When You Say “Akata”

Akata is a term applied by Africans to Black American, Black British (I don’t even know if that’s a word), Caribbean and other people of African descent, transplanted by slavery to other continents. It often carries derogatory undertones when used.
This contributes negatively to “internal race relations”. As our flesh and blood, albeit separated by centuries of slavery and its evil cousin segregation, we of all people should be most supporting and contribute to helping them heal the community- our community, from the aftermath of such horrendous evils.
This sister, in the words of this poem, has stolen my thoughts, given them a form I could never have imagined and breathed life into them.
It doesn’t get any better than this… and voila, here it is:

FindPalava Woman

When you say “Akata”
You are speaking of a brother
A sister, a child
Mother, father
Kidnapped from home
Raised on far off shores
Chained and beaten
Until hope became a faint glimmer
Until home became a weak whisper
Until humanity tasted bitter.

When you say “Akata”
You are not speaking of yourself
Because you had Africa’s forests
Her mountains, deserts and hills
Her rivers and other waters
To hide in when snow fell in the tropics
You had ancestral breasts to suckle on
Food for that long winter
And grand parents who remembered to teach you
The language of your people.

When you say “Akata”
That the white man used porters
Your own uncles
Willing servants, joyful warders
Who helped them draw the borders
That split your fathers compound into two countries
And made your cousin a stranger
And started the wars that have left you…

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