Book Excerpt – Into Africa: A Personal Journey

Into Africa: A Personal Journey
by Yvonne Blackwood

    Publication Date: Sep 01, 2000
    List Price: $15.95
    Format: Paperback, 193 pages
    Classification: Fiction
    ISBN13: 9780968227497
    Imprint: Abbeyfield Publishers
    Publisher: Abbeyfield Publishers
    Parent Company: Abbeyfield Publishers

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    Copyright © 2000 Abbeyfield Publishers/Yvonne Blackwood No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission from the publisher or author. The format of this excerpt has been modified for presentation here.

    “On Sunday afternoon Adamson and I returned to Labadi Beach. I did a double take when we entered the gate. The empty stretch of beach I’d seen on Thursday, was covered almost every inch, with people: black people, white people, brown people, all lying on colourful beach towels, beach chairs, or just spread out on the sand. Children built sand castles; others buried themselves in the sand; vendors moved between bathers carrying glass cases on their heads from which they sold snacks, while bartenders dashed back and forth serving drinks. Several more beach umbrellas were added to the ones I’d seen on my first visit. Some made from cloth, advertised Star beer and Heineken.

    Suddenly, drums sounded. I looked up from the umbrella table that Adamson had secured for us that we shared with three of his friends. We were drinking Star beer while Adamson sipped orange juice. As I sat in the intense heat I began to feel mellow, ready to soak up the entertainment. Close to the semi-covered bar was a slightly raised platform. A six-piece band consisting of drummers, and players of a few other peculiar percussion instruments, had taken their seats quietly on stage. Drums sounded again and this time eight dancers, dressed in colourful costumes, pranced on stage. They began to dance to the beat of the drums. The dance steps were choreographed to depict different stories. Energetic dancers performed as if they had no vertebrae, supple bodies gyrating to the African rhythm. The audience stamped their feet and clapped their hands to the beat. It was contagious, I found myself doing the same. There is nothing quite like the beating of African drums. The sound resonates inside your chest, your heart, your very soul.

    I closed my eyes. I felt that the drums were talking to me, calling me, welcoming me. I visualized my ancestors as if I were watching a three-dimensional movie, proud Ashantis, dressed in yellow, red and green kente clothing, strings of beads swinging around their necks and ankles, dancing, and laughing, free as wild mustangs. What a pure, happy life they must have enjoyed on the soil of this huge continent until … I didn’t want to think about the until. Yet vivid scenes from the movie Roots, flashed through my mind. I saw young Kunta Kinte fresh from manhood training, being captured by some white men. As if he was a wild animal, they put chains around his neck, hands and feet. The frightened boy screams a blood-curdling scream, a cry of desperation, hopelessness, of fear. No one comes to his rescue. Why, oh why, did this terrible thing happen to my ancestors? Before my tear glands began to spew, I forced myself to slip out of that reverie and return to the scene in front of me.”

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