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Shackles to Triumph: Resurrecting the Resilient Slave Narrative

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Street Art photo by Skendong in The Gambia

The Slave Narrative That Documents Hitherto

Kunta Kinte in 1767 was happily seeking wood to make a Djembe when he was captured, bound and blindfolded. One month later he was sold to Master Waller. Do you remember the days of slavery?

In Kunta’s part of town, there existed and still exist at least six tribal languages from Wolof to Mandinka. So when Kunta rejected the name Toby we hear the meat-tearing flash of the cat o nines whip that ultimately changed his mind. He’d ran away four times. So faced with castration or a foot cut off, he held his tongue and settled down into an apparently miserable existence.

Centuries later, an avalanche of Toby’s descendants with names like Derek and Tobias, not only own the master’s mother tongue, but play – recreate and alter structures of syntax, rhythm and flows as this brown skin Brummie girl’s rhyming goes:

“0, 1, to the 2, 1,
Yo, bredrin where your hairline gone?
I can’t believe the cheek!
Some men wake up and don’t even brush their teeth!”

Another Poem: Back in the Day

*YouTube – Lady Leshurr: In fact, she’s a Lady:Queen’ Speech Ep. 4*


Author Skendong

Metamorphosing Clunky Narratives

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