My Name

by Zhakea

who am i?

    you tried to strip the africa out of me-
but did not realize that our survival was necessary for your existence
    that our existence was necessary for your survival....

you shred my clothing
    and left me naked
and then you gave me some inferior garb
    that exposed my glory

you took away my tongue
    because you realized that it was superior to yours
being that it came before yours,
    you wanted to strip me of that power,
of my right to expression...

then, as if that wasn't enough
    you called me lazy
yet, i worked as a slave in your fields
    you hated my color,
the very color that yielded a golden essence,
    even though you secretly admired it...
you took vacations to toast yourself in the sun for a nicer shade
    not even realizing that you envied ME

you even blended with me
    to try to further strip my color away from me
guess you figured it would do more
    justice if your children possessed the one thing
that made me different...

guess you thought you'd perfect it

all the while you wondered how i could be so proud,
so defiant, and yet so strong
but you couldn't take that from me,
even though you did try

you tried to deny your origins,
    but i did not because i could not.

it was embedded on my being,
in that it was me, and i was it.

You looked at me bewildered
    because I was gaining
despite your plan to take away and
discredit that which i owned or did...
    and you scratched your head because i was gaining,
have gained my identity and memory back.

i identified myself.
i reclaimed my rich heritage
despite the separation

and now after years of placing me into nonhumane, and
nonhuman categories of stereotypes,
you want to know my name....
you did ev me...
which you at one time stole from me...
hoping that i will accept the one that you give me..

yet, now that the tables are turned,
i know who i am..
and my name,
so i respond confidently in my native tongue:

I am Afrikan-

I am Afrikan - Afrikan I am - and though I might not be in Afrika-
Afrika is in me.

My Name by Zhakea

© Copyright 1999. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.

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