When You Say “Akata”

When you say “Akata”
Remember
You are speaking of a brother
A sister, a child
Mother, father
Kidnapped from home
Raised on far off shores
Chained and beaten
Until hope became a faint glimmer
Until home became a weak whisper
Until humanity tasted bitter.

When you say “Akata”
Remember
You are not speaking of yourself
Because you had Africa’s forests
Her mountains, deserts and hills
Her rivers and other waters
To hide in when snow fell in the tropics
You had ancestral breasts to suckle on
Food for that long winter
And grand parents who remembered to teach you
The language of your people.

When you say “Akata”
Remember
That the white man used porters
Your own uncles
Willing servants, joyful warders
Who helped them draw the borders
That split your fathers compound into two countries
And made your cousin a stranger
And started the wars that have left you an orphan
And started the quarrels that have driven you from home
To the place where the “Akatas”
Have labored and fought
So you have a place to come to
After your father’s house burned to the ground.

When you say “Akata”
Remember.