The War We Won (on Overcoming Corona)

By Rogers Wanambwa & Josephine Amoako

It was an exciting Christmas we had
All excited, young, old, lazy and diligent alike
Thrilled to see what the new dawn had for us all

With well wishes going all around
And church folk praying fervently into the year
We all didn’t see it coming
That instead of remaking resolutions
We should be girding our loins
For the hardest fight for survival our generation has ever seen

For the first time since humankind proudly called itself a global village
Countries had to shut its borders from one another
Seeing each other as risk factors instead of friendly neighbors
Natives of the country of origin of the deadly virus facing discrimination globally
It was a shame
Revealing the worst of us in a time which demanded the most love from everyone

Fighting against an unseen enemy
Many perished, rendering children orphans and parents childless
And those who narrowly survived, returning home weakened from the fierce fight
Then having to face scared friends and relatives reluctant to come close
Telling their children to keep their distance, condemning them to the prison walls of their rooms

As the days stretched into weeks and months
Humankind remembered the power of love in keeping us strong against any enemy
People shed their fear off and volunteered to help the vulnerable in need of it
The hungry were fed and the sick taken care of
With God’s mercy and man’s faith, people faced death and conquered it

Knowingly or unknowingly, most of us have fought this enemy
And survived it without breaking a sweat
Through it all, one great lesson we’ve all learned:
What affects one, affects all
What concerns one, matters to us all

As we slowly close this chapter of fear, death and recession
Let’s look forward with hope that tomorrow will get better
Whether we’d ever get back to the way things used to be
Or accept the new normal as our reality moving forward
We will love and accept one another with our unique differences
And come what may, we’ll stand and fight together: as one people

We will tell tales of this terror that was Coronavirus year
Our grandchildren will be riveted by the weavings of tales
The ones we will come up with to keep them entertained
Of how even the leader of the greatest Democracy caught it
Even though just a months back, he had called it a hoax

But most importantly,
We will tell them that what humankind has to learn
Is that when we come together, great things happen
Even battles are won
We will tell them of this war too
The war we won.

Done with corona (nearly), onto the next!

Josephine is a prolific writer whose work resides here.

What it Means to be African?

Photo of children from different African heritage from the Internet.

By Rogers Wanambwa & Lisa Romans Awori

An African can simply be defined as one who is of African descent. African descent here meaning one who has roots from the continent of Africa. From my research, I have come to realize that in fact almost everyone on Earth has a root from Africa.

This then means that that is basically not enough to define who an African is. So again, the question remains, “what does it mean to be African?”

Is being black an African? Or is it living on the continent Africa? Is it having African genes? Is it knowing how to dance? 😊

Is it someone born to African parents? Or is it a thing of choice, like being a vegan. Can one wake up and decide they’re African just because they’ve stayed in the continent long enough? And how long does one have to live here for one to belong here?

This question seems easy if you don’t over think it. We would have to start by establishing who an African is. Let us expound on that in this article because to be honest, isn’t being an African all those things and more?

Being African means at some point, you or your ancestor lives or lived on the African continent, and that in fact, you have African blood flowing in you. But then again, we have already seen that almost everyone actually has some of that.

Let’s just say an African is someone with an African descent, or they have roots in Africa. It doesn’t matter where the shoot is, as long as the roots are in Africa, they’re African.

It is our colour. And here I do not mean the “black” colour that has so dearly been attached to our backs. After all, our cousins in the North are as it is, brown. But my neighbour’s children are whites (he and his wife being from Europe) and they were born here in Uganda so really, they too are Ugandans, and by default, Africans.

So skin colour alone, again does not define us.

Therefore, it is the instinctual uniqueness of an African being that defines us. It is our sounds, our music, our stories, our past, that really defines us.

We are defined by our culture, that bright, authentic culture that we value so much. And it is as diverse as they come. Our tribes contribute alot to that, but they do contribute to other things I dare say have not been a source of pride to us.

May I ask, who doesn’t have those stories though? But we are more than this too.

As Africans, we’re known for our love of celebrations; i.e we like to party. We celebrate birth, marriage, circumcision, the start of the rainy season, harvests, death, etc. Our partying comes with a lot of singing and dancing, especially dancing. Because we dance often, we’re expected to have rhythm, to know how to groove; so, am I not African enough if when the music comes on, my waist doesn’t move how the music demands it should?

What about visitors? Am I supposed to ululate and throw my hands in the air when they show up unannounced (and empty handed) because “we” Africans love visitors?

And the women; what makes them African? Is it their ability to cook and clean or the shape of their bodies? When it comes to hair; do wigs and weaves make them any less African?

What kind of African man can’t provide for his family? What kind of African man cries when he’s hurt? What kind of African man gets hurt? Which type of African man touches a broom?

What breed of African man does nothing when his wife talks back at him? What kind of African parent listens to their child?

These too, only, are not what being African is all about. There’s more to us.

Our smiles and jolly mood define us. We are a welcoming people, and maybe that sometimes hasn’t worked in our favour? Still, we welcome everyone to our embraces, laughing and dancing. Again, the music that defines us.

We are a hardworking people. Our toils feed the world. Our food is on every continent on this Earth as testament to that.

A people are often defined by how they do things. As such, being African would mean to do things the African way but it’s laughable some of the things we’ve been taught about being African. Things that are easy to believe because our ancestors did them and it seemed to work for them; but we can’t put new wine in old skins.

This is not to say every one of the African ways is archaic or barbaric. There’s immense beauty in our diverse languages, customs and traditions.

Even still, Africa is about love, joy, hope, frustration, ambition, and community. It is all these that make us who we are. It is the joy in seeing the brightness of the sun, in seeing the Nile and Mediterranean sea, and in seeing the Pacific and the Indian Ocean too.

It is the hope that in everything we are going through, we are still going to win. Africans are a resilient people. Through our frustrations we sing, our ambitious nature never dying.

Even after hundreds of years of slavery, our children are thriving in the Americas and Europe.

Education and progress begun here, just near here in Egypt. We are a hungry people for knowledge and that is why we are welcoming (even if this has been used against us sometimes).

But we are a modern people too. We have embraced all technology as it comes. Catching up with the rest of the world and even innovating too.

We are Africans and we a proud people.

Lisa is a meticulous writer with a top notch for perfection that makes her a rare gem. Her incredible work can be found residing here.

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