It’s 2007. The economy of Zimbabwe has truly fallen apart. The government assures its people that the way forward is to slash zeros off a currency that has hit billions in single note denominations.
The African within endured.
It’s 2008. Zimbabwe’s economic turmoil is now coupled with political unrest. People are tired, companies are dying and food is hard to come by.
The African within had hope.
When food became scarce my mother, like many Zimbabweans, had us plant a field of maize in our back yard. We toiled, blisters and all, and eventually reaped enough to keep us going despite the shortages. We raised and sold chickens, we planted onions and cabbages; all the while my mother would rise early and be off to work because even then, my mother was beyond mortal.
My older brother, after finishing high school sent applications all around the world and got accepted to study at a great American University. He had a simple choice, go and thus make it nigh impossible for me, his little brother, to get a good education, or stay and help my mother raise money for my education. He stayed; even then, my brother was beyond mortal.
Africa is great and bountiful, yet for the African, it seems parched and unforgiving. The royalty we feel in our hearts is not seen in our livelihoods.
Many of the Africans who will read this shall relate to having their families sacrifice for them whilst their nations let them down. They bore witness to the Kings and Queens in their lives laying down their crowns to pave a path for them. They know of the fire that rages within the heart of the African youth; a fire stoked by passion and determination. We hold a unique responsibility as a generation filled with endurance tempered in turmoil, intelligence tested by scarcity and strength born of cruel fates. We are hope filled pioneers and mavericks created by pain and yet striving to create prosperity. We will not stop and we will not tire. We are scarred enough to know the pain of old and hopeful enough to strive to see better days.
The modern-day African youth is far more than a starry eyed aspirant; we are living hope.
Though faced with massive obstacles and hinderances, the African within remains calm. Calm in the face of calamity, calm in the face of certain doom. We know desolation, we know oppression, we know pain; they are old friends. Friends that we no longer fear. We are a people that looked into the darkness and walked in with no guarantee of light. A people made up of hardened survivors capable of squeezing precious life-giving nectar from the rocks of economic and political instability.
If you feel like giving up, if the load is heavy and you can’t see a way out, remember the African in you.
Africans endure. Africans fight. Africans hope.
Embrace this, and the African within will never die.