© Sonia Boyce, ‘She Aint Holding Them Up, She’s Holding On (Some English Rose)’, 1986, conte pastel and crayon on paper

Fables aren’t hurled at us like missiles, or dumped on us like a rock plummeting into the deep sea, violently, forcefully and without a choice. At least not to me. They float into our lives like a distinctively haunting Aria. Or like an Orchestra that either takes us to a distant place or breathes life into dead histories creating the fundamental We. Vibrating like Falsetto sounds, they bounce off our souls, reverberating and sending different sensations to our hearts and minds. These words fall on our tongues and from our lips the stories begin.

Instinctively the words that proceed hence forth bind themselves around us, our children and those who follow thereafter. Thus we are defined. And now we speak not of their gods but Ours. Our rights, our wrongs, our own truths, our world. We disperse the rectifications of our histories, earlier told in prejudice but now spoken in different tongues. Tongues of colour, connectedness and wholeness. We cannot, for the sake of posterity, nurse complacency on the bitter tits of oppression or gag on stereotypes stuffed down our throats over the years.

We don’t wait for so called ‘dawnings, light or new mornings’, we tell our tales in the night, under the dark wonderful balmy sky. In a sing-songy voice we push against the nefarious bellowing of those who don’t know us and never cared to. And what our words can’t describe our laughter carries home, to the soul. Right to the soul. Our tears are not hollow, they ring like wind chymes. Perhaps more like the sound of Yaa-asantewaa’s anklets as she storms off to lead her handfuls into battle, covered only in courage and passion for her people. Trickle, trickle, the sound of young Akai as she pours basin water to bathe her little ones just beside the Nile. Tap,Tap on the worn wooden floors, worn from our ballet to the jazzy tunes which tapered off with the Wandindi.

We watch for signs in the evening sky, in the familiarness of the colour purple. In the comfort that this story has been told before countless times, we cradle our secrets and revelations pieced together. We know now that Wangu wa Makeri wasn’t a philandering dictator with a loud mouth but a strong warrior, a mother and perhaps a lover. We cradle similar anecdotes in our laboured arms and carefully hand them over across culture, and beyond what we see. Our prayers transition in our ideologies to manifest our own magic. Restoration then plays out in our knowing smiles and the tapestry of our conversations, for many tommorrows, never-ending.

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