The Middle Passage…
Such innocent sounding words for a 400-year campaign of catastrophe against African bodies…

Still continuing.

The Middle Passage…

It robbed us. Defiled us. Dehumanised us. Denigrated us.

When those thieving, cruel ships left our shores,

Departed Africa’s shores,

They depleted us. Laid waste to us, drained us, sucked us dry.

These are the things we lost to the waters…

 

Our names fell unspoken into the sea,

Never again to be remembered,

Never again to ring out under these skies.

Our languages followed,

Splashed into the waters,

The tones, clicks, plosives and gutturals lie water-logged at the bottom of the waters,

Our tongues weighed down under the heaviness of the white man’s languages.

 

We lost our cultures to the oceans.

Lying on its sea bed are a thousand forgotten practices,

We are left with bereft cultural orphans, artefacts long shorn of completeness,

To be frowned upon, despised, criminalized.

 

And…

 

We lost our bodies in the Middle Passage,

Have you ever heard of the ship called Zong?

Never forget the ship called Zong.

Zong. Zong. Zong.

400 human bodies deliberately deposited at the bottom of the Atlantic.

Human flesh frivolously flung overboard.

But Zong was just one of many.

Many bodies that we lost.

Jumped. Dumped. Died. Lived.

We, Africa, lost them.

We lost them…

caribbean-underwater

Also…

We lost our souls in Africa’s fading light,

With each nautical mile, a part of us died,

With each nautical mile, Africa died,

In the ships’ fading light, a part of us died.

Torn in two. We died.

On either side. We died.

On either side.

We died.

We died.

We died.

 

The most precious thing we lost to the waters was each other,

Forever more Africa and her diaspora,

Forever more the other and her other,

Forever split in two,

Forever broken,

Never to be whole again.

Always living alternate lives,

Always dying different deaths,

But…

Always dying.

Always dying.

Always dying.

Apart from each other.

Dying.

 

We lost ourselves in the Middle Passage,

A people with one history, one destiny, one family, joined by blood

Generational bonds torn asunder, forever swept away by the waters of the flood.

We are lost in the Middle Passage.

We are lost in the Middle Passage.

We are lost in the Middle Passage.

Africa is lost in the Middle Passage.

 

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