COMMUNICATION

How does a nation communicate with itself? How are messages passed, orders given, thought patterns and processes prescribed, and proscribed, consensus reached, an understanding made binding on all? Without words. 

How does a nation tell itself what to believe, what to say, how to act, where to go, which lie to tell and which truth to reveal? How does a nation converse with itself, argue with itself, consult with itself, agree with itself, without betraying itself?

Long before the Internet, long before the television and the radio, long before telephone and telex, long before railways and planes, long before highways, long ago, when not everywhere was motorable and some places were unreachable and remote, and journeys were laborious dangerous enterprises that took weeks and months. Long long ago, when Human was young, how did Nations learn to think as one and to perceive as a unit? 

There is something that unites people deep down in their souls sometimes, the reverberations of a common Inner Voice. And so, one word can last them a thousand years and sustain them and not go out of fashion and never be misinterpreted by them, because at its origin they all gave to it the same meaning. It becomes like a root, and however far and wide their flowers flourish or their fruits nourish, they draw from the root of the same word. And that word is their secret ancient name, in which their destiny is encoded.

Nations have changed so much. Sometimes it‘s hard to know to which nation you belong – and when you know it, you cannot find it anywhere. And when you find it, you do not belong there where you think you saw it. Everything is in daily motion, and tomorrow the world will mix up the different parts again. 

Once upon a time, there were nations and you belonged to one of them. Today, when you feel lost, close your eyes and listen for those whose Inner Voice are similar to yours. They are your Nation.

 – Che Chidi Chukwumerije 

THE FROZEN LAKE

There is a frozen lake. Once it was open and liquid in the land of summer and rain, but it was visited by the Ice-Queen, who breathed into it her imperial breath, to freeze it up. But there was fire deep in the heart of the lake and the fire fought back – and thus, only the surface of the lake froze over, not its heart. Underneath, it remains liquid, a lake, and the fish are still swimming. They just can no longer break the surface and make themselves seen. The owners of the lake walk on solid ice and think it is solid ground. They peer into the ice and sense that something is moving down there, but they cannot see it anymore. The lake is alive, though it looks rigid and frozen.

“Advanced” thinkers sniff derogatingly at the notion of occupying oneself with the subject of the fact and dynamics of the original indigenous African nations, swimming like restlass schoals beneath the surface of the tight lattice of the present day African Nation-states, formenting trouble, looking for a voice, sometimes exploiting and sometimes lamenting the lattice, and everybody wondering how things are going to go next. “Advanced” thinkers call them “tribes” or sometimes, indulgingly, “ethnic Groups”.

The inability to “shed” or “overcome” ones “tribal” or “native” identity and “rise” into the new modern African self-view, that has its beginning in the colonial re-engineering of the African psyche, is looked upon as a sign of smallness, backwardness and primitiveness, if not even wickedness. In truth, however, this notion is the modern day equivalent of our early School days when African languages were derogatingly classed as “vernacular”, while European tongues were the proper language.

Just like there was no need to demonize African languages or cultures in a bid to validate the Non-African ones, there is need today to take a critical look at the dynamics of Ethnic Nationality in Africa, in order to ascertain how best to interpret this field of reality towards the forging of a more realistic and stable peace in Africa. They have been long looked down upon as a nuisance to be suppressed and managed and, eventually, overwritten like an old piece of software on the way to socio-politically engineering an ostensibly new Africa – an Africa that was birthed through the injection of European spark during colonialism. However it is perhaps time to rethink and view them as the essential building blocks which homogeneously come together in a natural and unforced way to become the larger, inherently stable African Nation-states.

Because without arguing much about the merits or demerits of so-called African tribes in terms of size, it suffices to note that the very fact that they refuse to go extinct, continue to exist and exert themselves, and continue to determine the foundations of inner politicking in African countries by itself qualifies them as viable subjects to be examined in the light of the search for a proper restructuring within the African continent. There is nothing wrong with them. What we need is not to close our eyes and hope – or forcefully insist – that everyone obeys, but a conscious engineering of friendship amongst the cultures.

The Lake is frozen. One day it will surely thaw. When that happens, it is necessary that it does not dissolve into a chaotic mass of uncoordinated rivalry in waters turned opaque. We need a council of cultures in Africa, where the indigenous nations can deliberate frankly on their true desires, fears, natures and capacities. Right now we have many voices shouting, but there is no theater of conference and no common moderator.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije

THE ORGANISATION OF THE TRUE AFRICAN NATIONS

The members of the African Union are countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, etc. But those are not the true African nations.

The true African nations are for example Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa, Ashanti, Zulu, Xhosa, Oromo, Amhara, Hutu, Mande, Akan and all the many rest of them. We need to also form an Association of the true African Nations, where we can again relate and talk to ourselves the way we spoke to ourselves before an exploitative volition conquered our minds and taught us foreign languages in which we misunderstand each other.

If you want to form an Organisation of the true African Nations, inbox me. It is time for Africa to start uniting and solving its problems again, the African way.

All the nation-people conflicts in Africa take place on this level, hardly ever on a post-colonial-Nation Level. It is never Nigeria vs Niger, it is Hausa vs Fulani. It is never Rwanda vs Burundi, it is Hutu vs Tutsi. It is never South Africa vs Botswana, it is Zulu vs Xhosa. And so on. So it is therefore on that Level that Africans must also forge an alternative parallel theater of dialogue in which to engineer the internal dynamics of uniting. Because, in all naturalness, these are the identities to which the African ethnies feel most deeply beholden.

Without political harmony and concerted interaction on this foundational and original African level of Nation-being, the post-colonial nation-states will remain unstable powder kegs waiting to self-destruct or hoping to de-escalate only through the deliberate eroding and gradual extinction of ancient african languages and ethnies, leaving only rootless and memoryless post-colonial constructs behind, erroneously called ‘African’ countries.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije

THE PRESENCE

NEWLY THE sun shone anew. Happy the multitude was to see again their surroundings. But where were they? A no-land. Only space and space and space. But no footprints and not a voice on the wind.

We seek the voices, we hear the silence. The multitude is faced with the choice – to turn inwards or to turn outwards. The multitude turned inwards and became a nation. Generations later, the nation turned outwards and faced the world.

Thus was the first Pride born. For the nation was too much for the world.

Let us leave the world and the nation, the multitude, the space and the silence, and look at the street. A busy street. Hawkers, traders, pedestrians, beggars, jam the sidewalks. Busses, cars, motorcycles, cram the roads.

Above them, an unsmiling face, almost but not as large as the sky, looks down guardingly upon them. The face is not the face of a loving protector, that much can be deduced from its features. It is the face of a prison warden. Emotionless and evil. Because the prison is his.

A face turns upwards. One of the people on the street has a strange sensation hard to describe. She looks up, sees the face, screams and collapses. People walk by her. Others stop. She is dead. They cross themselves, mutter prayers and walk away.

Let us go back to the nation. The nation has arisen. It is all-powerful. It runs like a well-oiled machine, a high-tec computer. It shut itself out of the world for generations. It let nothing in, not even nature. Now it is ready to face the world. It towers over the rest of the world and opposes all who seek to break away from this new sway.

Others raise their gazes too, see the face of the guardian of evil. They collapse and die too, just like the woman. But the souls of the dead have risen too, they mingle amongst the living and strengthen invisibly their resolve. And sometimes now when I look up at the giant face of the prison-guard in the dark dark clouds above us, I see a slightly worried look in his eyes. Things are going wrong. He feels it. But he cannot put his finger on it.

Why are people looking up?

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

THE ELIXIR AND THE MUSE

Joy is my elixir
Sorrow is my muse
When one is not there
The other I use

The mountain-top of poverty
Will give you a clear view
Into the character of humanity
And make a sage of you

The dark depths of wealth
Will expose you to propensity
To indulge in all things that tempt
And to understand vanity

You will see needy nations
Full of natural born resources
Of lazy corrupted wasted generations
Raining on each other backward curses

You will see greedy nations
With the mastery of bright inventions
Choose instead to perfect division
And to invent and sell deadly weapons

You will see great minds
Of science, religion and philosophy
Brainwashing weaker minds
Into believing everyone different is their enemy

You will feel the cold power of politics
In high and low places
And learn to respect the simplest tricks
For they win the most complex races

You will despair and turn to the dark side
And hear its mocking laughter
You will look for the light far and wide
And severity will be its answer

Illness will teach you
That your body is not all of you
There is eternal life inside of you
It is the real you

And you will learn from disgrace
How fickle are our human ways
When you’re up they’re quick to praise
And quick to damn you in your fallen days

Wonder above wonder
The flight of technology
Cannot take you any further
Than truth, hope and simplicity

Trust is still a riddle
Treachery a talking drum
Death still waits in the middle
Of the life you can’t escape from

Only love, only love will understand
And bring you strength and succour
Even as it holds in its tender hand
A little joy, a little sorrow

The power to open our eyes
To the little acts of kindness
That tower above parochial ties
And cure the heart of its blindness

To civilise joy with purpose
And pacify pain with message
For just as poetry elevates prose
Goodness preserves youth in age

Some bend the word
To achieve selfish aims
Diplomacy becomes their sword
So who are we to blame?

Joy is my elixir
Sorrow is my muse
When one is not there
The other I use.

– CHE CHIDI CHUKWUMERIJE.