By Tikum Mbah Azonga
I was born under a zinc roof
And raised under a zinc roof
The zinc roof is all I knew in my childhood
I rubbed shoulders with it daily
I enjoyed listening to it as it withstood torrential rain
But I also saw it rust and change colours
Like the chameleon.
Yet I didn`t know
Lots of other things about it
I didn`t know
It had a chemical formula: Zn
Or that zinc came from magnesium limestone
And was a sulphuret
I didn`t know about the ore being roasted
Blended with charcoal and then
Transformed into vapour, condensed and fused together.
I didn`t know all of that
Today when I return to my father`s compound
I hate to look zinc in the face
Why should I?
After all it betrayed me
It kept knowledge away from me
It hid it from me deliberately.