Human Souls on Fire
I am political to the extent of Ghana and Africa coming to a point where we ourselves have defined and owned our destinies. Our continent has been a harlot on the international scene, sold by politicians to the highest bidder without consulting the men and women who work daily to put food on the table for their families: the people to whom this continent belongs. Sold for cheap, for a night fling, raped of gold, oil and its people. Why are we so rich and yet so poor?
I was not allowed to read this poem on radio because it is too political. Nobody wants to be the one who used his platform to broadcast the dissatisfaction of the generation that is snapping at the heels of the older generation, chasing out their corrupt, visionless behinds before they ruin Africa further. All over the continent, there is an angry generation that is demanding better, willing to do better, just finding a way to kick the wasteful generation out and drive a rich continent to destiny – in Ghana, in Nigeria, in Kenya, in Senegal, in South Africa, in Zimbabwe, in Uganda, in Malawi, in Namibia, in Sudan, in Somalia, in Cameroon, in Egypt, in Tunisia, in Libya, from the Sahara to the Cape, from the Horn to the source of the Niger. I submitted this as one of my poems for the Brunel University African Poetry Prize which shortlist was released this week. This is for every African child with revolution in their heart.
You are not a genius for speaking five languages
For knowing the difference between bueno and buono
When we voted for you, it was not for how wide your mouth twists
As you speak your many languages
That job is for linguists
And even the little boy who serves at the village school
We only required you to speak one language
To know the difference between hunger and a full belly.
To learn very well the spelling of corruption
And teach it to your men with you
Spelling it every morning,
Like we sing the national anthem.
We only required you to speak
the language of our collective wellbeing
And as we listen now, your accent sucks
And your tenses and grammar
Are better not immortalized in our poetry.