Maya Angelou fed other writers her logic, her simple yet earth-moving vocabulary and her generously shared wisdom. To this giant of woman, I can only send countless greeting cards from my heart to the special place she now calls home, thanking her for her influence and congratulating her for leaving a permanent mark on history.
It saddens me to have to come up with words to honour Shakes Kungoane, the South African soccer legend who inspired coach Paul Dolezar to drop this unforgettable quote: “Shakes confuses my players; he looks that way and passes the other way.” What a joy to watch him on the pitch! Shakes Kungoane is no more but he leaves us with smiles on our faces as we reminisce about his glorious soccer moments.
I have dreadlocks because I like the way they look on me…for now. Before the locks, I rocked a ‘chiskop’ with big earrings and before my shaven beauty days, the weave was my very good and close friend. I was not less African when I had synthetic hair. My hairstyle has never had anything to do with my being an African. I have never sat down and thought: What hairstyle can I go for to show the world how African I am?
As for my nails, as I type this blog post, these babies are painted an attitude-packed blood-red and topped with clear nail polish for shine. I don’t even look at sandals when my toenails aren’t plastered with nail polish. I don’t feel inadequate with my ugly toenails; I just have access to nail polish, I know how to use it and that’s that.
And today, the only reason I’m not wearing make-up is that I woke up late. With my large nose and full lips; I’m beautiful without make-up. I took on my dad’s dark, really dark skin tone and my mother’s eyes and great smile. Make-up is an accessory I enjoy and it doesn’t make me any less African than the lady who decides she’ll go au naturel all the time. The day Africans are defined by their stance on beauty products; please sit me down and just shoot me!
I have this pair of black boy shorts that hug my ass tighter than my man does. In fact, I have a collection of short outfits. Some are tight, others flow with the breeze and I have this little denim number that I really love! Believe me when I say: When I rock my shorts and heels, I am still as African as when I am in my maxi dress.
Dear blog follower, the whole point of this rant is to point out that being African has nothing to do with what goes on outside the body. It is about one’s grasp of where one is on the world map, appreciating the history and achievements of this continent, being a part of the solution to the many problems of the land and being able to declare allegiance to the land. It’s about learning from this place while giving back to it, being familiar with the sights and sounds of this section of the world and sharing it with visitors. It’s time the hating of weaves, make-up, painted nails and smooth, shaven legs stopped! These things have nothing to do with being African and ‘Uber Africans’ should take a seat on this one.