Mama Afrika

here's an essay i wrote for English this year based around the colours and rhythms of Africa; since it's more of a descriptive essay than a narrative, i thought i'd post it as a writing exercise. let me know what you think of it, and feel free to write about where you're from and why you think it's beautiful :)

Africa is alive with colour and sound. She is overrun with it; it bursts forth from her in a glorious display of wild beauty. People who do not know her are unaware of her every-day magnificence, but it is there - a vibrant explosion waiting for those who simply dare to look.

The hills of Africa are swathed in green; her extensive mountains are majestic, purple-robed royalty. After a night of indigo darkness, the sun begins to rise and the sky erupts, a volcano of colour, orange and yellow spewing from the horizon. Azure dominates the expanse of day-time sky and ripples through the waves along her coast, where multi-coloured fish swim silently by, enigmatic and beautiful.

There is a certain darkness in Africa, too; she is rife with blackened crops and barren soil. For centuries, she has been plundered and exploited, her land raped of its wealth and splendour, her children stolen and forced to work for the benefit of others. A vicious crimson has stained the ground; there are wounds here from untold injustices which still bleed. And yet in spite of this, she holds hope, golden and gleaming, in her injured hands. Stronger than the pain that has enfolded her, Africa looks forward with a song in her heart.

Africa’s rhythm can be heard everywhere: in the cadence of a poet’s words and the shuffle of thousands on their way to work each morning, in the pounding of a musician’s drum, the stomp of a dancer’s feet and the swing of a mother’s soothing lullaby. The animals of Africa keep her pulse: the stealthy tread of a lion as it stalks its next meal, a herd of springbok running in time, the rapid beat of a hornbill’s wings. The wind moves mysteriously through the trees, shaking their branches into applause for their mother Africa’s display of rhythmic excellence. 

There is a rhythm of rejoicing in Africa, a palpable explosion of joy amidst the daily throes of life. Alongside it runs a rhythm of mourning - a low keening cry for those who are lost, and a deep aching throb for those who will not return. The pulse of a heart, strong and sure, alive in this land of love and loss, entwines with the endlessly wandering rhythm of life and death. When you are an African, you walk along with this rhythm no matter where you are, for this is the beat of your bones; this is the song interwoven with the core of your being.

The lessons which Africa teaches with all of her colours and sounds are simple: look, listen and love. Whether you live here or not, there will always be truths to learn from this land, and the first is this: when it comes to colour and rhythm, there is no place on earth as alive as Africa.

The End

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