Brown man’s burden

About 12 years ago, in 2002, on my first visit to Accra, Ghana, I was given a lighthearted article on how difficult it is to understand the local dialect of English, how yes doesn’t mean yes, and so on. 12 years on, that article seems neither innocuous nor lighthearted.
The brown comprador having just been
Orientated to the dark can set about 
                      Keenly on sharing his
                      Part of the white burden.

Learn quickly young man the terms of
Trade: if 'capacity building' doesn't
                      Bump your gooses, repeat
                      'Sustainable' three times
Before bedtime. Learn quickly, brown
Saheb, your place in the scheme of 
                      Things, in the scheme
                      Of schemes, oh burden

Of burdens. Listen too to the inaudible
Wail inside chiming with the volume of 
                      Silent moan around you, about you, 
                      And wait, wait till it becomes a howl.

2 comments on “Brown man’s burden

  1. Munira says:

    That’s what I’m talkin’ about!

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