Friday, 27 April 2012


It is 2am in Dublin, Ireland. The rains are threatening to strike the hard concrete ground of Trinity Hall again as students’ huddle in the quiet halls to study for the impending exams. Some students are awake studying away in their little rooms at their desks or crouched on the beds reading relentlessly in fear of failure while others struggle with the lure of the web as they recite their notes religiously.
My mind wonders from the law to life round and round again and again and I think listening to Miriam Makeba in the background about the events that led me to this part of my destination. This comfortable room in this large university studying the law.
I wonder about my culture and my heritage. I curiously listen to Miriam Makeba’s words that seem to sing to my soul. I have no idea what she is singing about. I do not understand her language; I do not comprehend the words she sings with such passion and conviction; but maybe I don’t need to.
Maybe that is the language of music. The emotions that the rhythm evokes; and for everyone it is a different theme. For me, well for me it is a lot of things. It makes me wonder about the Africa I grew up in which seems very different from the Africa I can hear in her words.
My head moves to the beat, my heart beats softly to the sounds of the drums, my ears listening comfortably to the soft voices in the background-a lullaby from my culture.
And I wonder about this Africa that seems very different from today. The Africa were the people appreciated their culture and celebrated it; the Africa that embraced the sounds of the soil and the voices of wisdom that poured from the lips of the elders.
I won’t say that Africa is completely gone...but I would say it is fading. I can feel it in Miriam’s words...her voice...strangely familiarly but not really...her words incomprehensible but yet completely understandable. I was curious...what was it in her words that made my heart and my head listen mesmerised? Why does the music speak to me so directly...and then I think I realize...her words are calling to my African roots .
It is as if my body understands the sounds of the soil but does not know how to channel it. Her words are like fresh raindrops refreshing a neglected part of my soul..the part that yearns to understand heritage and culture but does not. And this bothers me.
  I wonder how many children of the soil are in my position? Disconnected from home in a different world surrounded by the harsh weather of the foreigners and absorbed in their culture forgetting to remember theirs? And that truly is a sad thought...because listening to Miriam Makeba’s voice I become closer to understanding the importance of home and heritage. It is not something that you can escape and it is not something that you can forget it is a part of who you are. A part that soon becomes confused by the sounds of home when the familiar sounds of culture come within reach-an inevitable conclusion to an African story that is not fully complete.

Tolu Falode.

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