So you think Kings built this place?
My mind has been a firestorm for some time now.
Caught up in what has become a clumsy-aggressive meeting with myself – and the context that I find my consciousness must respond to.
In the flames of anti-colonial rage that have echoed strongly in the chambers of the chest of many young comrades in and around my new home.
“Rhodes Must Fall”
Became an anthem
A turning point.
After which there would be no looking back.
With daily interactions with people who “saw” and “understood” in ways I could not, juxtaposed with confrontations by folks who simply refused to accept the breathe and substance of the spirit of Decolonisation.
I remember clearly walking up the stone steps of my university towards the imposing figure of Jameson Hall. The pantheon like structure propped up by pillars that stand with an air of permanence reinforcing thoughts in my consciousness darker than the shadow it casts over the student – body.
Was a deplorable racist, much like many of the white men immortalised on my campus. The stood and stand as kings of the blacks the understood to be less than human. These men are Kings, who I’m told for some reason, made contributions we simply cannot ignore.
I keep getting told, in not so many words, that
“Kings built this place”.
I have grown curious about this assertion, this implicit understanding of ownership – this way of reading history that ascribed to individuals tonnes and tonnes of stone crafted into steps and towers.
What does the way we speak about these buildings around us say about how we think about the position of workers in history? The likes of Cecil John Rhodes among other heroes of white capital built monuments to greed and alienation off the labour of black hands who most of us knew nothing about.
In later days the brick pathways of the streets traipsing the old campus were paved with the hands of women and who remain ever forgotten and erased from the imagination of what it is to be among those who “built this place”.
To who to ascribe the wealth of the present that so clearly has been born from the fruit of exploitation and domination?
To who must I be grateful for this place? For this space?
Rhodes and Jameson?
As I look forward, I will my body forward in the understanding that we all built this place. Monuments do not belong to “Kings”.
We lay claim to each and every brick. Each and every ounce of mined gold in the spirit of ancestors who gave their life and had their dignity stripped as a part of these hellishly divine projects of colonial rule.
We built this.
That truth extends long and far beyond Cape to Cairo.
From plantations in Bahia, Brazil.
To the very structure of the White House.
Exists only by product of colonialism. In so far as whiteness itself was necessitated as a social structure ONLY by product of that social, economic and political system of domination.
Whiteness, itself, created blackness through this process.
It created Kings through this process.
Kings who claim to have built this place during that process.
Kings who parade their place in History.
Kings whose heirs continue to live lives of shameless flair.
Rest assured my friend, my comrade..
The future will not be built by Kings.
It will be built by the ordinary peoples of Africa, in the mass anonymity, in their infinite capacity.
No History book of any size will be able to continue the sheer number of heroines and heroes that will build this place.
Our pantheons and pyramids will not be built by slaves. Our legacies will not be left to singular souls whose names echo of the voices of the narcissistic and depraved.
We built this place before.
We will build this place again.
Through anthems of collective strength we bring the hallowed halls of what is considered sacred to a turning point.
After which there will be no returning to what this ground was represented.
Things they told us could never be changed, time they claimed ever existed. Become unlikely realities in disordered chaos of Decolonial rage.
We will not attempt to erase history, we have no collective power to do so.
We bring in to focus the understanding that we have the capacity to re-examine history – In so far as it has been told on behalf of us.
Through rejecting the Divine Right of Rule for the Racist Kings of Africa.
We shall return that which was taken that could never have been given.
And from the flames of change that shall engulf our minds and skies Afrika..
It shall be made clear to one and to all..
We owe “you” nothing.
No more Kings. No Masters.