For the black person, the traumas of the past, far and near, will always persist into the present – and more than likely extend themselves into the future*. History has made them inescapable. In being inescapable, we are constantly grappling with them and eventually force ourselves to confront and acknowledge their truth.
For me, it begins around 1270AD: the Mapungubwe Kingdom and VhaVenda of southern Africa. I am in a constant cycle of coming to terms with my ancestral past while simultaneously seeking it in order to mobilise it within the present day. All the while being a long-term resident on this very western and foreign soil. Soil I have conditioned myself into understanding as one of my homes since the age of 6. And below, is perhaps the beginnings of a short story I imagine I would tell my 6-year-old self.
The white creature lingered in the dark pit of blue, foamy water, intently waiting for, and perhaps almost daring the outsiders to make any sudden gestures towards the water. Its eyes were a frozen fire, its snout moist, only a few centimetres above the water, its gaze burned into the bodies of the outsiders.
It heard whisperings; something about “samples” ... “analysis” ... “abilities” ...
Shortly after, a grey, curly head with green binoculars loosely hanging from its neck edged towards the foamy water. The head crouched down by the bank, and from its pocket withdrew an empty glass container. A ray of scorching sunlight partially pierced the container. The ray then refracted into the right eye of the creature. Instantaneously awakening its sensory glands. PRESERVATION.
*s/o to Jacques Derrida for putting into words feelings I once did not know existed words for.