As we mark the *2021 African Writers Day*, join me as we seize take the opportunity to acknowledge some of the greatest African writers in this poem—DEAR WIND.
_(To commemorate the 2021 African Writers’ Day)_
If you are chanced
To see the spirits that gather to rage against me
Tell them I died before my birth
And, was born soon after my death
I am the Great Soyinka—the Returnee
The spirits of great sorcerers…
And if they ask
Why your sibling spirits died of bee stings
Tell them you met me,
Anyidoho—the cluster of bees
Never to dare a thought of my loss
To the eroding winds,
Tell them I am Okigbo—the soul of the reincarnated priest of Idoto
Save their tears
Of fears, if they ever thought I died during
The invasion of yesteryears;
Tell them I am Awoonor—born still in the placenta & yet full of life
I am Atukwei—idealistic, sensitive, inspirational…
And I am Lade’—
Fearless, full of passion & the bridge between the arts & the sciences!
Me, Ama Ata, the Saturday goddess twin,
I am Achebe—
Under the protection of the earth goddess…
And, I am the Brew who has since time past,
And woven them into fine verses to please the eyes & ears
Tell them I am Clarke—
Ever learning, ever knowing, ever writing
And I am Mitsali—
The messenger with accurate expression of situation…
When you’re chanced to cross path
With those who remain
Awake & sing my dirges from sunshine to moonshine,
Tell them I am alive!
Tell them I am
The Laureate from the Eastern corridor of Africa;
Intuitive, enlightening & the golden body of dreams…
And if still
They are lost to the words of your tongue,
Tell them I am Senghor!
The descendants of the gods!
The consolidated spirit
Of many parts made for eternal existence—
Tell them I am African Literature!
(First published in March 2017 and revised in April 2019 and 16 October 2020)
*Oswald Okaitei is a multi-award-winning young Ghanaian poet/Spoken word artiste and playwright. He is currently World Poetry Director based in Ghana and is the Project Ambassador for ‘Ghana Reads!’.*