African StoriesHistorical Fiction Stories

The Language of Pain

Grandpa in his bickering lips and shaky staggering legs summoned our attention.

“I will pass the story of our people unto you before I die,” he said. “For it’s our family tradition to do so,” he continued.

“Now listen all of you: we are here in the diaspora, having been dragged here forcefully with iron hands and a heated whip for our backs, we were brought here on shackles and chains as though we were wild animals, we were bullied and buried in the belly of the seas, we half survived, though many are now history, may peace be with their souls.”

I looked intently at grandpa as a trickle of sweat tringed down his wrinkled forehead, which was immediately accompanied by a lone tear which only existed in the edge of his eye. It existed for few minutes though.
Then he continued.

“We were treated as though we are wild beasts because of the colour of our skin, because of what God blessed us with.”

His pitch rose a little bit when he stressed ‘skin’, his head bent a little low, yet he continued.

“Today they tell us all lives matter which is a protest to our protest that says black lives matter, they yet murder the black people in cold blood, which they frequently nicknamed ‘misplacement of tesser’. If it’s not racism, then why the release of the killer who pleaded not guilty?”

Grandpa’s tone went high as though the question is for us, we looked at ourselves and readjusted in our seats, not minding the little itches occurring in our buttocks.

“The high places you see today are our handiworks, I fell off one though, the towers and the massive buildings.”

Then he continued, “We live in fear of our lives because we are hated as though we came here on our own.

“What if we saw the whites as inferiors and became the slave traders and they the slaves?

“What if the whites are in our shoes and we the oppressors? What if we are the colonists?”

Grandpa threw all these questions to us, though I saw all of them as rhetorical

“Grandpa what shall we do now to stop this?” I found myself asking.

“Well son, you just have to live today as if it’s your last, but remember the golden rule and teach it to your children. Let the cycle continue. Don’t blame on anyone for what we went through and are currently experiencing. Keep your heads up high for black is a gift and a blessing, black is our culture and our heritage, black is our beauty and our power, black is our everything. Never wish you are otherwise, because you all have something unique no other person in the whole wide world doesn’t.”

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