friends who sleep together occasionally. I love you. I love only you. You are gone to the afterparty. The wrap parties. The social function.  I could never host anything. Just thinking about it makes me feel tired. She’s at your side. You have pulled me under again, my love. Your beautiful wife is at your side. You make quite a handsome pair. I have to let you go again. This time for good. You’re beautiful, and once you were mine. You’re not mine anymore. I will love you all for eternity. The ghost of man. The ghost of the man you were when I met you. I won’t keep you waiting. This is your time. This is the woman you have chosen to build a life with, it is her life too. She’s your human shield. I am anti-matter. I am non-existent in your world. We can pretend we feel nothing when we look at each other. But everyone can see our chemistry. How good we would be together. When I look at you, when you’re on television, all I see or feel is electricity. You’re angry at me that I can’t be more discreet. I can’t do your bidding anymore, my love, my love, my love. You’re gone. My sister is gone. Mike Murdock, American television evangelist is gone. I know the whisky tumbler is in your hand. There’s a woman lying next to you. You kiss her hard. What are you doing? You don’t love her. If I phone, you’ll answer. You’ll make me the happiest person in the world. I’ll make you the happiest person in the world. I meet so many people. All I want is you. You made your choice. You live like a family man, which is what you always wanted. You live like a free man. Perhaps one day I’ll see you again. I’ll see you and I won’t see you. You’ll see me and you won’t see me. Thanking you for your time. I can’t thank you in advance for your reply anymore. You won’t see this letter. I love you. I love you. I love you. Understand that. You’ll never let me down. You’re not going to answer the phone if I reach you. You’re gone. You hate me. I need you so much. You’re gone. I tell myself that you hate me. You loving me is impossible. Me loving you is impossible. The woman lying next to you. Well, this has always been your modus operandi. I miss you. You miss me. I don’t know how to be wife, mother, or lover. I’m sorry. I should call. I don’t have airtime. I don’t have data. Can’t give you a baby. I don’t feel that I am woman enough for you, because I can’t give you a child. There you go, you are breaking my heart again. You are my miracle. You are really gone this time. You have no need for me to substitute anything in your life. I am scared. I’m frightened. I’m running scared. I’m alone, but it is not the first time in my life that I am alone. Everything is in my head. I’m a mess.

I’m a mess. We don’t even talk anymore. Those days are gone. I wish you well, my friend. The passion is still here. What am I going to do with all this passion that I have for you? All this feeling that I have for you. You’re gone. Yes, yes, yes, I know I keep saying that. I have to remind myself of that fact as if it is alive, as if your departure it is temporary when in fact it isn’t. I’m crazy. Crazy for you. All you have to do is touch me once, and you know that what I am saying is true. My sister is such a talent. She has the potential to make it. To become an honest woman. To become lover. Somehow, she was saved from the kind of life that I live. Falling in love with emotionally unavailable men. There’s something else I wanted to speak to you about. I have to write something. Do I write something serious or light-hearted? Do I give the game away? Do I show and tell? Or let the audience in the theatre connect the dots. I trust your judgement.

You have to explain the situation to me now. We are not on speaking terms anymore? Can I contact you, because you said that I could?

You’re not free. You’re not available. Perhaps you’re not in the country anymore. Perhaps you’re at home with your family. This is my message to you. I love you. I inhabit you with every force. You’re embarrassed and insecure and shy. You were always shy. I loved that about you. I’m embarrassed and insecure and shy. I love how you make yourself vulnerable to me. You’re with someone tonight. It’s Saturday.

Love is just a game. And to you, loving is just a game. Call the police. Call the memory police. Gosh, you are so beautiful Robert. You still take my breath away. Be safe. You made me feel safe in your arms. No worries. Love who you want. Take to bed who you want. I’m sorry. I’m sorry I didn’t behave. Otherwise tonight, tonight, and all the nights after that we would have been together. I just wanted to say that I’m thinking of you. I just wanted to say that you were the greatest love of my life. But tonight, tonight you are on my mind. So, I relax into the dream of you. Smoke a cigarette. Pop a mint in my mouth. The sun is setting here. I know I can’t just show up again in your life. Unannounced and uninvited. You make me so happy. And all I am doing is just sitting here, thinking of you. You’re the man. You’re the man. You will always be the man in my life. I’ll go on pretending for your sake. I won’t pretend I know who you are if I ever see you again. I’ll avert my eyes and walk on by as if we never even met. I think of Brink and Jonker. How brilliant they were together. How brilliant we were together. Who is holding onto you now? Who is wrapping their legs around your waist? I’m missing you badly. Of course, I know this depression won’t last. It will pass the thought of the holy perfection of you. The man, the man, the man. You were the man in my life once. All the life in me has died. All the love that you had for me has died in you. I don’t regret anything, love of my life, light of my life. Perhaps they will say this one day, that my characters are complex. Males living in a reality of their own making.

Will they ever know how true that is? Will they ever know your potential to be both lover and husband? Will you ever know? Yes, I have no one. I always have had no one. No one is in the picture.

Except the master of the universe. Christ, the Saviour. I’m not coping. I’m waiting here for someone to take this pain away from me.

Yes, yes, yes. I know that person has to be me. I know that now. I have to save myself from this flux. You’re loving someone. Your mouth is on her mouth. Your lips are on her lips. Your warm breath is on her neck. The nape of her neck. When I think like this, I think of us. I think of us together like that. I’m a big girl now. No longer naïve ingenue. Am I confident? Looks can be deceiving. You see what you want to see. The world sees what they want to see. You don’t want me for some reason or other. You don’t want me. I accept this now. Do you understand this now? I am telling you that I accept this set of circumstances. I feel so rough, frustrated at myself because even after all this time I’ve isolated myself. I haven’t fallen in love. No one really cares about me, the way you cared about me. I can’t remember now what I was protecting you from. I was so poor. Perhaps it was my own poverty. I felt ashamed. You did everything in your power not to make me feel that shame. I absolutely hated you seeing me like that. That was not who I was. All I want to do is sit here now with you. Look at you. Look at you. Look at you. The way your eyes crinkle up at the corners when you’re thinking, when you’re laughing, when you’re with your friends. That is your life. I won’t ever be a part of that. I’ll do this any way you want me to. Now comes the leaving part again. The departure. And I know the reason why we’re not together.

You’ve got your life back in order now, you complicated, complicated man. I don’t want you to change. I know who I fell in love with. Rich man. Poor girl. Older man. Girl in her early twenties. I will love you for the rest of my life. I just wanted you to know that. I’ll go on saying that until my last breath. No answer. Silence. You wake up in the morning and greet me with silence. You go to bed. Silence. Silence is also an answer. You are saying that you don’t love me. That’s okay.

I’m okay with that. I’m scared. The demons come at night. There’s a struggle. Always this struggle. They’re calling it body dysmorphic disorder. Do you understand? You are the only one who understands me.

You are the only man who has ever touched me. I am old. Old. Old. Old.

A woman’s body falls a part when she becomes older. Oh, quite literally. There’s no getting used to that. To the fact that girls stay young and in bloom forever. Let her love you instead of me. She will love all of you in her own way. That’s the most important thing to know. That she will try. I can’t let you see all of me, but you know me so well. You’re in my head again. You’re in my head again.

You’re the only one who sees me. The real me. You’re the only one who listens. The only one who will ever understand me. I go everywhere and I see you everywhere. Oh, I know they’re just a pale version of you.

But understand this, it is my pale version of you. All that they are doing, these men, are living vicariously through you. I asked God, to give me something to remember you by, and He did. For me, you will be my reflection of eternity.

Abigail George is a feminist, poet and short story writer. She is the recipient of two South African National Arts Council Writing Grants, one from the Centre for the Book and the Eastern Cape Provincial Arts and Culture Council. She was born and raised in the coastal city of Port Elizabeth, the Eastern Cape of South Africa, educated there and in Swaziland and Johannesburg. She has written a novella, books of poetry, and collections of short stories. She is busy with her brother putting the final additions to a biography on her father’s life. Her work has recently been anthologised in the Sol Plaatje EU Poetry Anthology IV. Her work was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She briefly studied film.

African Renaissance

The Northern Areas Odyssey: The First Steps Towards The Self-Concept Of Slavery

Abigail George



We are living in the precarious times of a coloniality-based dispensation and the repercussions of an ill-fated democracy.

The working class, the downtrodden and the poor live in a borderline and tragic sub-economic area. The youth live in a reality of violence, the law and rule of the gun. The reality of that unfortunately is violence. Alcoholism is rife amongst the poverty-stricken. Those that live in sub-economic housing. It is a violent reality the capacity of which the educated establishment, the liberal cannot understand. Coloured youth live in a violent reality of drugs, territory, addiction and alcoholism. This is a generation that is defining itself either for better or for worse. It is a young generation primarily made up of the single coloured female. Very few coloured females slip through the net of not having, or, shadowing trauma in their lives. What they feel mostly is isolated, alienated, displaced or dispossessed. There is mass exploitation of coloured males and females in the workplace. Even there, they do not go unscathed. There is strong denial of their own feelings of self-worth. They are the breadwinners who live in either a sub-economic area, or, a flatlet, playing both the roles of mother and father. There is mortality in this community, death, infirmity and solitude. The Khoi mission statement was simply cheap labour. The colonial masters then were the government of the day. Cue the anointed, the holistic repositioning, vision of the anointed. Cue the apostle, the evangelist, cure the prophetic ministry. Now we are being taught that to be awakened, we must be indoctrinated by the church, by the dogma and rhetoric of the church, and that when you are most vulnerable, the purposefully-crafted theologian stands on their own. That it is God’s will that is always healing. The pastor will tell you that God will put entities in your path either to obstruct you, destroy you, sabotage, or, uplift you and make you visionary. That you will be blessed by your enemies. What are the merits of religion in a gangster-ridden community? It gives and brings closure, there is us, and the distance that lies between us is surmised to be God. The youth are taught from a young age that life is filled with disappointment, astonishment, observations of the flesh, the flow of the removing of the remover to remove, erase, or eliminate.

What is the explanation of this reticence, this anguish of us, and what are the problems besetting the Coloured in their community, in their homes, in their schools, in their livelihood, in their workplace and in their churches? We are still in a crisis mode. The crisis of identity. There has always been oppression and not emancipation in the Coloured community. There has always been humiliation and a sense of discrimination. We have always been used as political instruments. If the Blacks had Bantu Education, then the Coloured received a gutter education. You simply have to look around you today, to see exactly where we have come from, and where we stand today. Our existence and presence as stepchildren, as brothers and sisters, as the ‘White’ children of Van Riebeeck still holds solid ground, and if we chronicle our entire movement throughout history you will see that we are governed by the shackles of the laws and principles of an immoral threshold. We have garnered the vote, but what does that mean for us as a Coloured ‘nation’ in particular. We have been tossed about for centuries as slave stock, as Non-European,and endured our humiliation and our oppressors in silence. How do we negotiate as a second-class citizen, or rather the working poor’s second-class citizensense of deprivation, the extreme suffering, the extreme poverty that we live in as the working class, the poor and the downtrodden? The bitterness lives on inside of us, inside of our children, inside of our grandchildren, inside of our great-grandchildren. This sense of unease, of unrest, of dispossession, that we are suckers for the pain of mental cruelty has stayed throughout with us for centuries. We have been deprived, lived under apartheid laws, served our country, were hounded in the process, persecuted in the process, and in the end where is the progress of our intelligentsia. Everything we do comes from the viewpoint of anger. It is time to correct the imbalance of social backwardness, ineptness, inequality. We have rights. We have rights. As the working poor, the struggle continues. As the working class, the dispossessed and as the poor we have rights. All the right in the world to be flesh and blood citizen with marked-up privileges.

It starts with recognising the wrongs of the insidious past, and righting them. Schools, libraries and universities must be built in the names of our people. It starts with the education of the Coloured nation.

That recognition that knowledge is power, and with that said, everything in the end that was taken from us, will be returned to us. In my own analysis, we must display a humane regard for each other, authenticity and remain watchful of the dream of the next generation, our descendants, our children. 

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African Renaissance

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Triumphs And The African Renaissance

Abigail George



How does a continent decline? Corruption. Misappropriation of funds. Leadership, where leadership, the leaders of South Africa, or the leaders of a particular individual African country, where there is a continual struggle for power, for ownership. In my mind, the struggles, our burdens are as follows. Control, and self-control amongst politicians, dictatorships, no succession plan, genocide, civil war. It even points to our, all the men and women we call the visionary-leader. The servant-leader. Then there is power in the wrong hands. Financial woes. Citizens voting politicians into power who mess up monumentally. Power struggles amongst parties, coalitions. Poor mental health which leads to poor thinking, mistakes, poor decision-making. Poor decision-making stems from poor mental health. If the leaders of a control are mentally well, we will prosper. Then there is the majority of the world. This is affecting the online global platform as well. Digital, print media. Both the corporate and the public sector.

Sectors of industry, of transport, and foreign policy. Policy is key. We know this. We know the art of the deal. We also know of corruption. Of Cronyism. Suffering from mental woes, every depression, every malady, every mood, every brain disorder in the book. Taking medication for it. The sleepless nights. The insomnia. What drives the progress of a united and totally emancipated Africa? We must understand all of that. It has taken us centuries, but we have reached the perspective of understanding. Now we must progress even more. Enlightenment? Ask, how does a continent progress from the objectification, of the subjugation of poverty, tothe level-headednessof greatness, to knowledge, and beyond. To not only build visionary-leaders, servant-leaders, industrialists, leaders of industry, but philosophers in the vein of Nietzsche, psychologists like Freud, Adler, Jung,teachers like Montessori. The Greeks Aristotle, Hippocrates, and Homer they had it. Chutzpah. The Greek teachers, scholars.

We must not forget our composers like Moses Molelekwa. Nobody ever dies in vain. There is always the legacy, the succession plan, who will come after, who will take up the mantle, rewrite history. Even the dead speak.The powers that be in this century are basically the same that we were facing when the Dutch came, and then when the Settlers came. Indoctrination followed; churches and mission schools were built. The Khoi were educated about God. They learned to pray. They were taught about the cross, Calvary, and the resurrection. Indigenous homesteads were broken down. Farms were built. Land was taken. Class, hunger, disability and poverty are problems not unique to one individual country in Africa. Hunger is the greatest scourge that we as mothers, grandmothers, fathers, grandfathers, sons and daughters are facing in the Northern Areas. I speak of the Northern Areas, of the Eastern Cape, of South Africa. We can look at the shocking statistics. but it is symptomatic of African itself. It is greater than Africa.

Hunger is linked to mental health. Education is linked to mental health. Our children are gifted beyond measure. At this point in time, I will look at South Africa in particular. At the Northern Chapters I will sometimes discuss. This is important. We are dealing with those Africans of mixed-race descent. Descendants from the Dutch, English, the Europeans, the Portuguese, the French, the Khoi, the African, Saint Helena, Cape Verde, Dominica. Slaves as far back as the English India Company, and thereafter the Dutch East India Company. Yes, yes, we must all be recognised. The Coloured must be recognised. The Coloured identity must be recognised. The Coloured intelligentsia is in crisis. We must recognise in the greater scheme of things. From time to time, I will talk about the Northern Areas. Their families. Their schools. Their workplaces. A kind of emotional and financial security that goes beyond just job-security must also be discussed in the plainest terms possible when it comes to the Northern Chapters.

The Northern Areas which are found all over Africa.All this time men, gifted, gifted men. Young men have been living like outlaws on the fringes, the fringes of society. They are ignored, killed, murdered, land in jail, with no possible future of rehabilitation, where they can contribute positively to the society around them. Truancy is linked to poverty. A lot of the social problems in South Africa. How do these young men, to their families, become a father figure to their children? Education and discipline can both free your mind from the perspective that you are only learned, you are only intelligent, I can only hire you if you have a university degree. You can only open up a business if you studied finance, or economics, or accountancy, or if you’re going to inherit the family business. These days even families, generations, have something to inherit if they are the indigenous peoples of South Africa. This ideal, ideal of a unified Africa is a beautiful dream, but there is a lot of work still to be done. The problems we are experiencing are teachers.

Teaching is the noblest profession in the world. But do we even dare discuss mental health and the teaching profession, the workplace, the church, our schools, the hierarchy found in the business-arena in the same breath. Businessmen want to talk business, business ventures, hedge funds, the economy, the global recession and how that is going to affect the JSE, and African economy, the world economy at the end of the day.Changes. We need to see changes; we need to see transformation in every sphere of our country. We need to recognise class. We need to understand what it is. Why the dichotomy between the working classes, the poor, the middle class, and the upper middle class exist. We live in an era filled with tech. Everywhere you look. Everywhere you use an app, or WhatsApp, or your tablet, or your cell phone. Virtual space, technology, the digital divide, affirmative action, broader based black empowerment. We are all as leaders and citizens out of touch with reality. The reality we are living in is a non-reality.

If we are aware of our problems, financial, security, emotional, mental health, what is class? Where do all our problems fit in with prizewinning, all of our elegant solutions. The rich think they have it. Prosperity. Education. Wealth. Considerable wealth. There’s a fault line, but with who, which sector of government is the fault lying with. We are living in a new era. We Africans are not totally conscientized to that fact that because we live on this incredible continent, we do not lack resources. Africa is still plundered to this day.  I said to myself that someday someone might be looking for this, or, rather asking what the key to knowledge is? How does undergraduate at a university prepare themselves for the great unknown. The workforce. The workplace. They go for interviews, they hand in the resumes, the panel asks them questions about their education, background to get to know them better. Knowledge. Knowledge is power. Knowledge is the key to all-understanding. We learn from our collective experiences in life.

From the time we are born, our entire childhood. Education is a lifelong learning experience. You never stop learning, questioning, asking. You never stop communicating. This inter-connectedness we have as Africans is lifelong. We have to have faith in each other that Africa will go the distance. At finding solutions. One of the problems that we are dealing with right on the continent is that there was a genocide in Rwanda between the Hutus and the Tutsis. One solution we must, must discuss is virtual space. We must discuss practicalities. Entrepreneurship. To build, create, sustain prosperity, wealth, progress in Africa. When describing oppression, the oppressed female, we must also take cognisance of the fact that we should also be empowering young women, raising them up touplift, and then to empower the next generation of women to come into the political arena, into education as teachers, administration, the corporate sector and the public sector. Recognise an African woman’s chutzpah, intelligence, as equal, as noble equal.

Why would we say that we know who we are as Africans, what, and who we represent when clearly, we don’t even recognise those of mixed-race descent. We are not overcoming the severe problems that every individual African has faced basically on every level, and every and each phase of its own development. There is poverty. There are squatters. There is homelessness. There is disability in this poverty, amongst squatters, and amongst the homeless. There is the even bigger Pandora’s box of feeding millions. Of hunger, which is a huge undertaking. Then there is the leadership-question. Often men in leadership roles often serve in a patriarchal system. It is theirs and theirs alone. Roles of leadership in Africa should be open to both men and women. Let us come to a topic not spoken about often. Our loneliness. In Africa there is loneliness amongst races, amongst people of different faiths.Corruption is taking what does not belong to you in the first place. Cronyism is the function whereby you increase favour and wealth.

Prosperity and influence amongst your own. Then we come to the debate of political powers. Political leaders should be held accountable for the mistakes they have made in their position. We must ask, every Northern Chapter, every Northern Areas across the diaspora, all Africans must ask the following. What am I contributing to Africa, to African society, to the communities, status quo, norms and values of the Northern Areas? The Eastern Cape is one of the most undeveloped areas in South Africa. Many live in the rural countryside, townships are over-populated, racial discrimination is rife, the areas in the Northern Areas are crime-ridden, poverty-stricken, the youth are disadvantaged, marginalised. They are in need of knowledge, education, employment, work opportunities, skills, and expertise. Also, the self-awareness to understand their lineage, their cultural background, their heritage and traditions. We must look at the scale of hunger. The landscape of poverty as it exists for the majority of Africans.

Hunger is the key issue holding us back from Africa’s progress, our prosperity.What will Africa be remembered for one day, the sibling rivalry between Dinga and Chaka? What will Patrice Lumumba be remembered for one day, Kwame Nkrumah, Stephen Bantu Biko? Black Consciousness must become the consciousness of every individual African. Remember Ruth First, remember Dulcie September, Dennis Brutus who mentored the poet Arthur Nortje, our intelligentsia, the intelligentsia Neville Alexander, Fikile Bam and George Bizos. Forward thinkers. Thought-leaders.Visionaries. Every African intellectual that has walked in this world, we must take hold of the lesson. We had great leaders of integrity, who understood the difference between civil disobedience, now we must look at both the inherent psychological framework of Africa, the African, because that is where the root, the cause, the issue of faith, of our social ills, our political problems arise from. Now in this era, we know where we are going to.

African leaders, her visionaries know the direction in which we are progressing. The era, reaching the nexus of the middle of the African Renaissance. Now our writers must begin to write. Where is our female Chinua Achebe, J.M. Coetzee, Wole Soyinka, Onyeka Nwelue. There was our Doris Lessing. There was our Nadine Gordimer. There is our Thuli Madosela. Our Winnie Madikezela-Mandela. Where is our Susan Sontag, our Virginia Woolf? What is the difference between consciousness and becoming conscientized?Apartheid and colonialism, genocide and civil war will mark our attitudes until Kingdom Come will always be a part of our collective consciousness of who we are as Africans. We must break down our stereotypes, and use this era of our Renaissance, our African Renaissance to move forward. Not hold African, the youth, the next generation accountable, responsible, for the sins of our past. The only way to wash away those sins is to use the tradition we have always had, storytelling.We speak about diversity, ethnicism.

We must continue to speak about diversity, the multi-ethnic groups in Africa, throughout Africa, that exist in the totality of this novel sensibility, this almost spiritual sensibility (yes, we are making progress, progress is there for all of us to familiarise ourselves with, now we must work towards not only equality, but the emancipation of woman-figures). Build women into political leaders, business leaders, entrepreneurs, artists. Gender diversity still exists. What is wrong with that scenario? Is it so wrong? Gender equality will progress in its own time, and as we know time in Africa heals everything. Everything. Timing in Africa is a spiritual concept. Dealing with divinity. Then we come to the aspects of healing, oral storytelling. Healing from the genocide Africa has witnessed, apartheid, xenophobia, colonialism, prejudice, it is going to be a completely natural process.In films, we are still portrayed as having still this slave-mentality. We are the colonialised native working the land, planting the cotton, working on plantations. We are the Hottentot.

Prejudice, prejudice, slave-mentality no more, nor more. No more. For this is a new era, our era, the nexus of the African Renaissance. We must, we must look to solutions not just for the individual, male or female. Grasp them as if our very life depended upon it, Africa’s very livelihood, the younger folk, that generation has a belief, a mandate, a commission. In time, we will understand that every generation has a mission to fulfil.We need to discover a novel belief in the changes taking place across a broad spectrum in Africa. What we are struggling with are what previous leaders struggled with too. Liberty, our liberties as a socialised, central Africa. An absolute emancipation from oppression. The youth want what the adolescent Mandela wanted when he left the Eastern Cape for Johannesburg. Ask yourself this, was it really freedom, or was it destiny whispering sweet nothings in the first democratically-elected, first president of the majority of this continent. It was like that for all of us. It is like that for this generation.

This generation of future leaders, future visionaries. Visionaries in every field, every area, in every arena.Mentorship. We need mentorship. Strong and dynamic mentorship. Mentors are leaders too. To be an apprentice, to want to be an apprentice in the era of this African Renaissance, but specifically not looking at African storytellers, African artists, photographers, novelists, the canon of African literature. Then there are our African scientists, our African mathematicians, our African administrators’. I say African, because that is our identity at the core of our intrinsic personality, at the heart of our character. We are being, but we are collectively an Africa, not in stasis, but marked for freedom. It will come not only with independence from colonialism, and apartheid, racial discrimination and xenophobia, it will come with our personal freedom. Look, we must understand what it means to be African. Not accept it as a phenomenological we are looking at African visionaries, we are looking at the emancipation of our female leaders.

No longer will they be put away from sight, in a Pandora’s box. Women have a voice that speaks to the millions on this continent. The chapter is just beginning.

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African Renaissance

Letter to genius African poet Beaton Galafa

Abigail George



Dear friend, in the lateness of the afternoon I would like to give you some books as a gift. I think of you in Malawi. Today, it was one of those summer days that seemed to go on forever. Somehow this realization makes me feel quite sad and empty. Sent out three sample chapters today. My first outing as a novelist. Oh, such a perfect day filled with good intentions. I think of xenophobia and poverty, the haves and the have nots, old age that is rooted in poverty, death in cities, the lethargy of particles and atoms and the spaces between them, and how this is not such a good time for me. It is hot weather. I try most of all not to love when I am writing, and to be loved in return. I feel overwhelmed.

 I think of Uzbekhistsni sheep in winter as the season advances upon us. I think of the letters I am leaving behind from the diary of a poet. It is important to keep notebooks. Daylight is fading fast outside. I am Virginia Woolf. I am Jean Rhys. I am Petya Dubarova. I am the twins Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton. In my father’s house I exist in an age of innocence, and live with a quiet courage. In the centre of this wasteland is a fragmented summer filled with decay and sabotage. I think of Christ in the illusion and genius illumination of this world. Standing in this asphalt jungle, while I realise that I have no link to the outside world. I can see the similarities between this world and the universe. The familiar and the unseen going the distance. This was supposed to be a poem about Black Consciousness, the mysteries of my sorrows, constellations beyond the trees, and emptiness. That emotional rollercoaster ride. It will be hours until I sleep. What is prayer, and the search for hope in the middle of a starry night. I search for a common ground in my writing.

Forgiven, but not forgotten. There was a home and a family that belonged to you. You have revealed your true self to me and now I must do the same for you. Coming home from the sea, I make myself a cup of coffee in the kitchen after dropping off archival material at the South End Museum for the perusal of the curator and his secretary. Ice in my veins. Held captive by words and dead poets. Haunted by the genocide in Rwanda, capitalism, imperialism, Botswana, Ghana, Senegal, and Tanzania. The world is burning now. Soldiers are turning into dust. I am a robot. Drinking her coffee, barefoot in jeans with her hair tied back with a scarf that has orange flowers on. I am also a volcano lover, compatriot, and poet swimming in this large cup of tears that I drink from.

This state of despair and unhappiness is organic in nature. To live the winning way I have to write, to become conscietized in this global political climate. These brutal lectures are the harvest of Maya Angelou and Oprah’s friendship. Let this be the beginning of a beautiful friendship between two poets. One from Malawi, and one from South Africa. For to question everything in life is a powerful meditation on this landscape of information, and to question nothing is like saying that poets are both the life, the living dynamics, and the death of what defeats modern society. We are Moses in the wilderness of funeral decay, and there is a kind of grassroots silence in that reckoning with the vivacious rapture of the world, and the human being’s physical body, and emotional, mental and verbal blank slate incomplete and stainless.

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