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Debt Owed to Africa ©

Frank E Gibbard
London, England
2005

Trademark images of Africa spring easily to mind
Overly familiar icons of uniquely African kind.
People and nature herds of beasts,
African landscape famines and feasts.
Captured by camera and showed us all
Graphic pictures that still will appall
Of babes who need feeding midst famine or war
Emaciated masses only swine could ignore.

Want does not define Africa or categorise
The extent of it's ills which equals it's size
Some were caused by people and by people could be solved
We owe a great debt to Africa and we ought to get involved
With Aids and disease endemic
Bent leadership systemic
Faced by crisis and epidemic
What can they do?
But need this crisis last forever
If with vigour and endeavour
We faced up to it together
They may yet pull through.
We're taught Africa once was our motherland
From whence humans peopled each other land
Let's take every sister and brother's hand
Divisions may fall while good metaphor's stand.
United cause could restore this continent's health
And mine for better than mineral worth.
Africa's potential in this year 2005
Is there for the making and I hope it does thrive.
Africa, elephant and headaches
May seem an inevitable link
Which such a catch-all stereotype makes
For those who catcall sooner than think.
I've touched on Africa in this piece
A place I've never been
I'm hoping it's traumas will one day decrease
And harvests be fruitful to glean.
Am begging forgiveness from afar
For each and every "imperial" scar.


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