A Letter to Mama Afrika in Heaven: “Ninakupenda Malaika”

Dear mama Afrika

It has been two years since you left us and my tears have not dried up yet, still flowing like the river Nile through the Kenyan forest , up on the mountain Kilimanjaro and back down to the dusty roads of Soweto. The tears of  November 10th,  16 days before thanksgiving still lingers. Flashbacks of that early morning cockcrow that woke me up trembling, the unplugged radio that suddenly played “pata pata”.

Just like yesterday I still remember that cold wind that blew through the closed wooden window,  sending chills down my spine. I still hear the cars honking sadly like a funeral matching band and the newspaper boy who said “Mama don go” as I bought November 10th newspaper  from him. I still see in the black and white print on the first page

“She was enjoying herself,” Zamo Mbutho, a backing singer and composer with the band, told the Sowetan newspaper.
The audience had loved her performance, although she played fewer songs than originally planned. She finished off with “Pata Pata”, one of her best known hits, he added.
“After the song she thanked the audience, blew kisses at them with a radiant smile and left the stage. As she went past me, she put the mic on the drum. As she went down the stairs, she fell.”
“It was the first time she left alone,” guitarist Mandla Zikalala told the Star.

Just like that Mama , gone and I never got to say good bye. Gone but not forgotten.  We still speak about your strength to fight against apartheid, even though it put bruises on you, even though it put you behind bars, even though it took you away from us for 31years, missing my youthful days. I am thankful because today  I sit in a classroom with black and white people, we read the same books,  sing the same songs and share history together.  They are my friends. I have meet people from various cultural backgrounds, especially after the worldcup in South Africa. We made Africa proud. I am  learning some few languages, such as Swahili. I think Swahili should be taught all over Africa and become Africa’s main language? Maybe I am crazy to think that way. It just reminds me of when you sang Malaika:

Anyway Mama, There are some few things that bother me about the future of Africa with the invasion of the West and East, which I call “Africa’s Development with out sunglasses”. I fear that if we do not take ownership of our land we will be selling Africa blindly to “development”. Not to say development is bad but we ought to make sure we protect our land in the process. I will rather save this topic for another time Mama. I miss you alot, say hi to Lucky Dube, Fela Kuti, Kwame Nkrumah and all our loved ones. It is always good talking to you and  it amazes me how you used music to bring us close to each other no matter how far we were.  I wonder if you can tweet from heaven?  If you can, please tweet  a heavenly songs to me here @orijinculture.

“Ninakupenda Malaika, Miriam Makeba a.k.a Mama Afrika” (I love you Angel, Miriam Makeba a.k.a Mama Afrika)


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