The majesty of Africa is often shrouded by poverty, corruption and greed. It’s an image that Africa can’t seem to shake, but it certainly isn’t the only way we as Africans define this incredible continent. In a poem written by Trishula Patel titled “The Real Africa,” the talented Zimbabwean journalist perfectly encapsulates what it means to experience Africa as a native.
Tropical jungles, golden dunes and lush green grasslands juxtapose with honking horns and skyscrapers; Africa is a beautifully diverse melting pot. According to Good Things Guy, the poem was originally written in 2014, but it has once again gone viral in South Africa thanks to the celebration of World Africa Day on Wednesday.
The Real Africa
The real Africa is the one they never show you.
The real Africa is hidden beneath a 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 brought up too quickly to survive. The real Africa is under a nomad’s desert, bare and dry, unable to sustain a 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 of you. The Africa that shines from a warm, spontaneous smile. The Africa 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 people, different languages, different cultures, different identities who all call this land their home.
The land where moyo muti 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.
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