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Published February 4, 2018

First Place: Africa Poetry Contest #1
Top Africa Poet: Africa Poetry Contest #1

Am I Not an African?

by Ekomobong Monday Ekpenyong
(Akwa Ibom, Nigeria)

Am I Not an African?

by Ekomobong Monday Ekpenyong

I have made civilizations
but the glory goes to foreigners
who call themselves discoverers,
discoverers of these same rivers,
lands, and mountains I have walked.
They tell my story in their words,
retelling my history to their relish.
I stay in blinding anger
and enchantment
as my life is remade before me,
into an effigy of European gods.

And I ask
Am I not an African?

Am I not an African
Whose Gods were dismissed as demons,
Who was given a god with a white skin
and blonde hair,
and gnawing names.
Am I not an African
Who was told that I come not
From Abasi Enyong but
birthed after some monkeys
from some man's theories.

Am I not an African
Who received a twisting book
For my land of palms,
Am I not an African
Who survived the stench
Of the middle passage,
Linked by metal chains
Like a bull with plough.

Am I not an African
who was separated from my brothers,
made to work with whips as wages
and lashes for incentives,
Made to change my name,
made to forget Mama Africa;
made to watch my children
ripped from my arms–
turned out like lambs after weaning.
I have been made to watch my sisters
bear the pains of their unripe cherries–
being ripped off the tress of succulence
without mercy,
as they thrust in and out
like mortar to a pestle,
pounding and scalding them.

Am I not an African
whose skin has been sneered at,
given a label from human
to being black.
The blackness which I answer with pride.
Am I not an African
Whose sense of beauty has been defined as
Fair skin like that of a piglet,
which I would get from lotions
that burn the skin;
Straight silky hair revamped
by burning chemicals,
smelling like ash from burnt offering
devoid of all traces of my
woolly afro.

Am I not an African
Whose wrappers and native wears
Is looked at with disdain
by my people,
who have come to love
denims and suits
that defy the law of my
territorial weather,
making me look like a scarecrow
filled with intense perspiration.

Am I not an African
Whose language has been
tossed like cow dung
my kinsmen call me primitive
for daring to speaking it.
Am I not an African
Who struggles to grasp
The loops and holes
Of a foreign tongue
While mine rots,
I let my seeds bear clueless names
without an iota of sense,

Am I not an African
Whose heart is at home
but whose body wanders
in foreign soils,
in my home, safety
is but an illusion,
our ambassadors
rip us bare
with their kleptomaniac fingers
and feed us honey coated words,
on swallowing we discover
it is nothing but bilious liquor.
The poor masses sow
in arid fields,
stripped bare by the
six-piece suit pawners,
glorying in their castles of fraud.

Am I not an African
Whose people have been
Locked with chains of religion
their minds awash in
fanaticism and extremism,
drifting with opium.

Am I not an African
Who has lived and unlived these years.
Let the unknown years come
They will take nothing from me.
after I leave this war zone
I will say that all is still in
the rain forest.
The birds chip and the
jungle glows in the rising sun.
I shall just breathe
And live, and forgive
And sing songs
from the past,
songs of Mama Africa
I will pay homage to her
In the radiance of her dark blood
And hips of greenery
and under the watch of
her beaming amber eyes
from folds of velvety cumulus,
Whilst I dance by the fire.

Ekomobong Monday Ekpenyong is my name. I am female and 18 years of
age. I am Nigerian and an undergraduate of the University of Uyo, studying
Communication Arts. I love writing and when I am not writing, I am
grooming my Afro hair.
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