[Poem] What of the Morning, O Africa? (By Francis Kintu)

Posted: October 22, 2011 in Uncategorized

Consult the Agbala oracle at Awka
Inquire from the ancient books of Axum
Earnestly ask,
When will Africa taste of the sweet juice
Of good governance
Distilled from the machinery of
Institutions that work?

Go forth,
Seek out the solitary Wolof griot
Sitting cross-legged
In a solitary street in Bamako;
Ask him when the night of kleptocracy will cease
That has ruined many an African state
Cranked out by the well-oiled machinery
Of corruption
In the high places of government..

The rainmakers of the savannah
Sitting under the thorn trees
Of the dry foothills of Western Kenya;
Let them rattle the cowrie shells in their gourds
And burn incense to their ancestors
Earnestly ask of them
When will the rain of prosperity fall?
That will end the grinding cycle of poverty
That still haunts Africa…

I will I seek out a shining star in the sky
As a symbol of Afro-optimism,
Seek out a dying meteor
As a symbol of Afro-pessimism
That lit brilliantly after independence
And suddenly fizzled out…

Maybe I should I sully forth
To the swamps
Where quicksand abounds,
And see it as a potent symbol
Of governance gone bad
With many a state
Hopelessly trapped
And still sinking!

Ask the seers of Kibeho,
When that peasant in the makeshift house
Of iron sheet and paper in the slums of Kibera
And that bleary- eyed youngster
With a protruding pot belly in Somalia,
Wracked by the pangs of hunger
When they will stop eating the bitter fruits
Of bad governance…

Ask the group of International Elders,
Why the African child
Has not been weaned
From suckling
The breasts of foreign aid;
Always wandering
With the cup of dependence in hand
Whining and begging for help…

O Africa, tell me:
What of the morning?
What of the future?
My heart is not at ease!


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