HOLIDAY IMAGES FROM AFRICA

Why is it that many White people, when they go to Africa, one of the points on their checklist is to go to an orphanage or a Hospital or a village school and take pictures of themselves carrying little Black children and surrounded by little African children?

If I were to come to Europe and go to an orphanage or a hospital or a village school and take and post on social media pictures of myself carrying and surrounded by little White children to whom I have no close personal connection and whose parents or guardians don‘t even know me, I would be accused of many things.

Please, White people, stop instrumentalising Black African children for the purpose of your hypocritical self-staging as supposedly benevolent world saviours. Robbing them of their privacy and dignity, objectifying them, and using them as moral ornaments with which to decorate your souls on social media. They are human beings, they are minors, and they are somebody’s children and wards.

Even if you want to donate to an orphanage or help the under-privileged, you have no right to use it as an opportunity for a foto op and PR session. I’m sure some of you also donate anonymously to orphanages in Europe and America, but you don’t afterwards troop there to pose for pictures with the children to whose welfare you are contributing. You sense, and quite rightly so, that it would be undignifying towards those children. And undignifying towards you yourselves too. Well, the same applies to Black and African children too! And the same applies with regards to them.

Please stop using them as background deco and surround sound for the accolade-seeking self-images you wish to bring back with you from Africa as your holiday trophies.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije

MISSING

Where are you?
The police have looked high and low
Community watch and kind strangers near and far
Have tried your trail to follow

The orange tree we planted
Yields season after season bitter bitter fruits
That would turn sweet were you but here
To pick them off their roots

The children you lovingly bore
Daily older grow, as beautiful as you were
They ask where their mother is
Unable to comprehend how people disappear

I wish we hadn’t gone on that holiday
I wish you hadn’t taken that stroll
That night alone to watch the waves
The ensuing years have taken their toll

My thoughts spank of guilt
I should have been your guard on every walk
What happened, my love? Footsteps don’t talk
Time is a blackboard of fading chalk

Give me a sign of life
Calm my heart, let us know
You’re happy, even in the beyond somewhere
Saying goodbye, I love you in my soul

Strength is a luxury
But succour shall whisper quietly some day
All good things come together in their own day
In their own way, this I pray.

Waiting and waiting in vain
For you to return, to talk, share and to listen
Where are you, my dear? Your picture is silent
Written above it, that killing word, still: MISSING.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.