baobab

I pierce through stubborn terrain every morning
Cycle back through the grasslands in the afternoon
Our dilapidated school is a luxury in these parts
Most of my peers are cattle herders like their great grandfathers
Somehow they are able to count
And know every plant in the vicinity
Only attending the school at the top of the mountain

I don’t like school much
Teachers always talking about everywhere but here
I love the challenge of getting to school
The weather gets to add to the excitement
Periodically reminding me that the heavens can be unforgiving
When you’re going downhill on wet gravel
You get to understand gradient in your mother tongue
I take my chances with caution
There’s no emergency number here
Unless you regard a congress of baboons as paramedics
Or expect a pack of hungry lions to forgo a happy meal

Despite the dangers
I still have to get an education
I no longer want to be a doctor
Ebola kills all and sundry
Irrespective of qualifications
Nor do I want to be president
The soldiers have a tendency to run amok
Shooting the president for looting state coffers
Shooting the president for refusing foreign aid

I just want to be a well of knowledge
Like the old man in the village
Keep history stacked beneath the white of my hair
Watch the cycle of events unfold like an avid soccer fan
Tell stories to generations like the commentator on the wireless
Give perspective to the passing of time
Like the old man with a white crown
Grow old like a baobab

Copyright © knox mahlaba 2014

Author of: Back From The Dead: The Rising of an African Spirit

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