My first book, ‘Love Sees Her’, is set in South Africa. Before my book was out, a British Nigerian acquaintance of mine posed an interesting question to me. He asked, why was my book set in South Africa and not in Jamaica, which is where I’m from.
This prompted me to think about unity, culture, and value systems…
I remember watching a programme on Netflix called ‘City of Joy’. It is set in the Democratic Republic of Congo and examines the horrific violence that has been happening there. The number of deaths there is higher than that of the Bosnian war. This is deeply shocking.
When I look at the state of affairs, I home in just for a moment on who is carrying out these horrific acts, and I see that the Congolese are carrying out these acts of violence among themselves even though it is influenced by the outside world. Something should be done to tackle this but there is no unity; no coming together to solve these life and death problems.
The Eastern part of the country is rich in the four most commonly mined coltan, tin, tungsten and gold. Every phone, laptop etc. is made from the material of coltan, yet with these rich resources within the country, the wealth is not being used for the better of the people.
I watched another documentary that got me to wonder about the complexities within humanity. The documentary, on BBC iPlayer, is named ‘Africa Turns the Page’ which features Chinua Achebe, Buchi Emecheta, Jomo Kenyatta and others. In the documentary, I noticed that some of the authors had an issue with the title “African Writer”, as if they were not proud of that title from their point of view. But shouldn’t you be proud of being from the African continent. If you are from there, your lineage is there and your plot is set in one of the countries in Africa, so, shouldn’t you be proud of that title. I would be, just as I am proud of Jamaica.
In light of the civil unrest since the inhumane death of George Floyd and black lives matter, I could see the thoughts formulating in my mind regarding these societal problems. There are complexities within the American black community such as class, wealth and more, but we all can agree that the death of George Floyd should not have happened in the way in which it did. This brings me to my point of unity.
My heritage is Jamaican, so I have that link to the black community. Before I say what I am about to say, I must say that I do believe in doing your best, achieving, and that no man is an island by themselves. However, from the recent events, I get the sense that some people within the black community come across as if they are having to prove themselves. And if not proving oneself then it is looking outside of the community for help.
I must say, that regardless of our lineage and nationality, when my God looks at us, He looks at us all the same and it is our hearts He judges and not by the colour of our skins, eyes, hair, etc.
Watching these documentaries caused me to see distinct issues. In America and England, I see black people having to prove or come up to statues to be inline with the white population. In the Congo I see that blacks are killing one another, and there seems to be no support from what I call the cream at the top of black society, who are living abroad with no concerns for those who have been victims of the militia groups.
We are like crabs in a barrel, but to what extent. I wonder how true this saying is when it comes to helping each other. Is there no unity because black people abroad are so busy with their own struggle that to a fair degree have forgotten the black people within the African continent. And do the rich and famous see this need too but also ignore. This is my quest to understand these complexities.