We are the ostracized labors
of the long-forgotten past generation.
We clap for the dead,
with hands stripped off worthiness
by the stains of blood
spilt over the carpet of our conscience.
We are the gymnastic masquerades
of blown away hopes.
That’s what we are,
we the dusty haired
hunger beaten and
that are blown around by ignorance
in a thousand somersaulting.
We eat your clap for the dead
to become the clap incarnate;
as we slap our legs against the sands
and slap our souls against the drum beats.
An ancient masquerade dance, a lively game of the youths, once popular in Esan Land, Nigeria. But it’s no longer popular because the present western-inclined young men now see it as old-fashioned now that the majority of the African society is striving to achieve a kind of social success which is unjustly defined by one’s valor in the art of being dislocated from one’s culture. It is the name for the dancers as well as the name for the dance. It literally means ‘Clapping for the Spirits’. This poem is a condemnation of those African Leaders of the past who though they upheld the African culture than the present leaders, yet it was they who sowed the seeds of the problems that is taking Africa decades upon decades to overcome. And also a condemnation for superstition and fetishism (the grandparents of African mediocrity) which earned them the negative reputation.