Sincerely, Sis.

I will never know what it’s like to have an older sister. Not even a cousin I can introduce to my friends as my big sis because I’m the oldest of the cousins. It sucked to be me then. For the longest time, during my kindered years, I envied having one. I was 6 when my brother was born but still that yearning remained unquenched. We played together but it was different because we had different toys. I had barbie dolls and he had monster trucks and even though sometimes I’d share what was mine, he’d detach their heads from their bodies and that’d make me hide them away from him. I knew I loved my brother but I just wanted a sister – someone like me. A girl. Someone to call sis. Someone to share my dolls with. There was just something I knew was missing and 6 years later she was born.

I remember when she was brought home. I was 12. She was swaddled in a yellow blanket with Winnie the Pooh animations on it. I have vivid details of the blanket because my sister was attached to it up until her primary school years. Had my mother not given it away, she’d still be wrapping it around her tiny self and press her nose against its mink coat and savor the Sta-soft smell. I don’t know what it is with babies and blankets but there’s a bond that exists between them that can potentially last a life time if it’s tolerated.

We eventually stopped dealing with the blanket but there was one habit of hers which was of great annoyance. That habit was sucking two of her fingers- the index and the middle.

The day she was born, everything about her was pink. Starting from her cheeks, her strawberry shaped lips, her tiny nose which was like a button and her dainty hands. She fixed two of her fingers together and searched for her lips until finally she figured out how to insert them in her mouth and sucked away. I thought it was cute and clever but one day she started pre school and teachers complained that she was lagging behind because she was sucking instead of writing. She was always last to hand in her work also. I thought it was funny and cute, but my poor parents had such a hard time putting an end to it. I think when my sister was in grade 4, she felt too too old for her habit and told herself it was time to stop.

I look back now and I wonder where the time has gone. We are dealing with new things now like Nike and Adidas sneakers because Fila is wack and she has never heard of Air Force 1s. She thinks I’m really boring because I can’t differentiate between Xxxtentacion, Lil Pump, Lil Uzi Vert and Kodak Black. To me they sound the same so I don’t get a seat at her cool kids table. I’d ruin her social status if I even mistook them for each other in front her friends. “You’re so embarrassing,” she’d say. And I’d do it again on purpose to give them something to laugh about. I make sure I record the BET, MTV and Billboard Awards for her while she’s away in boarding school so that when she’s back home she doesn’t feel left out.

Sometimes we fight and when she’s wrong she makes sure to say sorry to me. That’s one of the things I really really admire about my sister because she doesn’t shy away from expressing herself. As the older one, apologizing is something I’ve actually learned from her. You know there is this sense of entitlement we have as older siblings, that the ones after us owe us the respect and not vice versa. She taught me that respect is mutual regardless the age.

She also taught me that friendship is ageless. There is a twelve year gap between us so we didn’t get to share barbie dolls, but I had and still have the responsibility of styling her hair, picking and matching her clothes, taking her to movies and advising her about the correct company. My sister is my friend. For the time being we are not exactly BFFs because she’s a teenager and she has become a little bit withdrawn from me, but she’s my friend. We have the longest conversations about everything and anything yet we also embrace moments of silence and tension. Friends have such moments. We also ask each other meaningful and silly questions and laugh at each other’s answers, or ponder on their meanings.

There is a humbling feeling that overtakes me when we open up to each other because there is trust. I never had anybody to ask the confusing questions about my body or why I felt silly towards a certain boy.

Of all the things, my biggest wish is that I’m a great big sister.

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Colourless

Dead Jewish bodies littered everywhere on the ground. Little boys and girls left on the streets to starve. Their parents left destitute or worse,
sent to the gas chambers to die. The more he killed them, the more more he hated them and so he sought annihilation of all Jewish people. He became an extreme anti- semite, killing approximately 6 million Jews.

Was Hitler born hating Jews? Are there people that are born hating others just because of their skin color? Nope, of course not! Like
Hitler, they are brought up in systems that practice racial discrimination and segregation. When Caucasians first came to Africa, I imagine
they were astounded and disgusted to see dark skin. I’m pretty sure “black” was initially a derogatory term they used in reference to Africans, because black is nothing good. I imagine a system that set a racial hierarchy of
which Caucasians were at the top and black people at the very bottom. They were horrible towards black people, passed profane remarks and invented words such as nigger, colored and
kiffir, which are now ethnic slurs that are considered very offensive.

Regarding black people as less human sparked black slave trade
because you’d only enslave someone you considered a nonentity.
A darker pigment than theirs irked Caucasians, it made them uneasy and so they decided
oppression was the best course of action. They thought they could imprison the mind of the
black man. They thought they could rid the world of it, but the very people they tried to disempower rose above all the ill treatment and begun a revolution.

The likes of Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King Jr and Nelson Mandela fought imperialism, apartheid and racial segregation in order to liberate the entire black race from oppression by the white man.

Skin is just skin, whether black,
white, red, yellow or tan.
Racism reminds me so much of George Orwell’s
book ‘Animal Farm’, in which pigs thought highly of themselves and so they lived in the house while the other animals lived outside. Even
though it is not the moral of the story, I see some likeness with racism in the fact that we’re all human beings, yet other races see themselves to be superiors. Stigmatization that
is is based on mere characteristics such as skin color should be done away with because we are the same on the inside. No one’s insides are
painted differently.

The legendary Lucky Dube once sung: one people, different colors!

Going Nowhere

“I’m not like you,” I say.

“How?” you ask.

“You’re expressive,” I reply. You don’t understand so I proceed to make things clear.

“Last night I nearly died in my sleep.”

“But how do you know if you weren’t awake. That can’t be possible.” You disagree.

“See. You just disagreed with me. You expressed your doubt.”

You chuckle, I laugh then silence befalls us and we savor the awkwardness.

“As you were,” you say while kicking a pebble out of your way.

“Oh yeah. I had a blocked nose so I didn’t take in enough air. My breaths were short. I almost died. I’m telling you. Believe me.”

“I do.”

“I’m not convinced.” I say. You take my danty little hands and cup them into yours. You look me in the eye and tell me that I’m going off topic.

“How?” I ask. You say nothing. I’m frustrated. It’s frustrating. You do this all the time. I bite my lower lip a bit too hard. The pain rushes to the very last of my nerves reminding me that I have a heart and it works.

“I almost died last night. I’m telling you.. I’m telling you this now because I love you.” You say nothing. The words bounce back and echo. My mouth is dry but my tongue has more to say.

“I’d have died without you ever knowing that. I love you.”

“I know,” you reply. No I love you too. I’m hurt but I fight the tears with an off topic dry joke.

“What did the cow say when he crossed the road?”

“I don’t know.”

“Me neither.” We laugh even though it’s not funny.

You don’t love me and it’s not funny. I’m nuts for thinking you’d reciprocate the feeling. The reality then dawns on me and I turn on my heel. You shouldn’t see the tears welling up on my face. I run for the bus across the road.

“Where you going?” you ask. As if you don’t know.

“Nowhere,” I say.

Drowning

Image Source : Beaton

You gave me a reason to breathe, to fight, to laugh, to exist. But what do I do now with your sudden termination of us. When I look at the empty space on your half of our bed, there is no longer a trace of your body. I contemplated straightening the creases you left on the it because your form was all I had to hold on to.

One day I forgot not to open the windows because when you left I tried to suffocate myself. I left them ajar for a second, not knowing our room needed to gasp for air. The wind came in and took with it your smell and ironed the creases, erasing all the lingering parts of you. But even if you’re apart from me, the memories are vivid.

The way you smirk because you can’t afford a full smile. The way you wait a while before giving your opinion of something – I hate it because it seems impersonal to me. The way you overanalyze a matter that doesn’t need any pondering. The way you pace when you have pressing concerns. I guess I’m casual and you’re the very opposite of me, but if unlike poles attract, where are you now? Why are you not here so that we put the theory of magnetism to test?

I looked for your voice in the wind when I heard its gentle whisper floating in my range. Like a child running towards a melodious rattle, I rushed to have a listen only to find an empty world. I sunk myself into the deepest sorrows and my tears filled up every space until the brim, drowning me and every memory I had of you. A turquoise twilight peered through the depths of my anguish and I swum to the surface hoping it’d be you.

It wasn’t.

The sea pulled me further down. I didn’t fight. I didn’t bargain with the grim reaper. I let it consume the very last of me. The pain of drowning was better than living.

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Stories From Home – Epilogue

The day had finally arrived. After weeks of speculation and preparation, I was finally going home. Zambia was a long distance away calling me to its hospitality.

On my way, Zebron – my best friend said a prayer for me, asking God to cover me with His mercies. The journey ahead of me was long and treacherous and the driver honked his horn in a feat of impatience. I rushed him into saying Amen and hurried to the bus. We sped off into the distance, racing against time because we needed to be at the border by 6pm. I was told even the slightest delay would not allow us entry into the gates and that would mean doom. I knew all about spending a night on a bus and there was nothing pleasant about mosquitoes feasting on your blood. The mear thought of clapping one to death on my face nauseated me.

The driver switched gears and eased into his familiarity with the road. Where there were bumps he swerved, where there were cops he stopped for interrogations. He knew his way like the back of his hand. I entrusted him with my life and soon drifted into my thoughts. My girlfriend had no clue of my going back to see her. Well, she knew my semester had ended and that I would be home but she was not aware of the surprise. I had saved money in the weeks behind and bought her a neckpiece with her name on it. Grace. She’d love it. I had already planned my entrance at her hostel. First I’d wait till her last class then stand by her door knowing she was on her way to her room. Just the fact that I’d be there days earlier than her anticipation would win her over. She’d scream and that’d annoy the hell out of me because she’s so dramatic, but the happiness on her face would consequently make me happy. I was in my highest spirits when I was with her.

But then something in my fantacies about the surprise popped up and my mood immediately changed. What if she had another boyfriend and my suprise caught them off guard? My stomach churned. Not Grace, I convinced myself. I grubbed my phone from my pocket to make sure she was by herself and thinking about me. There was no service on the phone and the conductor announced that we were now in a national park. An eerie feeling came over me and I pushed my thoughts to something more amusing. There was a baby next to me blowing bubbles with her saliva. For a while, her talent -which she was evidently proud of, entertained me until I drifted into a dream.

Bang!

My dream was shortlived. The driver failed to avoid a porthole as he swerved from an elephant’s way. The tire that passed the hole immediately unscrewed itself from the rim and flew into the air. Suddenly everyone was awake and up in arms with the driver and his conductor. The man whose drew had trickled on my arm threatened to pulp the two of them if they were not going to ferry us to the border in good time. The mother whose baby had entertained me for a little while was devoted to not only the little bundle on her back but to everyone, checking if they were not hurt. Luckily there were no serious casualties and a quick tyre change was made with help from some people.

The journey continued but the tension was so thick, it could be cut with a knife. Everyone was awake and paying attention to the road. Myself included.

By evening, the border was still far and we all accepted our fait. We told stories to make us bare the night. The drooling man told us about a serpent that nearly took his life when he was a young man. Another lady whose presence I only became aware of when we were sharing our folklores, bravely told us about her struggles at home and how she was trying to find her happiness.

It’s funny how in our words, different Stories From Home harmonized us and made us forget our misfortunes on the road. Before I knew it, morning had come and the trip was upon us. The only uncomfortable thoughts consuming me were of Grace with another guy. I was afraid of the possibilities that lay before me and thought against the surprise. I don’t know if it was wise or foolish me but I made the conscious decision to tell her I was on my way to see her. An unsettling feeling still lingered in me.

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Day 30

BlogtemberChallenge

#StoriesFromHome

#MyAfricaMyWords

Stories From Home – Jacaranda Bloom

If you navigate the city of Lusaka, your eyes can’t help but marvel at the purple bells dangling from the Jacaranda trees. They are either scattered, fenced in private property or lined side by side on several roads across the city. The best views are caught on foot especially in Rhodes Park, Kabulonga, Ridgeway, Longacres and nearby areas, where the trees stand on their zig zag stems and wave their branches for attention.

Is it any wonder that this pretty flower is prevalent in these parts of Lusaka? Well here’s what my quick research found.

When colonialists invaded Africa, they brought with them varying species of plants to make themselves feel at home. Tree planting begun after 1913, when Lusaka was gazzetted as a local authority for administration. The Jacaranda tree, native to the Americas, was planted excessively as an ornament due to its flowering display. The said areas were particularly crowded with the plant because they were suburbs reserved for administrative officers in colonial service.

Jacaranda Tree – Nyerere Road, Long Acres

State House also has its own collection of this plant because the architect who designed the building, Sir Walcott, had a good eye for nature and left a huge proportion of the estate for landscaping. The tree is dotted around the premises with canopies offering shade.

The Jacaranda tree has also been planted widely in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Kenya and one can only be of the conclusion that the Europeans had everything to do with its existence in Africa. It is satisfying to note that a particular plant blooms at around the same time of the year in these countries and yet it is not native to either of them.

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Day 29

#BlogtemberChallenge

#StoriesFromHome

#MyAfricaMyWords

Stories From Home – Origins : Where Do We Come From?

Over the past few weeks we embarked on a journey to Africa. We told Stories From Home in different genres and voices that gave us a feeling of appreciation for our continent and we also shared with each other our customs, food, clothes and so on. But where does all that come from? Why are we different yet alike? Why is it called a Combi in Zimbabwe and a Bus in Zambia yet it’s the same vehicle? Why do we call one God different names? My hair is coarse and another person’s, a Somalian for example, is curly yet we are both Africans?

What makes us different but same?Where do we come from?

A human being is a Homo Sapien Sapien whose brain and anatomy is an evolution of a chimp. The Sapien originated in Africa and migrated to other parts of the world. In other words, the origin of the human race is a negro.

So after mutations spanning thousands of years, the first ever modern humans to exist are the pygmies of the Congo forest.

Pygmies : Natives of Africa

Despite that, these natives have little exposure to civilization as they live a pastural lifestyle in the Congo rainforest.

> Fun Fact : Their name comes from their short stature.

Crossing over to Australia and Oceania, we have the Aborigines who evidently resemble Africans. They’re nearly as dark as we are with hair almost like ours. Studies show that Aborigines are descendants of Africans who migrated to that part of the world around 75, 000 years ago.

Aborigines : Natives of Australia and Oceania

The modern Aborigines seem to have lighter features because of European and Asian interactions.

Over to America, the Indians are the natives of that land including Canada and South America but they were sadly displaced from their land and pushed to the outliers due to Euro migrations. Their origins are not quite clear, but speculation has it that they migrated from Asia through Siberia then Alaska. This then begs the question, where do Asians come from?

Indians : Natives of Americans

The generally accepted theory is that Asians are descendants of Africans who crossed over to the continent through the Mediterranean Sea (Suez Canal) and went East settling first in China. This theory has been proved by studies that compared human skulls belonging to Africans, Europeans and Asians. The evidence showed that Southeast Asians are more closely related to Africans than Europeans who are their closer neighbors.

Dayak People; Natives of Southeast Asia

So we have established the origines of all races but how about Europeans ? How possible is it that the Caucasian race descends from Africa?

Easy!

About 40, 000 years ago, a group of dark skinned kinky haired Africans arrived in Europe. Since negros are native to Africa, the melanin on our outer skin assists us in blocking harsh sun rays. Now unlike Africa, Europe has colder weather conditions therefore the first settlers from Africa lost their pigmentation over the years in order to sustain the cold.

With that being said, we can agree that the DNA of all of mankind stems from the negro race. Therefore you and I are one blood, one chrosom, one people, one nation just different colors.

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Day 27

#BlogtemberChallenge

#StoriesFromHome

#MyAfricaMyWords