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By Phillippa Yaa de Villiers


Friday, June 6, 2008.


My ancestors were fishermen and fishwives,
on my father’s side
loud-mouthed, big-bottomed Ghanaians.

When I asked my father about our culture,
I wanted to know
the beats that would lead my feet
in the ways of our people and he said:
culture? Well, your grandfather played the violin
and the harpsichord.

When I asked my father about the habitual rituals
that take us closer to the gods
of our people,
he said
rituals? Well, there were always festivals,
harvest festivals…
but we never went there

When I asked my father
why why why did they let go of
all that rich history that Afrika gave us?

He said:
my dear
we are Africans.
Anyone looking at us can see how black we are,
why do we have to be going on and on about it?
Like Kwame Nkhrumah
I am freedom’s child
and my pride
is in every molecule of my being.
I am not oppressed.
Why sing that song when I have broken those chains
and stand before you as a free man?

He’s deep, my father.
Maybe deep
in denial.
But maybe
Afrika is dreaming
like the world is dreaming,
and Afrika is bluesing
like the world is bluesing,
and it’s beautiful
live as a runaway chicken,
as a newborn goat trying out its new knees,
Afrika is the whole world’s starving child
and the universe’s wise grandmother,
Afrikans are dressing up in fantasies
and walking out of the villages and into
the cities and out of the cities
and back to the villages, via the
cave and the beach and the mountain
and the moon.

There is no limit.
There is no boundary.


© Phillippa Yaa de Villiers


Phillippa Yaa de Villiers is a South African writer, performer, and poet living in Johannesburg. She studied journalism in South Africa and theatre in Paris and then returned to academia in the late 1990s, consolidating her passions for writing and performance with a degree in dramatic arts. She writes for a television series in South Africa. She blogs at Poet Afrika.


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