A Poem By Phillippa Yaa de Villiers

January 13, 2024
1 min read

By Phillippa Yaa de Villiers
Friday, June 6, 2008.
My ancestors were fishermen and fishwives,on my father’s sideloud-mouthed, big-bottomed Ghanaians.When I asked my father about our culture,I wanted to knowthe beats that would lead my feetin the ways of our people and he said:culture? Well, your grandfather played the violinand the harpsichord.When I asked my father about the habitual ritualsthat take us closer to the godsof our people,he saidrituals? Well, there were always festivals,harvest festivals…but we never went thereWhen I asked my fatherwhy why why did they let go ofall that rich history that Afrika gave us?He said:my dearwe are Africans.Anyone looking at us can see how black we are,why do we have to be going on and on about it?Like Kwame NkhrumahI am freedom’s childand my prideis in every molecule of my being.I am not oppressed.Why sing that song when I have broken those chainsand stand before you as a free man?He’s deep, my father.Maybe deepin denial.But maybeAfrika is dreaminglike the world is dreaming,and Afrika is bluesinglike the world is bluesing,and it’s beautifullive as a runaway chicken,as a newborn goat trying out its new knees,Afrika is the whole world’s starving childand the universe’s wise grandmother,Afrikans are dressing up in fantasiesand walking out of the villages and intothe cities and out of the citiesand back to the villages, via thecave and the beach and the mountainand the moon.There is no limit.There is no boundary.
© Phillippa Yaa de Villiers
Phillippa Yaa de Villiers is a South African writer, performer, and poet living in Johannesburg. She studied journalism in South Africa and theatre in Paris and then returned to academia in the late 1990s, consolidating her passions for writing and performance with a degree in dramatic arts. She writes for a television series in South Africa. She blogs at Poet Afrika.
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