275-6: Tobacco, Sugar & Coffee

Whenever Baby cries, mother would fetch a bottle of tobacco leaves, coffee grains and sugar water, shake it up and give it to baby.  Delighted, baby would expose their black tongue and yellow gums. Baby goes to sleep and mother slave puts on her high heels and leaves for work.

Tobacco, sugar or coffee will never feed a community.  Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade kidnapped Afrikans and forced them to grow tobacco, sugarcane and coffee; cash crops that did not value subsistence but prioritized profit.  The expansion of such cash crops are one of the metrics that differentiate Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade from slavery within the Motherland.  Close-minded scholars would compare these different types of slavery to diminish the ruthless and continual effects of imperialism.  Look to agriculture as an indicator.  African slave-owners had slaves, yes, to grow cassava and subsistence crops to maintain the health of a society. Agricultural techniques and culture were shared between captor and captive because despite differences, there is a respect for humanity and a reverence for the ground that provides food.  Captives, in their lifetime, could have land and be leaders in their new community.

When tobacco and sugar were exported to Europe, it was not to sustain a population, it was to quench the bourgeoisie’s greedy addiction to luxury items.  European aristocracy had no vested interest in the humanity and culture of slaves, nor did they value the soil that provided them with the commodities they desired.  They worked both Afrikan and soil mercilessly.  They were not feeding families, just potbellies and egos.  Slavery sucks. But do not put slavery in the Americas and slavery within Afrika on the same level.

Advertisements
Image

Panafrikan dances

Panafrikan dances when and where they please.

Harlem-shakes in the courtyards of Harare

Isicathulo deep in the metro stations of Montreal.

Capoiera on rooftops in Grenada

Slow whine in front of cracked mirrors of high-school washrooms in Belize

Panafrikan can sway, lunge, lift, slide, whine-up, twerk, twist and shout across borders, checkpoints and coat check lines. Nuh mind dem.

Panafrikan rubs shea butter on their hard thighs.

Cassamance mango juice lick dry forearms as fruit flesh and skin fuse in the clenched black palms of dancer.

Sovereign and untaxed.

Panafrikan is not exotic. Not an anomaly to be praised, or shunned, or studied.

They are not the exception

Dancing since a time before their watches and their watches

Chuh.

Panafrikan, like Panafrikan, sings in sun and sense

Improvises on patterns of leaves and stories

Strikes decisive chords of Discipline Sharp

And chops a clean development

How yuh mean? Our Panafrikan!

Watch ah dance so sweet!

They must get it from they gran-gran so.

Feel ah whine so sure

they must get it for they gran-chile  so.

How yuh mean? We Panafrikan!

Briefcase hail mop and

Rake teach diploma.

Panafrikan dances where and when they please.

If you please. Panafrikan.