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MOKENA MAKEKA /  SOUTH AFRICA: MY AFRICA, 2015 I am African. I owe my being to the hills and the valleys, the mountains and the glades, the rivers, the deserts, the trees, the flowers, the seas and the ever-changing seasons that define the face of our native land. I am privileged to say how the dramatic shapes of the Drakensberg, the soilcoloured waters of the Lekoa, Igqili no Thukela and the sands of the Kgalagadi, have all been sets on the rural stage on which we act out the foolish deeds of the theatre of our day. There are times when I wonder whether I should concede equal citizenship of our country to the leopard and the lion, the elephant and the springbok, the hyena, the black mamba and the pestilential mosquito, as these creatures share our stage. I am the grandchild of the warrior men and women that Hintsa and Sekhukhune led, the patriots that Catchwayo and Mphephu took to battle, the soldiers Moshoeshoe and Ngungunyane taught never to dishonour the cause of freedom. My mind and my knowledge of myself are formed by the victories that are the jewels in our African crown, the victories we earned from Isandhlwana to Khartoum, as Ethiopians and as the Ashanti of Ghana, as the Berbers of the desert. Being part of all these people, and in the knowledge that none dare contest that assertion, I shall claim that – I am an African. I am of a nation that will not allow fear of death, torture, imprisonment, exile or persecution to result in the perpetuation of injustice. My nation does not expel fellow Africans or conditionally exclude people from this land. All of this I know and know to be true because I am African. Mokena Makeka, Founder of Makeka design lab. Architect, Africanist. Courtesy of Makeka Design Lab 166  BELONGING


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