Shall I tell you of the monkeys and zebra? Which I (and most Africans) have only seen on TV? Perhaps I should tell you of the mud huts and trees which everyone believes we live in, but that would be injustice to my water and electricity bills.
Maybe I should tell you of dirty children with swollen stomaches, mouths covered by flies but that wouldn’t be fair to the ones watching cartoons and quibbling over ice-cream, playing video games on second hand phones.
Aha! I will tell you about the bushes! Dense forest and sprawling jungles, But my grandmother’s farms have made way for the highway and our forests have been felled for estates. All my life I have lived in the city, I couldn’t tell an Iroko tree from a Baobab. I eat cornflakes, bread and pancakes. I have never learned the making of my traditional foods: Asa iwa, ato mboro, atong.
I long to tell you about Africa’s rivers the Nile, Niger and Limpopo. Her ever clement weather, summer all year round! But even I have only seen these rivers in Geography textbooks and National Geographic documentaries. And the deserts freeze as fast as the snow topped plateaus.
One thing I can tell you about Africa is that she has the most amazing people. People strong despite their troubles, cheerful in the midst affliction, resilient in storm.
In Africa people carry each other. People sing each other’s song. And we dance whenever we can, to the beat of a timeless gong. We brave all odds. We laugh in the face of Death. We are magic, miracle and everything in between.
Africa is her people and her people are her. Ancient as the sea, strong as the mountains, that is what I can tell you of Africa, the rest you must touch, taste and see.