Mad, Commissioned poem for Hamwe Festival’s “The Colonial Legacies in our Minds and Madness” by the University of Global Health Equity, Rwanda (2020).
I wrote this poem in contemplation of our dogmatic adherence to and total reliance on experts (colonialists), which tends to hide the negative effects of colonialism on our collective and individual psyche.
What is the correlation between the black race and madness? Where are the technologies for health which our forefathers built? Why are African healing models and techniques seen to be substandard, while Western models are forced upon Africans even when they don’t fit?
Why is the Law weaponized and used to segregate and dehumanize the mentally ill? Why is it a tool against those attempting to use African methods to heal them? Why is the African context so blurred when diagnosing Africans, especially for those who are loudly seeking social justice?
How can we even begin to dismantle colonialism, with all of its violence and oppression, if it is protected by our health systems?
I hope this poem can share hope with the mentally ill black man or woman, especially the depressed. I want them to know there is healing here, in their bloodline. In Africa.