Scattering ashes Part 3 -Liberation

He sits on a uv protected, grey imitation wicker couch watching a pair of crows teasing the dog. He enjoys the vulgar cawing of crows. They have an arrogant defiance that is refreshing. He lights a cigarette from the government legislated no-brand pack, looks at the photograph of a disease ridden mouth with lips stretched away to reveal 12 decayed, brown and black stained teeth. Beneath this in black outlined white text: MALE SMOKER AGED 50. He, the man on the couch, is 49. In Africa we feared bullets and knives, here they fear everything. He transfers the cigarettes to his metal cigarette case. The lid of the case has an Andy Warhol inspired design of Che Guevera. What will our revolution look like 100 years from now? Was it my revolution as well? Does the experience of it transfer ownership of it? he thinks. He recalls a conversation with a student shortly before he left. When asked where he came from he had replied that he was African. His student indignantly told him he was not, only Black people are African, you are European! she said.
I was born here, of course I’m African he replied.
Now all the Whities are proudly African. Were you African twenty years ago? she laughed.
It was a defining moment. Teaching post-revolution was beautiful. Racially mixed classrooms were an exciting privilege, something he had always dreamed of was now real. Debate was vigorous and encouraged. Never again shall we not speak to one another, he told them. They gave him hope that everything would be alright, despite the crime, despite the resistance from a generation of racists, black and white. But maybe we have more to answer for, he thought. Maybe the past is not healed with just the declaration of freedom. Maybe anger is rooted deeper? Maybe hurt must burn through everyone who was there first? Maybe it must burn out like a winter fire to prepare for fresh growth? Maybe this is not my narrative, the one we hi-jacked. Maybe it is our turn to be silent, to let go. Perhaps, because our forefathers stole what was not theirs, our duty is to give it all back. Three and a half centuries of colonial rule had to go, it was right that it go. A symbolic retreat, to go away. He should leave. Seed a new place where everyone is of migrant stock. Find a continent where the residue of Imperialism reside. A place where the ownership of narrative is not claimed, where I can speak legitimately? But, there is no such place on this earth. I am a citizen of a world not yet discovered. Here, there is an older narrative but the people to whom it belongs are broken and tired. Those who talk have done well to safeguard their authority; authorship with a home-grown brand of fear: action without legislated approval. He lights a legislated cigarette and opens the door for the shire inspector who here to check that his pool is safe according to legislation.


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