On The African Student…
I have often wondered
Whether I should concede my identity to the mores of the Ivory Tower
Whether I should let the snob define who I am,
And whether I should, in the midst of this madness,
Let my African-ness speak less,
Than this mess that erased,
Our people’s capacity to criticize, be amazed, and to create
They say I am a student;
An African, I am an African student,
As a clueless amusement I must be prudent
But who is the African Student?
What is the definition of the African Student?
Is it a student born in Africa?
A black student,
One who knows the embrace of our motherland?
Is it, I have to ask, the one who knows the hum of the African drum,
And is attune
With the swoons of the full moon,
Those cloudless nights of endless joy
That inspired our people to war, to work, and to worship?
Or is the African student one who simply studies Africa?
Regardless of whom they are,
Where they live,
What race they are assigned,
Or what political convictions they possess?
Is it one who is well versed,
With the intrigues of the vastness South of the Sahara,
And can name the countless countries including South Sudan and Somaliland?
Or is it,
Regardless of all these,
A human being who simply chooses to be referred to as the African student?
Is it the student-ness or is it the African-ness that is the mess?
Because who is an African but a human being?
And who is a human being but an African?
But perhaps we need not be engrossed
With the grandiose, morose, great gross,
That’s the noise of who the African Student is
Because this poem,
Unlike many others,
About the African Student