Black Looks - Including an African LGBTIQ+ Archive

Poetry

Gold Diggers

For the gold diggers of the Sahara

I had nothing before
I have nothing now
Life, there is only one life
One like the other

What brought me here was poverty
to dig and dwell in the tunnels
of sweat, mud and death

We all men, hard strong pounding our lives
we are so tired, arms aching with bear feet
Colours of the night in the day
red and orange, dust and mud mingle
muscles ripple with pearls of sweat
and the smell of deep musk

I had nothing before
I have nothing now

Pride, love of land and people
I honour and respect those that went before and long for those that are now
When you abandon your home
your heart sinks
we dream of mothers, wives and children
far across the land

I had nothing before
I have nothing now

I have tasted little pleasure
only the well of invisible gold holds me up
How can I leave it behind?
abandon who I am
I am the woman you raped
the child born of hate
I am the revolution that failed
I am the warrior that will not surrender
If I die, I am not really dead

I had nothing before
I have nothing now

Allah! before, now and after
Allah! who covers my soul
cradles my suffering
Allah! I am with you and await your reward

Life, there is only one life
One like the other

Sokari Ekine – About 10 years ago I watched a documentary on the gold diggers of the Sahara. Their story inspired this poem.

7 Comments

  1. Very powerful post. It read like a prayer.

  2. “I had nothing before
    I have nothing now”

    reminds me of Africa.

  3. Comment by post author

    Sokari

    No we had plenty before – this is a lament – a dedication to those men and women who spend their lives toiling for little or nothing – for all those that walk the desert and foreign lands in search of the means to support their families – exiles from their lands – young men and young women.

  4. P.S. Check out the forum I currently have going on my blog for a week. xxx

  5. Really great, Sokari. Thank you.

    I am the revolution that failed
    I am the warrior that will not surrender
    If I die, I am not really dead

    I had nothing before
    I have nothing now

    Perfect.

  6. A very well-written poem, moving. Of course today you could substitute the word “children” for “men”, or the words “salt copper tin cobalt coltan” for gold, and still be accurate in your poetic visions and descriptions.

    Sad, ain’t it? Really sad. Seen the latest Reuters AlertNet Child Danger Poll 2006 reports? It’s all in there, all over the world. No poems though, at least not this good.

    O.K., I’m gone…