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Timbuktu.


AI generated black woman face Timbuktu article geek speak

Photo Courtesy: Canva AI.

To be read under the influence of Iris by Goo Goo Dolls.

Every normal human being has a brain. A brain with three major sections: cerebrum, cerebellum and of course the infamous medulla oblongata, which is ever so fondly referred to by postmodern intellectuals who simply mean that we should think a bit more often. It occurred to me that I couldn't be grouped in this 'normal human being' group, for, somewhere in my brain, at the diversion of the grey and white matter, there existed a land: Timbuktu. A land I always got lost in. A land I loved, I cherished. A land whose pillowy bosom I rested on when, like Achebe, the centre could not hold, and things fell apart. My reality was the bitter concoction of a witch doctor's hut: it simply could not be gulped down except for a few painful sighs and extreme contortions of the face. But I digress. In Timbuktu I was somebody, the high priestess who united everybody and brought unending and ever-so-calming peace and cohesion. I sat on my throne on the right of the king: admiring how I had interceded to Chimo, and rains had recently fallen.


Parading my long, blue, beautiful garb and white gem stoned sandals around the kingdom, I was greeted by the ever-smiling locals whose happiness and bright white smiles rivalled the sun in their capacity to shine and glow. Timbuktu roads were straight, narrow and with deep trenches on the sides, Macadam hadn't dreamt of roads yet, I highly suspect he borrowed a leaf from here!!All the Grecian architects and engineers could not rival our smooth, beautifully fashioned roads, which we prided ourselves in. Timbuktuans were generally very happy people, there were no complaints of stubborn dictators who squarely rested on their thrones as if the seats were allocated and fashioned for their backsides and those of their ilk alone, we ate the bountiful fruits of our land and prided ourselves in having the best of both worlds: a traditional setting but the most developed gizmos and gadgets known to common man: vybranium had nothing on us!


Wakanda was a distant dream compared to the splendour of Timbuktu. But there was only one slight problem. Timbuktu was in my head. Society called me mad because one bold day I chained myself to vigilance house: shouting for justice, because I was tired, tired of being oppressed and having my opinions squashed the life out of. The day is imprinted upon my whimsical brain like the silhouette of African savanna grassland in the sunset. I screamed, shouted and cried, 'Sanctuary! Sanctuary! They must be crushed; we must defeat them! Cease and desist from oppression! Emancipate yourself from mental slavery!'(Yes, I'm a reggae fan) I hollered 'till my voice went home to its family and I sat on the cement, a crippled, chained, crying heap murmuring unfathomable words that only made sense to me. The men in blue did not slack and I was promptly unchained and carried off, thrown roughly into the police van, my crippled, polio-stricken legs unable to carry my weight. I was in every way the dregs of society. Masticated and spit out by a country which prided itself in peace and justice.


            I was thrown into the women's prison. The 10 by 10 public toilet I called home did nothing: you cannot lock up a mentally imprisoned person! The solitary sandwich shaped hole they chose to call a window did little to inform me of the time, and I sat and lay there crying, screaming, shouting incomprehensible words, harsh to the human mind. There were whispers of 'that mad one in cell 3' and 'the crippled mad woman'....at least in the few moments I was aware of my surroundings. Sooner than later, they moved me to another prison: this one would help me, they said. So here I am, in solitary confinement, at Umechizi mental hospital, happily thriving as the chief priestess of Timbuktu, a land that exists in my head. C'est la vie, right?

 

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