Kanimambo Moçambique

I came in full of pretension. There were hundreds of story lines detailing one hundred different expectations about how I should feel, and what I should think. I was instructed by genetic memory and the wisdom of those who thought they knew the dubiety of my motives. See I had only imagined what it was like to cross the Sahel. I had seen papaya and mango trees in photographs but never tasted the fruit which they bear. So I came in full of expectation for a reality I was assured would be sobering, conditions that would surely dampen my resolve and call to question my sanguine enthusiasm for all things Aithiopian. I was cautioned about the undercurrent of animosity for us lost children who abandoned the mother to the predators of this world. I was told how we were not seen as brothers to those who had been left behind. We, being the unwanted step children to unspeakable atrocities of the past. I came in with nostalgic ideas of endless inspiration to reinvigorate the Pan-African sentiment. Expecting pages and pages to be written about the experiences of a lost child who came to find all the answers and all the truths to the present assault upon people of African decent while in the homeland of freedom fighters like Steven and Samora, Mandela and Mondlane.

I came in with expectations. I observed, I talked, and I listened. I took in the surroundings for better and worse. I stared AIDS in the face and witnessed the orphans to be left in its aftermath. I saw progress and poverty, determination and despair, all on the same Chapa as it ran through red lights and busy intersections. I had hours long conversations about the ills of society. For a moment I thought I was discussing the black ghettoes of America until someone commented on the positive and negative impact of Afrikaners on Southern Africa. I listened to the surprise of natives that “Um Americano” would see fit to learn more about their country than many of their own countrymen and the reluctantly stated reality that whether I stay or go they will always have to face the good and the bad of this country. I arrived, I talked, and I listened. I took in my surroundings amongst the pretension, the speculation, the expectations…all the whispers in the background waiting intently for the crestfallen idealist to return to more pragmatic and less audacious ambitions.

I arrived with all of these things weighing on my conscious. I saw the partially clothed children on the streets in the middle of the night, blind women being led down the Avenida to beg for pennies. I saw trash in the streets garbage bins overflowing while motorist carelessly toss fast food containers out of their car windows. Children at mid day raising children in poorly built barrios walking through mosquito infested water logged muddy streets, why aren’t they in school? Women dressed like supermodels standing in queue next to those maimed by landmines or some other misfortune. I saw the deplorable conditions and the looming threats to this emerging African success story. But I also saw the smiles. The beaches packed on the weekends bumper to bumper for miles. No gunshots, no fights, no swarm of police standing by to break up the assembly. The children competing, swimming, racing, practicing martial arts, and playing futbol on makeshift fields. Someone proudly remarked you do not hear of suicide in this country. But I heard the Clubs packed with a rare mix of euro-house, zouk, hip-hop, and afro-latin discography predictably and effortlessly in sync like the ever present passada rhythm. I saw women asserting their position in society, actively participating in the progress of their country trying to fight back the tide of so many destructive developments of the past and present to create a better future. Women taking their place in society, not just running households but running the government. I spoke to those I encountered about my decades old dreams of witnessing the sun rise from the opposite end of the earth and my unrequited love for this place that made me seem so at ease in its surroundings. I listened to intelligent and open minded opinion about what was needed for us to progress the country. The expectations were not experienced, the pretension was not present. There were no awe inspiring epiphanies no volumes of commentary on the struggle just many hopes, many opportunities, many things that need to be done, and one realization: I have returned through the doors from which there was to be no return, and at last my heart is at home.

Hannibal Ad Portas!


Kora (the Precursor)

My heart is just an instrument trying to find a muse
Created from one half calabash one half emotionally abused
My music infused with passion but to cover up the pain,
I cut ten strings so that only those most suited for sounds of struggle and revolution remained
Looking back on the broken strands I am sure each has a story of some sobering reality that frayed its hope
But right now, and for some time I have been unable to play the most maudlin and quixotic sopranic notes

For my soul is just a bass clef trying to find the treble
Conscious of the upper scales but lacking the solitary fortitude to attain those levels
Recounting the futility of those who expected the lachrymose strumming of heartfelt ballads without first divining the wisdom to mend the strings
Is it abject to imagine that one with the prerequisite open heart and healing hands would understand what all this means?
Even while delving in the most melancholy of melodies my composition is incomplete
My faithful, unwavering but unaccompanied ostinato longs for unpredictable and uninhibited biriminting as I search the world for one with proper technique….

Hannibal Ad Portas!



There and Back Again

New Year, new things but it all seems so familiar. The more things change the more they stay the same. It is time for evolution, it is Freedom Time. Time to get free from regret over the past and obsession with the future, from the shackles of being monolinguistic, from those who would devour my time with impedimenta that impair progress, from the stress of helping those who are not ready to be helped the stress of hoping that by leading people to water they will drink, freedom from a reluctance to make decisions that need to be made, from accepting things that should not be tolerated and trying to force things that require more patience and understanding; Lord willing I will have the wisdom to discern the proper medium, freedom from fears of failure and stepping out on your own that make you second guess your dreams. It is time to get free. There will be consequences and repercussions, progress and setbacks... no matter; porque a hora e agora.

Viajando antigas estradas por meios modernos. Divina sabedoria é sempre mais instrutivos do que parece. Não vou escolher vida em cima de amor, não vou sacrificar hoje para aquilo que pode vir a passar. Vou tomar a estrada diante de mim, enquanto ele durar.

Hannibal Ad Portas!




Popular Forms of Tokenism



Ethnic clashes providing back stage passes to acts of genocide and human rights infractions
Our so called benefactors reluctant to take action
As mothers are kidnapped, raped, and enslaved
Their children are left to face conflict, hunger, and AIDS
You would think their American descendants would eradicate this practice
But most are too busy stuffing money under their mattress
Children come into this world seeing exploitation and corruption as the way
It soon becomes pointless to hope for a better day
The odds have been stacked against us for a long time
We sacrificed for our freedom but we still have to scratch and climb
No rhyme or reason to the method of our destruction
The only thing seeming certain is the fact that it’s coming

As more and more people seem to forget about our motherland
Dropping the African to simply be called American
Disparaging thoughts when it comes to our kinfolk
We’ve grown much too comfortable under our master's yoke
Accepted his system to gain favor under his eyes
Been sold on a dream that is filled with so many lies

What happened to freedom and justice for us all?
It’s hard to imagine freedom when you're standing behind a prison wall
But prison is home to tens of thousands of black males
When will we admit that the prison system has failed?
Or is it that the justice system succeeds
By limiting poor people’s chances to achieve

Now critics say poverty, education, and crime
Are the results of black people not towing the line
I say when will you end all the madness that we see?
Correct the brainwashing and colonial mentality
Stop teaching our history from the Imperial point of view
Stop skipping over facts and just teach the truth
Give back the land and the wealth that was stole
Give back our spirit, our religion, our hope, and soul
I am tired of the double talk and broken promise
I am tired of house niggas like Alan Keyes and Clarence Thomas
Token unrighteous non-representative negroes
Propped up and portrayed to be African American Heroes

Hannibal Ad Portas!



Soldiers in the Garden

Dark clouds hanging over my head like it’s going to rain
I was standing with my head held high before the soldiers came
But now I am reintroduced to solitary confinement because of my solidarity with the resisters
My love for justice, my concern for the state of mind of the African in America
Accused of spreading terror while trying to change conditions that are terrible
This confinement seems unbearable, but I have seen the light
I have glimpsed the future and tasted the fruits of my labor
I was baptized in the blood of beaten bodies,
Immersed in the fire of burning crosses, churches and schools set ablaze by the true nature and hate of my oppressors

And then the soldiers came, to take away my last days
Using words like terrorism and justice when they were producing racism and justification
The last time we crossed paths where was the justice, there was only terror
They waged a war against the “Number 1” threat and didn’t think we would stay together
They didn’t know that some of us would stay until the grave

And so the soldiers came, with handcuffs and hearsay
With DNA tests and bulletproof vest
They want to destroy what I helped nurture through the storm
But this struggle has breathed a life of its own
Others will pick up the blood stained banner long after I am gone
As they toil through mountains of coerced testimony and circumstantial evidence
Trying to find the glass slipper while crafting one to fit
Others will pick up the blood stained banner because they know as I have known
We’ve got to fight or we’ve got to die!

Hannibal Ad Portas!