African RealPolitik


African RealPolitik.

The politics of power. Used to shape the material. Physical. Tangible. Parts of our everyday lives. Some would call it pragmatic? I don’t know if I buy that suggestion so simply.
But sometimes I think,
What about RealPolitik?

I was lucky enough, to be raised by a mum who cherished dreams more than most people I have met in my natural life. Having now found mild comfort, in a hazy Pan-African dream I often feel dismissed as “idealistic”. And I can’t say I always disagree but somehow I feel suspicious at heavy handed attitudes to imagination by folks who don’t see the world as I do. I feel guilty for my doubt when I inevitably attempt to resist your vision, and try to dismiss you.

But, it is hard to share dreams with another. Not everyone goes to sleep at the same time. Not everyone rests their cheek on a pillow. No two souls go to bed, with the same thoughts in their head. Imagine if priority. Your primary responsibility was is to care for young children. Who’s belly’s must be fed. Ideology might feel empty. It might sound neat, beautiful, fanciful & complete. But so very far. Out of reach. When put along side your reality. It might fill you with a sense of defeat.

You might yearn for RealPolitik.
Over what is abstractly “right”.
You might demand achieving goals.
Over the chants of revolution.
That promise much but leave you still hungry, as they grow in complexity & convolution.
You might wonder while you brothers & sisters wish to take up “arms”
Because they want to take back farms.
When we rarely discuss the struggling progress. Of our living Black Farms.
You might permit. Shoprite. Checkers. Big Supermarkets. To enter our communities.
For their cheap prices for food. For consumer benefit.
But you might also gasp, if you saw how they valuate our communities.
They would gladly sell us fish.
And make you think. That the Fishing Rod and the Boat. Are the tools of the rich.
Locking us into dependency. While we fall into complacency.
Perhaps,
You yearn now, for RealPolitik.

Funny it is. That I have “read” about the importance of reading. Yet in very few moments have I heard about the importance of “writing” and “speaking”. Telling your story, my friend. Is an act of revolution. Consuming the tales of the lives of others that thrive might be what we are used to. But so much is in front of us. And around us. If we can learn to break through to your neighbours. And learn to listen to them too.

Far too many folks. And I am certainly no exception. Spend their hard earned skills. Working for “the man” who coaxes profit from our families. Sometimes, quickly & quietly – or slowly and violently – Killing.
Where we stand is always a land of opportunity.
But the fear of risk.
Bites hard into our skin. Leading us to side, by default. To the comfort of security.
But we need to inject. Onto this continent. Some RealPolitik. A movement building on the principles of tangible change of circumstance. Not blind dreams, reclaiming of African Kings and Queens. Do we still have time to take this chance? What are our practical goals to change our circumstance?

One only has a the length of a life to lead. I guess.
And even that, is a length, that one has little control over.
But when operating in a collective. The fullness of a life is multiplied.
By the Joy. Pain. Struggle & Victory.
Of those lit by the light.
Of the flames fueled by the pursuit of goals. Bringing change.
That fire can be fueled by RealPolitik.
If our community is hungry.
Our goal must be that none go unfed.
If our community is not healthy.
Our goal must be that all receive health care.
The debate around how that should happen will be. And should be lively.
But a solution. Is not a solution.
If it has no hope of being successful.
Solutions are accepted as such. Once they are successful.
That is RealPolitik.

Now African RealPolitik.
What could that be?
Something they might call pragmatic. But I don’t know if you’ll accept that so simply.
It could mean to build what it is to be African.
Into what many dream it could be.
While knowing that it is difficult to see the dream of another.
We can begin to understand each other.
Through the formation of goals. Tangible goals.
That we accept to be true through relentless effort towards their execution.
Goals that are driven from the public.
And not at the level of delicate policy.
Crafted over expensive coffee.
If we want to tell our stories.
We must commit to read work made by each other.
If our stories are absent from book stores.
We must open our book stores.
If our crimes do not reach the newspapers.
We must have our own publications.

But, where will the money come from?
Is a question that is not easy to answer.
Given the disproportionate financial burden. On those who must also do the most work.
Then our goal, for those who can, must be to free up resources.
For communities to be less dependent.
On the train tracks built by profit making machines.
And this will require sacrifice.

Without question.

It will also require honesty.
An honest reflection from those who benefit from status quo.
For Academies & Medical Schools. That pump great resources in training specialist Doctors.
All the while knowing. Our primary need is at the level of,
Primary Health..
How many times have we echoed the “The Hippocratic Oath”
In defiance of the basic needs of our people?
For Engineering schools. Like my own.
That, in spite of our unique set of problems & opportunities.
Fail to tailor the philosophy of our schools.
To connect with great need for the discipline in our context.
Young folks must go to great lengths. To find this for themselves.
All the while bombarded by expectation & threat of Failure.
What is our goal?
What are we working for?
What will be our RealPolitik?

Technology has provided us with great opportunities. Undoubtedly not without it’s costs.
But, on so many levels it holds promise for connectedness between peoples who have been forcibly separated for centuries.
It provides opportunity for learning.
And can provide space for truly democratic media.
We must push to make the online space, accessible to all.
With fragmented access to this tech.
I see little hope for a coherent African RealPolitik.

RealPolitik. African RealPolitik.

The politics of power. Used to shape the material. Physical. Tangible. Parts of our everyday lives. Some would call it pragmatic? I don’t know if I buy that suggestion so simply.
But sometimes I think,
What about RealPolitik?

..

And yet,
At the end of the page that I scribbled this piece. In it’s poetic prose.
I see the black of my ink. Dry upon the page.
Feeling ashamed at my fear. And unwillingness.
To take the risk and turn my thoughts of RealPolitik.
Into a tangible reality.
It feels, sometimes, so indulgent to dream.
While trapped in indifference. Complacency & Comfort.
But I guess somehow it is to be expected.
Even with the metal doors open.
Some birds remain clawed to their cage.
Singing.

I wonder for what the sing?
I wonder if the fear of the weight of tragedy is worth facing it in the realness of reality.
I wonder from where must the strength come from?
To engage in African RealPolitik.

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One thought on “African RealPolitik

  1. Pingback: African RealPolitik | Selamta Revolution

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