WORDS| Black James Bond

I find fault in the use of ‘African’ as a prefix to words like Alchemist, or Boy, or King. I understand our current predicament. I understand that calling oneself an alchemist only arouses the image of a bearded old man – a white man. Our history was white-washed and our mindsets enslaved by nursery rhymes. It is our identity that was chained and taken away on dhows to the lands we once conquered. We were forced to return as servants. Our gold ornaments hidden away in vaults, our hair called shaggy, our beards trimmed to please the “Suh”.

Now we know nothing. Winter came and left us all following the lead of the White Walkers, forgetting that we were indeed the first men. We were the first alchemists and warriors.

I shouldn’t go too far into that. Your bleached mind won’t accept the truth. Our world, a world that was once so colorful has become a playground – an unfair one – where white is simply better and black is the underdog. “Don’t expect too much from them. They’re just primitive, mud-slinging, war-loving idiots. Well, those in the main-land. Those in the land of the free are drug dealers, or rappers, or convicts (usually two or all three at a time). The rest are sell-outs. They escaped the block and now they can never come back. They’re one of ‘them’. They play for the white man’s team. They act on his TV and they work hard to receive his accolades and acceptance.”

It is impossible today to comprehend Santa Claus to be a black man, let alone to imagine James Bond to have any melanin. I mean, okay, one man who has a bunch of flying donkeys attached to a mkokoteni may not be able to deliver a bunch of gifts to all of Africa’s good children – probably because the majority of homes do not have chimneys (Yeah! That’s why). African children with flies on their faces just need your aid, right?

If anything, John Rambo is a character based on a black man. With all his pain and passion, with muscles almost tearing his skin … come on. Let me not start on Arnold “I’ll be back” Schwarzenegger. His name has nigger in it, damn it! These characters, their love for family and the general concern for mankind in general wouldn’t fit the traits of the supremists. Just think about it. Why would a white man risk his life to save anyone? Aren’t they the villains exploiting children? Aren’t they the ones mining ore from Africa to destroy the world with nuclear weapons? (We’re talking averages people. Don’t get those panties knotted).

You want to talk about brotherhood? You want to talk collectivism? You want to talk warriors? You know where to look. King Shaka. Dedan Kimathi. Emperor Haile Selassie.

Why don’t we have hundreds of books and movies about Dedan Kimathi? Why can’t we picture a black man yelling, “Fuck off!” to imperialism? All we have is the celebrated image of our liberator lying down – chained and thin. His dreadlocks – his glory – all that remain as an indication of the commander that fought bravely. Where are the creatives who will tell the story right? Where are the men and women who will scurry out of bed in a moment of clarity, hurrying to depict the men and women who saved our world from the ‘enemies from the north’? They rush because the pictures are so vivid that they force themselves out of your mind. They hurry because they need to ensure that the clarity of the image isn’t lost. They hurry to paint us in our glory, not in our shame.

I hurry to paint this canvas for you. I stand to say, “No, Mr. Idris Elba, you are greater than the role of a man with two zeros and and seven. You are the image of our kings who fought bravely, even when we were attacked with guns or chemicals. We stand behind you, well, I do.”

Why is our Mau Mau referred to as a “struggle”? Think about it. It may well be another subtle nudge; a gentle encroachment into your mental, a whisper of your inferiority. Take note.

We aren’t a people who are concerned only about money, music labels and spicy chicken. WE ARE AN EMPIRE; a real empire, a people chosen by God, a blessed people, a happy people. We are simple, we are smooth, we are strong, and we are healthy. We are the light of this world.

But this is fading away, and it is fading away fast. We are being poisoned. We are being smoked out of our dwellings. We continue to fight against ourselves. We are becoming individualists. We are losing touch of what makes us Africans. We are taking up the definitions of the world.

African, I say, not Afri-cannot.

We have taken up the white man’s lack of culture and made it our own. Shame on us for selling our souls. Shame on us for turning each other away. Shame on us for fighting. Shame on us for killing and maiming each other. Shame on us for the amnesia we have. Shame on us for forgetting our values. Shame on us for opening up our hands to donations that indebt us to evil. Shame on us for needing white observers to tell us that we have fair elections. Shame on us for watching the news as we eat our supper, okay with the slums burning, okay with drunk driving, and deaths in the thousands caused by it. Shame on you for accepting corruption – for proving that your mind is indeed inferior. Shame on you for impunity. Shame on you for each time you asked, “Do you know who I am?” trying to get yourself out of trouble.

Shame on all of us for losing the battle, for losing our minds chasing all the things you were told were better.

Where will we draw the line? When they kill our Kings? When they gracefully aid us into debt and disease? When they take our oil and gold and sell it back to us? When they brainwash our people? When they fund uprisings and leaders on opposite sides so that we need them to bring us peace?

How can we escape this? How will we rise from the dirt? Who will save us? Definitely not James Bond, no, they won’t let us have that – a concept.

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