Like their chiefs of yore

Their vaulting greed for power and wealth

Has clogged their ears and eyes and brains


The chiefs, we are told,

Sold their strongest men to strangers

Who sailed ashore with mirrors and garments

That mesmerised them

Like grinning lunatics

Stupefied by the magical reflection of their guiltless grin

They would herd more of their strongest kith and kin

And keep them in the slavery caves

To await the dreaded sail to lands uncharted

Their might depleted

The stranger returned

and took their freedom, and their land

and their women and their children

Their descent to zero had begun!

Some fought, while some,

Goaded by the leash of their greed

Collaborated with the stranger!

After years of subjugation and dancing to a forced song

They shed the stranger’s shackles and sang a new song

A triumphant song it was

Of freedom their progenitors had known

Yet soon, did they not know what to do with it

Yet soon, did they become vagrants

Of the stranger that had them bonded!

A century but a half has gone

Since the triumphant song of throwing off the manacles



But alas!


Like their chiefs of yore,

Their vaulting greed for power and wealth

Has clogged their ears and eyes and brains


They have mastered an art of slaughter unrivalled

They’ve acquired a shameless appetite

For the blood of their own.

With impunity

They kill, rape and maim as if for sport

And lament the justice of the stranger of yore

Which they embraced with glee

They turned their unity into a club of impunity

Oftentimes, mute

While gunshots, mortar fire and incessant wails

Of the fleeing and the dying

Have become the constant sound track of their lives

And when that ominous tune

Has lulled in the West and the Sahel

Like an eerie wail of a phantom

It emerges in the colossal grove at the centre

And howls down the Congo River,

And flaps its predatory wings again

Hovering over lands and over the Great Lakes

And heads northward again to the Sudans and the Horn and the Maghreb

Whirling with the winds of greed and the insatiable hunger for power

That defines the rotten politics

Of a continent bent on exterminating itself!

A is for Africa, but alas!

The chiefs are turning A to Z; for Zero.