When our hearts shook against the vices of the colonialists

Robbing our breath with their majestic prudence
We saw elegance alight from rail road’s and gun barrels
Implementing an odor of dominance
We relished at the thought of wheat, tea, coffee and maize
Our abundance engraved strife upon them
For we hand enormous appetite to be free
We sat before the Leviathan sea; blood flowing and inspiration diminishing
We labored hard as our heralders promised to untie the shackles
Mekatili wa Mwenza; we had her cover us with the moons skin as we beamed with anticipation of rightfulness
Kinjeketile wa Ngwale; we had him assuring us that bathing with heaven lotion would seal our brevity
We had Jomo Kenyatta preaching from Lodwar that we had to be free
We had Kwame Nkrumah insisting on our independence
We lit our path with the struggles of Mandela
Even griots such as Haile Sellassie and Gaddafi inspired an urge in us
Africa; we had to untie ineptitude, bigotry and impotency
O people we laid low while they robbed our rights

We jouryned in the Sahara and massaged the Atlas as we pleaded with the gods for rescue
We grabbed straws as we languished in murky waters of incapacitation
From the Jos to Kano plains we beseeched soils to hold our hopes
We never ceased to wonder why apartheid lassoed our counterparts
For how long were we to suffer
We savored with Lwanda Magere and likes of Liyongo
Thinking their supremacy would tickle our brains
As tea harassed our fields and coffee mutilated our highlands, we beamed with anger on our disjointed pan-Africanisim
We grabbed our might in form of spears, sticks, skin, gourds and courage and laid low while we awaited our right to strike
Jumbled opinions wasn’t going to stop us
The pandemonium of colonilialists insulted our rights as they raped, maimed and killed our people we had to break free
We bathed at the foot of Mt. Kenya and looked upon Ngai for deliverance
We labored deep in the stomach of the Victoria water to gain insight
We scaled the snowy-peaks of the Kilimanjaro and scattered our hopes hoping they’d grow into possibilities
We reminisced on our forbears trekking and sweat bathed our scaly bodies
How the sun- tanned skins of our people wailed at the greetings of the “masters” whip; yet we stood strong
They thought us weak even as the city of Maiduguri rose from smoke and men grabbed their spears
We saw abandoned resolve picked from willows as we grabbed the stems of the baobab to show them what we got
We rained on them just like the haranguing words they threw upon us
Yet we still we not strong
We laid low and wondered why our talking never gathered any moss


The cape prominence lavished the minds of the south’s movement
The rice fields bolted our hopes to in surmount maladies upon the white men
We learnt their ways and laid low to wait
Tragic moments salted our already injured bodies and soul
They slayed our leaders and hanged their heads on fences
Reverberating our mourns and shrills, they refused to pay attention
Still we journeyed deep in our minds to prove something unto us
The Limpopo river washed our sins and we felt nothing could stop us
We had salvation
We had it in the form of togetherness
We forgot the likes of Nabongo and felt they cheated us
For the colonialists guns camped at our heads
We lost great men and women
A moment of silence
Alas they renewed our energy to escape from their insolence


Our past was dealt a major blow
We coincided with time as Africa decided to rise
We rose from the ant-hills
Grabbed our skins and wrapped our skeletal wishes
We rose brothers and sisters
We shocked the world
From Alexandria to Johannesburg we rose
Hope wasn’t leaving us – we tied it loose on our necks
The Somali currents inspired an urge in us to scare the rogue colonialists
Our misogyny towards them constricted our hearts
But my motherland had to be free
So movements such as the Mau- maul rose
We laid low while we rose
Prominence was to be ours soon
They wouldn’t fathom why we dearly shed blood for our lands
How did they think we were to survive
How; how were we going to continue existing
We toiled hard for githeri, osuga, matoke
Yes, we had to be full
But denying us access even to our rightful package irked our forefathers
We formed movements and banished – primitiveness
The world had to awaken to our dominance
Someone had to exhale; phew! those black people are tough
We were never ashamed of our heritage and instead praised ours as the cradle of life


The pygmies livened with anticipation of freedom
The Zulu traded smiles as apartheid was coming to an end
The Ethiopians held their ground
In the streets of Dakar people relished at the thought of independence
The Niger delta emitted outstanding fragrance of purity
The pyramids livened with bustling murmurs of fellow Africans
They had divided us but we shared a common goal
Suddenly all was possible
We owe it to our freedom fighters
They died for this cause, for they understood what Africa meant
What could stop my people then
We graced the breasts of mama Africa and fed to our fill
We were stronger together
It had been a moment of insurmountable pain

Hope waved at us in yonder
Rights washed our muddy faces
Resolve activated our tired limbs
Defeat scampered in shrills
We had now the spine
We tasted their magic and used it
We understood what it means to be free
They had to leave us in peace
Masked musketeers wailed for a home
For we drew all the might we had 
And pulled it with our teeth
We grated their bullets with our teeth
If we couldn’t shoot, we could bite
They surrender against an unstoppable force
Spreading from the Agulhas, the Capricorns and the Equator
We cemented our existence from Olduvai gorge as we had proof as the keepers of life eternal
We sprayed ourselves with the sweet fragrance of the sand-dunes
And harvested grapes from Namibia
As Ghana enticed them with coal
We had oil… we were rich
A take off was inevitable
We had been munificent but not this time
So we were granted our independence albeit full of blood


Half a century later – are we free
We laid low
Was that our mistake
Did it make us vulnerable
We suffer still, as diseases, drought, neo-colonialism and prejudices still haunt us
Did we inherit this
Yet I wonder why the Biafra war shed as much blood
Why the Hutu-Tutsi massacre hardened our hearts
Why tribal killings still continue
Why lands were grabbed by the same people who fought for it
Why the proverbial hatred still roots itself in our hearts
Why our souls hearkened against the tunes of the colonialists taps
Africa are we free
O dear mama – are we free
We developed greedy leaders and an ignorant mass
“Nothing could/can be done”.. I heard sermons and speeches outshine probability
Muses bathed us as we brought Achebe, Soyinka, Wa-Thiong’o and Liyong
They stroked papers and tried to decipher what hailed Africa
Bad leadership! Bad leadership!
But who would listen to them as ere Okigbo died from his inability to broaden his message
We needed guns and war we learnt was the way forward
So in all we resolved to use force
Amicable discussions were unheard off
Africa are we free
We’ve laid low for long
Is it our weakness

BY: Eddy Ongili


2 thoughts on “WE LAID LOW

  1. Its appropriate time to make some plans for the future and its time to be happy. I have read this post and if I could I want to suggest you few interesting things or tips. Maybe you can write next articles referring to this article. I want to read more things about it!


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