Following on from my previous article I stumbled across this brilliant piece of writing. I’m not sure the source of its origin and I’m not sure of its author unfortunately – what I am sure of is how perfectly it describes our continent and how brilliant it illustrates why we are drawn to it so deeply, so passionately and why we long for its survival.
What I do know is sitting in a Shanghai office half a world away this is the first real time my heart aches that I cannot be there to withstand the pain and celebrate the victories.
I miss my home as the lump in my throat grows and my eyes fill with tears and this is without doubt the most perfect expression of why . . .
The real Africa is the one they never show you
The real Africa is hidden beneath veneer of poverty and hunger and death; a cancerous mass on the face of the earth that the rest of the world term homogenous “Africa.”
The real Africa is submerged underneath corruption and greed, underneath tyranny and an ostentatious elite, underneath the faces of the people they cannot feed.
The real Africa is buried beneath shanty towns rife with dirt and disease, where children are forced to grow up much too quickly to survive.
The real Africa is concealed under a no-man’s land of desert, bare and dry and unable to sustain green and healthy life. No, that’s not the real Africa.
The Africa I know.
The Africa that is reflected in the warm sunshine that you can feel burning inside you.
The Africa that shines from a warm, spontaneous smile.
The Africa that is at the heart of sky-high mountains and tropical jungle, of golden sand dunes and lush green grassland.
The Africa that is at the heart of different peoples, different languages, different cultures, different identities who all call this land their home.
The land where moyo multi unomera pauno; where roots take hold and don’t let go, solid as the baobab tree that has always been and will always be there, standing steady and solid against the menaces of time.
My Africa is where my heart resides even when I am long gone and far away, where my mind drifts to across the distance of a never-ending ocean.
The real Africa can be smelt the minute you step off a plane onto African soil and feel the air calling you, beckoning you home.
The real Africa is the chaos and the calm that exist side by side as honking cars zoom past on streets that run parallel to cows grazing peacefully in a field.
This is the real Africa, the one they never show. This is the place I call home.
If you a really brave, listen to this an read it again! I cant because I have a good few Chinese people coming into my office and asking if everything is ok? They wont get it even after much explanation!