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Saturday, 13 January 2018

Hesitant Love

Hesitant Love
By Lebogang Tlou

Hesitant Love
Original short story published by Lebogang Kote Tlou
Original Publication.
Copyright (c) Lebogang K. Tlou 2018
Hesitant Love (R) is a trademark registered by Lebogang K. Tlou
The right of Lebogang K. Tlou to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the British Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988.
All the characters in this booklet are fictitious, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Condition of Sale
This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired out or otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser. Furthermore, this book is sold subject to the additional condition that the author retains the right to publish and redistribute through what means are deemed most necessary – both in terms of profit as well as to ensure readership.
It had been years since they had seen one another. A lot had changed. She had a beautiful baby daughter who looked just as she did. He wasn’t the father. He remembered how he had been taught to rather kneel before instead of bending down over children when speaking to them.
“What’s your name, little one?” Sam asked.
“My mommy says I mustn’t speak to strangers,” the little girl replied. Sam laughed, gave a stern nod and rose to his feet.
“Your mom is right,” he said. “And I am a stranger after all.”
Although he was smiling, he knew Crystal saw right to the core of him – to the place where he kept all his sadness. She knew Sam wasn’t angry; after all, he had no right to be. They had broken up. She fell pregnant two years later and made the choice to keep the baby.
“How are you doing, Sam?” Crystal asked.
“Oh, I’m the same as always, you know? And yourself?” he asked, knowing that avoiding the question wasn’t the wisest of moves. He felt he had to. Sam knew she had given birth to a beautiful daughter some years back, and knew that Crystal could never love him the way she once did. He knew she had moved on with her life, and so too had he. However, seeing her again brought back a whole world of feelings; and seeing her extend so beautifully into youth made him wish that he had been the one to father her child with her.
“Same as always too,” Crystal replied. He knew that this was in response to his curtness, and so Sam made haste to fill the space with words before she got bored of his passive aggressiveness and walked away.
“I’m sorry I missed your pregnancy,” he said. “You probably had that ‘pregnancy glow’ enhance your beauty ten thousand fold.” To his surprise, Crystal laughed at his words, and blushed a little.
“My nose grew fat along with every other part of me,” she said. “This is Luthando. Luthando, this is Sam. He is one of mommy’s good friends. Say hello.”
“Hello,” Luthando said.
“Hi, Luthando,” Sam replied, kneeling down once more. He stuck his hand out, gesturing a handshake. “I’m Sam. I’m pleased to meet you too.”
They shook hands. Crystal couldn’t help but smile at the scene. She wished she had brought her camera. The moment was picture perfect. At that moment, an ice-cream truck came cruising from around the corner. Crystal swore she saw both Sam and Luthando’s eyes light up at the same time as they turned, almost in unison, in the direction of the approaching truck. Sam wondered if Crystal were still a fan of soft-serve.
“Yes, you may join us for ice-cream,” Crystal said, saving him from asking. “However, only if it’s my treat.”
The three of them walked into a park. Crystal and Luthando sat on a bench, while Sam crossed his legs on the floor at her feet. She laughed, realizing that he hadn’t changed a single bit.
“You still floor it,” she decided to point out what was self-evident.
“You have a cool daughter,” said he. Crystal wondered if he was saying something else, when he realized how ambiguous he had sounded and added, “I mean it. Remember, cool people love ice cream.”
Crystal laughed, remembering how this used to be their thing back in their final year at university.  She always loved how he had a knack for not pointing out the obvious. She knew he was wondering if the father were still in the picture.
“He pays child support, and visits her from time to time,” Crystal said, saving him once more from having to ask.
“I wasn’t going to ask,” said Sam.
“I know, Sam, but I can hear your mind wondering,” Crystal said. “There are tell-tale signs with you when you over think.”
Sam laughed heartily for the first time that he remembered doing so in years. He longed to tell her about his life as a billionaire and how he made his fortunes from writing and producing content, however he always struggled with opening up – and her departure from his world had made it even harder for him to bring himself to doing so.
“What have you been up to?” She asked. Sam sighed in relief, had a mouthful of ice-cream and decided to open up fully for a change.
“I’ve been writing, producing, directing, acting, investing and representing brands across the globe,” he said. “I wrote some of the episodes for the new Elijah Woods mini-series that just came to the telly. That was pleasant to do. And yourself?”
“I work for a Solar-Energy company, and raise Luthando full-time,” Crystal said. “That’s great what you’re doing, Sam. You’re living the life you always spoke about living back in varsity: travelling the world, writing, making a name for yourself. I actually watched your film LoveS the other day. It made me cry, it hit home so hard. It was almost as though the characters were –...”
“They were, Crystal,” Sam said, staring fixatedly at his snow cone.
“Mommy, is uncle Sam the one who made that movie we did see on Saturday?” Luthando asked.
“Yes, sweetie, he did make it,” Crystal replied to her daughter. She lowered her voice and, in hushed tones, whispered to Sam: “I really wish you hadn’t told me that, Sam.”
“It’s full transparency,” he said.
“Then be transparent with me,” she said, barely containing her agitation with him at that point.
“There is no other way I could have imagined today going any better than what it is now,” he said. “There is nowhere else I would rather be, and nothing else I would rather be doing.”
Crystal believed him. She knew that in this moment, that was his truth, because that is all he ever spoke. She felt at home, and so too did he.
“Mommy, I have a pee,” Luthando said, and Sam knew it was time for she and Crystal to go where he could not follow, and that the time had come to say goodbye. This time he felt it best to be brave and ask what was on his mind.
“Crystal, can we maybe hang out again sometime, like, at the weekend or something? I mean, it’s cool if you’d rather not, and I’d totally get it, but it would be nice to, you know, hang out again, like today?”
“We’ll see, Sam,” she replied, and he knew that only time would tell indeed if they ever saw one another again. “Say toodles to uncle Sam now, Lulu.”
“Toodles, Uncle Sam,” Luthando chirped.
“Goodbye, Luthando,” said Sam. “Cheers, C.”
Crystal wondered if he would find her, and imagined he probably wouldn’t bother after her response to his request. She knew it sounded like a no, and imagined it was probably for the best in any case. Sam wanted sorely to get back in touch with Crystal. He knew how to, he simply felt she would have said yes if she wanted him in her life, and so he respected that she had her new life with her daughter and made no attempt at complicating it. It was fate, however, that had other plans for the both of them. A month later, while shopping for clothes with Luthando, Crystal saw Sam walking across the street from inside a store. She hadn’t imagined that he would still be in town. Almost simultaneously, he looked into the store, saw her, stopped, smiled sheepishly and broke into a fit of giggles. She could not help but laugh too. He entered and made his way towards mother and daughter.
“Hello, Uncle Sam,” Luthando chirped. “Look what my mommy bought for me!” He was shown a pretty, pink swimming costume, a pair of stylish boots for children, and a couple of quirky t-shirts.
“Woah,” Sam chimed. “Those are really cool. What are they for?”
“It’s because mommy says smart people have to always look the part,” Luthando said.
“I agree with your mommy,” said Sam. “And boy will you look like the smartest child in the whole town with this lot of cool clothes.”
Luthando laughed.
“Hello, Sam,” said Crystal. “I thought you would have left town by now.”
“Hey, C.” He said. “I extended my holiday.”
“Don’t you have to work?” she asked, and Sam remembered that he had never told her.
“I don’t,” Sam replied in a hushed tone. “I made my first billion two months ago,” he whispered. Crystal dropped the basket she had been carrying. Sam, remaining true to his acting background, reacted instinctively and caught it before it landed.
“Did you just say - ...?” Crystal asked, and Sam simply nodded. “Congratulations, dude!” She stopped talking, noticing how tears were welling up in his eyes. She could tell that he was sad, and that they were joyless tears.
“Please don’t cry, Sam,” she whispered hurriedly. “What’s the matter?” He shook his head.
“I was actually looking for you,” he said. “I don’t know what made me look up, but I was actually looking.”
“You looked up and saw me moments after I had looked up and noticed that you were walking outside,” Crystal said. “It was one of those moments of fate, except I know I wasn’t looking for you.”
“He sought to ask if dinner could be had somewhere child friendly?” Sam said.
“My place is the most child friendly place to have dinner,” said Crystal, “That’s if he doesn’t mind being bored by –...” she lowered her voice to a barely audible whisper, “... random children’s stories? Lu can really talk for hours.”
Sam beamed, forgetting all else in the world. Nothing else mattered to him beyond the two queens he would be dining with at that point.
“You say random, I say inspiration for content,” he chuckled, and it was settled.
“Look, mommy! A Bumblebee!” Luthando screamed excitedly, pointing at the shop’s window, where a bee was buzzing aimlessly against the sill, trying to get in. Crystal wrote her address down on a piece of paper and handed it over to Sam.
“It’s impossible to get lost in this town,” she said. He laughed remembering how he had wound up lost the other day searching for the hotel where he was staying. He decided not to mention it.
“I’m sure I’ll find it,” he said. “May I bring wine?”
“Please do,” said Crystal.

Sam excused himself politely and went on his way. A thousand thoughts suddenly bombarded Crystal. She hadn’t expected to see him again after she had blown him off so suddenly the last time. She wasn’t going to invite him over to her place either, however, the words came out before she could stop them. He had that power over her still; she felt far too free around him, and it annoyed her. She was flattered that he had been searching for her, however she knew Sam was a Romantic and logic was often overruled for Romanticism in his head – ideals and whimsical fleetingness. He was charming, regardless, and she caught herself wondering if perhaps this wasn’t a second chance at life with a man she once loved. She decided in that moment that she would not allow him to spend on her at all, and she wished he hadn’t told her that he was a billionaire. She remembered how spendthrift he was, and how he loved spoiling and being spoiled.
“Mommy, is uncle Sam coming over for supper?” Luthando interrupted Crystal’s internal monologue.
“Yes, my darling. Come, let’s go get a great meal ready.” Crystal said.
“Mommy, can we have burgers and chips tonight?” Luthando asked.
“Yes, my baby, we can.” Said Crystal.
“Mommy, can I help you make them?” Luthando pleaded.
“Please and thank you, my love?” said Crystal.
“Yes, mommy, please can I help, and thank you.” said Luthando. Crystal laughed.

Friday, 29 December 2017

First Kiss

He was dancing, he knew, regardless of how his feet moved. He was pleased with himself, feeling as he had after swimming his first successful laps in a pool. He felt as though something big had occurred, that a milestone accomplishment had been achieved. She lead his every step, guiding him towards fluidity. The song ended, and they both collapsed onto the sofa in fits of joyous laughter.
"This night will live forever," she said, and he gave a series of stern nods in agreement. She took him by the hand and lead him outside. Following her had come naturally to him; she was the way, and he was the seeker of a new world to live in harmoniously. He sought only to be held by her, and she had craved only companionship - a friend with whom to feel safe and free.

It had been a couple of months since they had first met. She had cut through his layers of his personality, and found his soft core - where who he really was had been hiding from the world. She knew that the person she was falling so rapidly for existed deep within the secretive man she had met, and so she worked him out slowly, allowing him to bloom as beautiful flowers surely did in the spring time. Daily, she watered him, nourishing his soul with her love.

She never felt the urge to spell it out for him that she was falling in love until that moment, as they sat on her balcony enjoying the starry night sky. She bit her tongue. To her utter astonishment, he kissed her hand, muttering words she could not hear.

"What was that?" She asked.
"It was a prayer for unity," said he.
"What is that language?" She followed up.
"It is the first tongue of mankind, called Sanskrit," he said. "I have fallen very deeply into a state of affection for you."

She startled, amazed at how his eyes betrayed how very truthfully he had just spoken.
"I for you," she replied softly. They looked into each others eyes as visions of what could now be filled both their heads. He believed that they were seeing the same world, and so he said little more and decided to remain present in her midst.

"It's almost been two months, and you haven't so little as tried to kiss me," she questioned.
"I have never kissed someone before," he said. "Like, I have been kissed, and I have reciprocated; however it pains me to have to make the first move, invading people's personal space like that."

She smiled, understanding what he was saying. She knew how painful it was to have your space invaded and your safety threatened by a person bearing down on you with intention. She squeezed his hand, and inched her face slowly towards his. At first he was startled, until he realised she was kissing him, and he kissed her back.

As every night surely does, this one ended too. Dawn came, and with the rising sun came a new day, and they both had offices to get to. They lay in bed, realising that being late would possibly be the outcome. Her bed was perfect, he felt. They fit on it precisely. She turned to lay her head on his chest and listened to his beating heart. He simply lay there and breathed for a moment. He spoke first.

"May I spend tonight with you?" He asked.
"You ask me this every day," said she. "Why do you ask every morning when we already know that you will be here after work, with me, remembering how to love again?"
"Because every day is new; as are we new every day," he said. "You make decisions too, sugar, and it's important that, you know, there be consent."

She kissed him again at his words, and a new day began.

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Perfect Combination

It wasn't hard being close to her, and feeling her being herself around him. He couldn't help but smile. He had his fears, his own daemons to slay - and she disallowed any of his and her own from getting in the way.

There was no stopping the tide, the way all the pieces could be set was fixed, and they both knew the rules. He felt her wonder if he really saw her; if he really saw beyond the oddities she found in herself. Words weren't enough to express to her that there were none in her he could find, which relaxed and eased his soul into remaining present.

In her eyes, he saw his own beauty mirrored perfectly right back at him, sparkling with twn thousand memories from a great lived experience. He accepted that her true passions were her own to reflect as she pleased, and she felt him enjoying her sanctuary.

The feelings swirled as his tongue worked to remember the letters within the words which expressed themselves, articulate and crisp. You are brave. You are breathtakingly beautiful to me. Your world is a beautiful arena, where the great are welcomed to reach their optimum levels, and where the curious are rewarded.

"Answer the question, honey," she coaxed, realising as he spoke that he tended to go into himself. He relaxed a little, learning fast what she meant by staying present. There was no pressure, after all, to be anything beyond what they were, which was enough.

"I have," he said. "There are no answers. It is what it is," said he, which was his way to be. He saw her accept him, and she felt his heart open a lot more as it burst. Within it she found a lot which lay buried for too long, trapped by his own mind over years of becoming as he was.

He refused to mask how she made him feel from her. It all came out of his mouth, however the perfect combination of letters eluded him.

When she closed her eyes, he mouthed a prayer of gratitude - an eternally devotional praise, giving thanks that she had found him at last.


It was dark still outside when he stirred with a gasp. He drew a long breath, and exhaled deeply, sighing in relief as he realised where she was: beside him, nestled. Her knees bent, and he found himself pulled into an embrace by their warmth as they gently found his chest. His eyes were closed. He enjoyed feeling loved. Love, he knew, expressed itself as it chose to. Love is a hello, followed by a gesture of sharing in time, followed by the exhilirating invitation to simply be who you are and to remain true to that being, and to share the experience openly.

In the morning when she woke, he felt her depart from his side. It wasn't cruel, it was the way it had to be for the world not to shutter, crash and end. There were duties to fulfil, hours to experience and a whole new day was coming alive outside. She wished he could communicate that he was enjoying himself around her. He was. She looked into his face, and she couldn't help but feel a slight panic. He felt like a secure place; a space wherein she could drop all her guards and defenses, a nest to sleep in peacefully. She was. His guard was down, and his defenses lay abandoned at the door where he had chosen to leave them as he entered into her universe.

Soon, the sun had risen and it was time to go. A part of him wished to stay and wait, and a part of her wished to stay and continue falling - however they both respected the world and its natural sense of order.  Being with her was a feeling, and its beauty intoxicated his entire system. He believed that the world would work to bring him back to this place.

"I hope I didn't force you into anything, or bore you," she said as she came out of her bathroom wrapped in a gown. He stared, the words so far and removed from what he was experiencing that they sounded foreign to him.

He wished to embrace her assuringly, and remind her that some of the beauty in sharing space and time with another existed in the silent moments, the bursts of dance and explosions of singing and the wonders of expressing sincerely in the moment. She had taught him this. He remembered how stiff he was, and wondered if she had't perhaps mistaken this about him for absence in the moment.

"Schweet One, I never get bored, and I am hard to force into anything. Everything that I perceive in you is beautiful, yet that is not simply based on how you look but also what you say and how you say it, and you make it all worth while - so, to answer the question, no, you were a solutely incredible to me and your company is a relief. If all I had was this night, it would be enough for me. You allowed me to be submissive - and I hope it wasn't boring."

She laughed. He had done it at last! He had communicated how he was feeling in the present, from another present - sure - yet she could not help but feel herself being right there in it with him.

"You know that feeling where you know you have to go to work, but you would rather be doing something else?" She asked as she prepared to leave.

"Last night, I spent the evening with a person who has never woked a day in her life, because every act of service to her is a pleasure."

She smiled, remembering herself. He giggled, feeling that he wished to stay in her company for the day too. He also saw that even though a part of her wished to stay, the world beyond the threshold to her universe awaited, and that was her true bliss. He wanted to ask to walk her to literary heaven where she spent her days, however she insisted that he relax, have a soak and begin another new day remaining true to himself as he was. In her he felt he had found the perfect peace, a perfect combination of letters which made turned nothing into many remarkable somethings that made sense to want to wish to keep.

She left for the day, and soon too was he gone back to whence he had come. The world would seenits way done, as she would, and as surely as would he.

The roadtrip had begun, and the destination would present itself when it so desired. In that moment, being where she was felt to be the most incredible experience he could imagine. She was in him, and around, and he was safe inbetween the gentle winds of her tenderness.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Her storybook: Volume One

"Emperor Olo'Ng was a humble man, leading a humble life in his humble empire which consisted of a handful of humble and noble chieftains in his regency. Emperor Olo'Ng never wished for a war of this nature to befall his lands, and never before had he nor his people believed that such horrors as metal ships from the sky with explosive arrows would come. He and his tribesmen fought hard against the invaders, however they were no match for the heavy artillery fire which rained hell down on his lowly subject." Siphokazi concluded her lecture on the humble African Emperor who fought valiantly to keep his lands. She looked at her students, a hybridized model which represented the world she now lived in. It was different now, in all the best of ways. Ever since the reforms to the Educational system in her country, she had become liberated to teach truly emancipating moral anecdotes in her lectures, however Siphokazi knew in her soul that there was more to be done beyond catering to an auditorium full of gawping gazes, staring, transfixed by the mind blowing information they had just been fed as a collective. A hand raised to the air. She knew Thabiso had something to say. He always had something to say. He was young, adventurous, curious, brave, and exciting to host as a friend in her own private quarters as she had done last night. She smiled.
"We have a question?" Siphokazi said.
"Is Emperor Olo'Ng a metaphor for Emperor Haile Selassie I in this text?" Thabiso asked. At this point, many of the students who had at this point heard rumors of the infamous Emperor Haile Selassie I had become most popular among neo-Afrikan revolutionaries, Pan-Afrikanists and Cultural Ambassadors across the entire united diaspora.
"We cannot be certain," Siphokazi began explaining. "All we know of the author is that she had been a Rastafarian when she wrote, and that she was learned. Does that feed your mind?"
The lecture ended, and Siphokazi found herself relieved. It was evening when she found herself once more in her student's arms.
"You have a lot of male friends," Thabiso said out of nowhere.
"Does it bother you?" Siphokazi asked. He shrugged, and simply squeezed her tightly and nestled his head into her neck, grunting that he was conceding and snuggling up instead of debating at this point. Siphokazi shrugged him off and withdrew a little. A gentle breeze filled the space between them, causing her nipples to stand erect and his spine to shiver a little.
"Is having a lot of guy friends really that big a deal in a relationship? Do you feel threatened by your girls friends?" Siphokazi asked, a stern tone in her voice. Thabiso sighed, realizing that the only way back to his former state of comfort was through opening up and sharing a bit more about himself, to a person he had only just met. Siphokazi had had a series of relationships in her life, and none were as thought-provoking and stimulating as her affair with Thabiso. She admittedly found a sense of amusement in knowing that engaging in such activities with a student were frowned upon, however she felt liberated and emancipated by her PhD into actually living her life, and so she did. Now, however, she wondered if her relationship with Thabiso were about to unravel too, because of her choice in social companionship.
"My ex-b
ae came home one day and said, "dude, so and so kissed me." in the past," Thabiso said, cautiously, almost as if afraid his ex would hear him speaking of her. "I asked her, "Was it at least a good snog? Sorry your space was invaded. I could get pissed, or I could accept that you're hot and a dude had the sackage to kiss you." and she was shocked, and I was like, shmeh, fam, I took acid that year, so I was at my most mellow in life super zenned out. Now, I'm post-acid living a great life, enjoying a beautiful overstanding of live and let live. And now there's you, an older woman with a PhD who lectures me in Afrikan History. You should be free to be friends with dudes, dudettes, dudes who enjoy sharing in sexuality with other dudes, dudettes who enjoy sharing in sexuality with other dudettes, dudes and dudettes from other races are most welcomed, and life's too short to be damn petty about stuff that doesn't matter. In fact, you are free."

Siphokazi allowed him to once more cuddle her. The energy around him had become most irresistible, and she longed for him deeply, yet he still wished to speak, and she regretted prompting him, because he would speak until he had had his fill of his own voice where she wasn't careful.
"Like, lovers should just play chess every night, I feel..... Enlightening form of sexual express --" Siphokazi kissed him in mid-expression. The power went out, and thunder rumbled outside their bedroom window as a fury of rain came cascading down, pattering harshly against the windows. Lightning crackled, sending oscillations through the sky, illuminating the beach beyond the mountain and the dark, furious sea crashing into the shore from the vast, black Indian Ocean. Siphokazi enjoyed watching Thabiso sleep it off. He was beautiful when he slept, his locks falling around him. She knew she wasn't the only one. In his dreams, he tended to call on a Tammy, and sometimes she would speak through him. At first, this had unsettled her, coming from a very traditional family, which believed in cultural practices. At breakfast, Siphokazi decided to ask him about who Tammy is. They were sitting in bed, enjoying a mystical sunrise. 

Monday, 17 July 2017

Foundations for African Unity - Inspirer : Emperor Haile Selassie

Reblogging: Karabo Buang, April 25 2015 Post

HIM Emperor Haile Selassie I
May 23rd 1963

Emperor Haile Selassie I

Areas of Resistance
"Africa's victory, although proclaimed, is not yet total and areas of resistance still remain. We name as our first great task the final liberating of those Africans still dominated by foreign exploitation and control. With the goal in sight, and unqualified triumph within our grasp, let us not now falter of lag or relax. We must make one final supreme effort, when so much has been won that the thrilling sense of achievement has brought us near satiation. Our liberty is meaningless unless all Africans are free. Our brothers in the Rhodesias, in Mozambique, in Angola, in South Africa cry out in anguish for our support and assistance. We must urge on their behalf their peaceful accession to independence. We must align and identify ourselves with all aspects of their struggle. It would be betrayal were we to pay only lip-service to the cause of their liberation and fail to back our words with action. To them we say, your pleas shall not go unheeded. The resources of Africa and of all freedom-loving nations are marshaled in your service. Be of good cheer, for your deliverance is at hand.
"As we renew our vow that all of Africa shall be free, let us also resolve that old wounds shall be healed and past scars forgotten. It was thus that Ethiopia treated the invader nearly twenty-five years ago, and Ethiopians found peace with honour in this course. Memories of past injustice should not divert us from the more pressing business at hand. We must live in peace with our former colonisers, shunning recrimination and bitterness and forswearing the luxury of vengeance and retaliation, lest the acid of hatred erode our souls and poison our hearts. Let us act as befits the dignity which we claim for ourselves as Africans, proud of our special qualities, distinctions and abilities. Our efforts as free men must be to establish new relationships, devoid of any resentment and hostility, restored to our belief and faith in ourselves as individuals, dealing on a basis of equality with other equally free peoples.
"Today, we look to the future calmly, confidently and courageously. We look to the vision of an Africa not merely free but united. In facing this new challenge, we can take comfort and encouragement form the lessons of the past. We know that there are differences among us. Africans enjoy different cultures, distinctive values, special attributes. But we also know that unity can be and has been attained among men of the most disparate origins, that differences of race, of religion, of culture, of tradition, are no insuperable obstacles to the coming together of peoples. History teaches us that unity is strength and cautions us to submerge and overcome our differences in the quest for common goals, to strive with all our combined strength, for the path to true African brotherhood and unity.
"There are those who claim that African unity is impossible, that the forces that pull us, some in this direction, others in that, are too strong to be overcome. Around us there is no lack of doubt and pessimism, no absence of critics and criticism. These speak of Africa, of Africa's future and of her position in the Twentieth Century in sepulchral tones. They predict dissention and disintegration among Africans and internecine strife and chaos on our continent. Let us confound these and, by our deeds, disperse them in confusion. There are others whose hopes for Africa are bright, who stand with faces upturned in wonder and awe at the creation of a new and happier life, who have dedicated themselves to its realisation and are spurred on by the example of their brothers to whom they owe the achievements of Africa's past. Let us reward their trust and merit their approval.
"The road of African unity is already lined with landmarks. The last years are crowded with meetings, with conferences, with declarations and pronouncements. Regional organisations have been established. Local groupings based on common interests, backgrounds and traditions have been created."
Goal Unity
"But through all that has been said and written and done in these years, there runs a common theme. Unity is the accepted goal. We argue about means;  We discuss alternative paths to the same objectives; We engage in debates about techniques and tactics. But when semantics are stripped away, there is little argument among us. We are determined to create a union of Africans. In a very real sense, our continent is unmade; it still awaits its creation and its creators. It is our duty and privilege to rouse the slumbering giant of Africa, not to the nationalism of Europe in the Nineteenth Century, not to regional consciousness, but to the vision of a single African brotherhood bending its united efforts toward the achievement of a greater and nobler goal.
"Above all, we must avoid the pitfalls of tribalism. If we are divided among ourselves on tribal lines, we open our doors to foreign intervention and its potentially harmful consequences. The Congo is clear proof of what We say. We should not be led to complacency because of the present ameliorated situation in that country. The Congolese people have suffered untold misery, and the economic growth of the country has been retarded because of tribal strife.
"But while we agree that the ultimate destiny of this continent lies in political union, we must at the same time recognise that the obstacles to be overcome in its achievement are at once numerous and formidable. Africa's people did not emerge into liberty under uniform conditions. Africans maintain different political systems; our economies are diverse; our social orders are rooted in differing cultures and traditions. Further no clear consensus exists on the "how" and the "what" of this union. Is it to be, in form, federal, confederal or unitary? Is the sovereignty of individual states to be reduced, and if so, by how much, and in what areas? On these and other questions there is no agreement, and if we wait for agreed answers generations hence, matters will be little advanced, while the debate still rages.
"We should, therefore, not be concerned that complete union is not attained from one day to the next. The union which we seek can only come gradually, as the day-to-day progress which we achieve carries us slowly but inexorably along this course. We have before us the examples of the USA and the USSR. We must remember how long these nations required to achieve their union. When a solid foundation is laid, if the mason is able and his materials good, a strong house can be built.
"Thus, a period of transition is inevitable. Old relations and arrangements may, for a time linger. Regional organizations may fulfill legitimate functions and needs which cannot yet be otherwise satisfied. But the difference is in this: that we recognise these circumstances for what they are -- temporary expedients designed to serve only until we have established the conditions which will bring total African unity within our reach."
Action Now
"There is, nonetheless, much that we can do to speed this transition. There are issues on which we stand united and questions on which there is unanimity of opinion. Let us seize on these areas of agreement and exploit them to the fullest. Let us take action now, action which, while taking account of present realities. nonetheless constitutes clear and unmistakable progress along the course plotted out for us by destiny. We are all adherents, whatever our internal political systems, of the principles of democratic action. Let us apply these to the unity we seek to create. Let us work out our own programmes in all fields -- political, economic, social and military. The opponents of Africa's growth, whose interests would be best served by a divided and balkanised continent, would derive much satisfaction from the unhappy spectacle of thirty and more African States so split, so paralysed and immobilised by controversies over long-term goals that they are unable even to join their efforts in short-term measures on which there is no dispute. Let us give neither comfort nor encouragement to these. If we act where we may in those areas where action is possible, the inner logic of the programmes which we adopt will work for us and inevitable impel us still farther in the direction of ultimate union.
"What we still lack, despite the efforts of past years, is the mechanism which will enable us to speak with one voice when we wish to do so and take and implement decisions on African problems when we are so minded. The commentators of 1963 speak, in discussing Africa, of the Monrovia States, the Brazzaville Group, the Casablanca Powers, of these and many more. Let us put an end to these terms. What we require is a single African organization through which Africa's single voice may be heard, within which Africa's problems may be studied and resolved. We need and organization which will facilitate acceptable solutions to dispute among Africans and promote the study and adoption of measures for common defence and programmes for co-operation in the economic and social fields. Let us, at this Conference, create a single institution to which we will all belong, based on principles to which we all subscribe, confident that in its councils our voices will carry their proper weight, secure in the knowledge that the decisions there will be dictated by Africans and only by Africans and that they will take full account of all vital African consideration."
Foundation For Unity
"We are meeting here today to lay the basis for African unity. Let us here and now, agree upon the basic instrument which will constitute the foundation for the future growth in peace and harmony and oneness of this continent. Let our meetings henceforth proceed from solid accomplishments. Let us not put off, to later consideration and study, the single act, the one decision, which must emerge from this gathering if it is to have real meaning. This Conference cannot close without adopting a single African Charter. We cannot leave here without having created a single African organization possessed of the attributes We have described. If we fail in this, we will have shirked our responsibility to Africa and to the peoples we lead. If we succeed, then, and only then, will we have justified our presence here.
"The organization of which We speak must possess a well-cumulated framework, having a permanent headquarters and an adequate Secretariat providing the necessary continuity between meetings of the permanent organs. It must include specialized bodies to work in particular fields of competence assigned to the organization. Unless the political liberty for which Africans have for so long struggled is complemented and bolstered by a corresponding economic and social growth, the breath of life which sustains our freedom may flicker out. In our efforts to improve the standard of life of our peoples and to flesh out the bones of our independence, we count on the assistance and support of others. But this alone will not suffice, and, alone, would only perpetuate Africa's dependence on others.
"A specialized body to facilitate and co-ordinate continent-wide economic programmes and to provide the mechanism for the provision of economic assistance among African nations is thus required. Prompt measures can be taken to increase trade and commerce among us. Africa's mineral wealth is great; we should co-operate in its development. An African Development Programme, which will make provision for the  concentration by each nation on those productive activities for which its resources and its geographic and climatic conditions best fit it is needed. We assume that each African nation has its own national development programme, and it only remains for us to come together and share our experiences for the proper implementation of a continent-wide plan. Today, travel between African nations and telegraphic and telephonic communications among us are circuitous in the extreme. Road communications between two neighbouring states are often difficult or even impossible. It is little wonder that trade among us has remained at a  discouragingly low level. These anachronisms are the remnants of a heritage of which we must rid ourselves -- the legacy of the century when Africans were isolated one from the other. These are vital areas in which efforts must be concentrated."
Development Bank
"An additional project to be implemented without delay is the creation of an African Development Bank, a proposal to which all our Governments have given full support and which has already received intensive study. The meeting of our Finance Ministers to be held within the coming weeks in Khartoum should transform this proposal into fact. This same meeting could appropriately continue studies already undertaken of the impact upon Africa of existing regional economic groupings, and initiate further studies to accelerate the expansion of economic relations among us.
"The nations of Africa, as is true of every continent of the world, had from time to time dispute among themselves. These quarrels must be confined to this continent and quarantined from the contamination of non-African interference. Permanent arrangements must be agreed upon to assist in the peaceful settlement of these disagreements which, however few they may be, cannot be left to languish and fester. Procedures must be established for the peaceful settlement of disputes, in order that the threat or use of force may no longer endanger the peace of our continent.
"Steps must be taken to establish an African defence system. Military planning for the security of this continent must be undertaken in common within a collective framework. The responsibility for protecting this continent from armed attacks from abroad is the primary concern of Africans themselves. Provision must be made for the extension of speedy and effective assistance when any African State is threatened with military aggression. We cannot rely solely on international morality. Africa's control over her own affairs is dependent on the existence of appropriate military arrangements to assure this continent's protection against such threats. While guarding our own independence, we must at the same time determine to live peacefully with all nations of the world."
Knowing Ourselves
"Africa has come to freedom under the most difficult and trying of circumstances. No small measure of the handicaps under which we labour derive from  the low educational level attained by  our peoples and from their lack of knowledge of their fellow Africans. Education abroad is at best an unsatisfactory substitute for education at home. A massive effort must be launched in the educational and cultural fields which will not only raise the level of literacy and provide the cadres of skilled and trained technicians requisite to our growth and development but, as well acquaint us one with another. Ethiopia, several years ago, instituted a programme of scholarships for students coming from other African lands which has proved highly rewarding and fruitful, and We urge others to adopt projects of this sort. Serious consideration should be given to the establishment of an African University, sponsored by all African States, where future leaders of Africa will be trained in an atmosphere of continental brotherhood. In this African institution, the supra-national aspects of African life would be emphasized and study would be directed toward the ultimate goal of complete African unity. Ethiopia stands prepared here and now to decide on the site of the University and to fix the financial contributions to be made to it.
"This is but the merest summary of what can be accomplished. Upon these measures we are all agreed, and our agreement should now form the basis for our action."
A World Force
"Africa has become an increasingly influential force in the conduct of world affairs as the combined weight of our collective opinion is brought to focus not only on matters which concern this continent exclusively, but on those pressing problems which occupy the thoughts of all men everywhere. As we have come to know one another better and grown in mutual trust and confidence, it has been possible for us to co-ordinate our policies and actions and contribute to the successful settlement of pressing and critical world issues.
"This has not been easy. But co-ordinated action by all African States on common problems is imperative if our opinions are to be accorded their proper weight. We Africans occupy a different -- indeed a unique position among nations of this century. Having for so long known oppression, tyranny and subjugation, who, with better right, can claim for all the opportunity and the right to live and grow as free men? Ourselves for long decades the victims of injustice, whose voices can be better raised in the demand for justice and right for all? We demand an end to colonialism because domination of one people by another is wrong. We demand an end to nuclear testing and the arms race because these activities, which pose such dreadful threats to man's existence and waste and squander humanity's material heritage, are wrong. we demand and end to racial segregation as an affront to man's dignity which is wrong. We act in these matters in the right, as a matter of high principle. We act out of the integrity and conviction of our most deep-founded beliefs.
"If we permit ourselves to be tempted by narrow self-interest and vain ambition, if we barter our beliefs for short-term advantage, who will listen when we claim to speak for conscience, and who will contend that our words deserve to be heeded? We must speak out on major world issues, courageously, openly and  honestly, and in blunt terms of right and wrong. If we yield to blandishments or threats, if we compromise when no honourable compromise is possible, our influence will be sadly diminished and our prestige woefully prejudiced and weakened. Let us not deny our ideals or sacrifice our right to stand as the champions of the poor, the ignorant, the oppressed everywhere. The acts by which we live and the attitudes by which we act must be clear beyond question. Principles alone can endow our deeds with force and meaning, Let us be true to what we believe, that our beliefs may serve and honour us."
Prejudice Opposed
"We reaffirm today, in the name of principle and right, our opposition to prejudice, wherever and in whatever form it may be found, and particularly do we rededicate ourselves to the eradication of racial discrimination from this continent. We can never rest content with our achievements so long as men, in any part of Africa, assert on racial grounds their superiority over the least of our brothers. Racial discrimination constitutes a negation of the spiritual and psychological equality which  we have fought to achieve and a denial of the personality and dignity which we have struggled to establish for ourselves as Africans. Our political and economic liberty will be devoid of meaning for so long as the degrading spectacle of South Africa's apartheid continues to haunt our waking hours and to trouble our sleep. We must redouble our efforts to banish this evil from our land. If we persevere, discrimination will one day vanish from the earth. If we use the means available to us, South Africa's apartheid, just as colonialism, will shortly remain only as a memory. If we pool our resources and use them well, this spectre will be banished forever.
"In this effort, as in so many others, we stand united with our Asian friends and brothers. Africa shares with Asia a common background of colonialism, of exploitation, of discrimination, of oppression. At Bandung, African and Asian States dedicated themselves to the liberation of their two continents from foreign domination and affirmed the right of all nations to develop in their own way, free of any external interference. The Bandung Declaration and the principles enunciated at that Conference remain today valid for us all. We hope that the leaders of India and China, in the spirit of Bandung, will find the way to the peaceful resolution of the dispute between their two countries."
Nuclear Danger
"We must speak, also, of the dangers of the nuclear holocaust which threatens all that we hold dear and precious, including life itself. Forced to live our daily existence with this foreboding and ominous shadow eve rat our side, we cannot lose hope or lapse into despair. The consequences of an uncontrolled nuclear conflict are so dreadful that no sane man can countenance them. There must be an end to testing. A programme of progressive disarmament must be agreed upon. Africa must be freed and shielded, as the denuclearized zone, from the consequences of direct, albeit, involuntary involvement in the nuclear arms race.
"The negotiations at Geneva, where Nigeria, the United Arab Republic and Ethiopia are participating, continue, and painfully and laboriously, progress is being achieved. We cannot know what portion of the limited advances already realized can be attributed to the increasingly important role being played by the non-aligned nations in these discussions, but we can, surely, derive some small measure of satisfaction in even the few tentative steps taken towards ultimate agreement among the nuclear powers. We remain persuaded that in our efforts to scatter the clouds which rim the horizon of our future, success must come, if only because failure is unthinkable. Patience and grim determination are requited, and faith in the guidance of Almighty God."
Collective Security
"We would not close without making mention of the United Nations. We personally, Who have throughout Our lifetime been ever guided and inspired by the principle of collective security, would not now propose measures which depart from or are inconsistent with this ideal or with the declarations of the United Nations Charter. It has withstood the test of time and has proved its inherent value again and again in the past. It would be worse than folly to weaken the one effective world organization which exists today and to which each of us owes so much. It would be sheer recklessness for any of us to detract from this organization which, however imperfect, provides the best bulwark against the incursion of any forces which would deprive us of our hard-won liberty and dignity.
"The African Charter of which we have spoken is wholly consistent with that of the United Nations. The African organization which We envisage is not intended in any way to replace in our national or international life the position which the United Nations has so diligently earned and so rightfully occupies. Rather, the measure which We propose would complement and round out programmes undertaken by the United Nations and its specialized agencies and, hopefully, render both their activities and ours doubly meaningful and effective. What we seek will multiply many times over the contribution which our joint endeavours may make to the assurance of world peace and the promotion of human well-being and understanding."
History's Dictum
" A century hence, when future generations study the pages of history, seeking to follow and fathom the growth and development of the African continent, what will they find of this Conference? Will it be remembered as an occasion on which the leaders of a liberated Africa, acting boldly and with determination, bent events to their will and shaped the future destinies of the African people? Will this meeting be memorialized for its solid achievements, for the intelligence and maturity which marked the decisions taken here? Or will it be recalled for its failure, for the inability of Africa's leaders to transcend local prejudice and individual differences, for the disappointment and disillusionment which followed in its train?
"The questions give us all pause. The answers are within our power to dictate. The challenges and opportunities which open before us today are greater than those presented at any time in Africa's millennia of history. The risks and the danger which confront us are no less great. The immense responsibilities which history and circumstance have thrust upon us demand balanced and sober reflection. If we succeed in the tasks which lie before us, our names will be remembered and our deeds recalled by those who follow us. If we fail, history will puzzle at our failure and mourn what was lost. We approach the days ahead with the prayer that we who have assembled here may be granted the wisdom, the judgment and the inspiration which will enable us to maintain our faith with peoples and the nations which have entrusted their fate to our hands."