“See I’ve been thinking” by Hilja Eelu

By Brown Paper Bag Girl

I’ve been thinking about whether I can classify as a poet ’cause all those syllables are really short ramblings from the mind of a not-so-teenage girl. Short ramblings from the mind of a not-so-teenage girl.

Positioning. You see, I’m a black kid and I wouldn’t say I’ve benefitted from apartheid but I wouldn’t say I went to the schools I did because of it either. And before you slaughter me, I know it’s not about schools. Economic empowerment. False political power. I mean, I don’t know everything about my history as a Namibian, much less as an African. So I’m picking up stuff here and there and I’m listening to conversations and I know decolonisation must happen. I know it’s not okay that we think white people are smarter. Based on what, based on who? I know that everything is pretty much rigged to suit the white man. I know that they came with their law and made (and still make) us sign away our rights, it’s why you hear of black HIV positive women who are deceived then agree to have their wombs removed. Like who gave the white man the right to decide who may bear fruit?

I know a black man pays to be alive. Like you was an A student, right? And you get a good job working for a white C student who inherited a company from their grandmother (who by the way killed your grandfather after overworking him to the point of physical death she shot his mental stability out the window). But I digress. You see you’re the A student that lives in Havana, and you come all the way to Avis to manage a team that packs boxes or whatever. Or maybe you’re great and you’re meeting clients and chatting and having stimulating conversation but talk all you want, that money isn’t dancing on your tongue your money is going to the three taxis you use to get to work. Ha! As if you live in isolation, you got kids to feed. And a wife and apparently you can even afford a chick on the side and your cousin is here with their cousin because “you’re family.”

So positioning. People have been throwing a lot of big words around here. Like transformation. You know “trans” means across and beyond, right? As in: Let’s move beyond this form of civilisation into another one? I’m not even sure what it’s supposed to look like, let alone what we look like in it. All I know is sometimes I feel like I have the responsibility to do well for the sake of all the black females that will come after me, so as not to ruin the reputation of le black child. But anyway, new hip word is decolonisation. So I think about how my father doesn’t really talk about pre-independence life. Other than to describe school and how privileged I am in that regard. Which I acknowledge wholeheartedly. And I think he doesn’t want me to focus on the past. So he never talks about what the oppressors did to our people and the armies that invaded my village or where he was when my grandmother was hiding under her bed. And he tells me to read books that were not necessarily written by black people or people that are in the same financial situation as us but hey. Who can blame a man for wanting to push his kids forward in life?

I guess the point I want to make is this: am I supposed to decolonise my father?

Hilja Eelu is pretty young for her age. She is a female human who seems to have taken the weight of her country on her shoulders. She is a believer in the Namibian people. An aspiring polymath. Once referred to as a “vulnerable power”. Overall, she is a bit more than you’d expect, but a work in progress nevertheless.

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