Poet and Playwright, Sharkmellon (real name Shakiru Akinyemi) has had and seen enough of the debilitating effects of corruption and greed, perpetuated by the ruling class and their cronies across many African countries.
His frustrations and fears are contained in his latest poem, “Merchants of Accra And Lagos”.
Sharkmellon provides the background and inspiration behind this spoken word poem:
It’s about that cancer that’s spreading through every fabric of our society: top to bottom, bottom to top. “Merchants of Accra and Lagos” is a synecdoche for Africa, and seeking to identify these people who are profiting at the expense of the continent.
I just want to see a more equitable community, country and continent where everybody has equal access and opportunity. Where individuals see themselves as part of the whole so that they don’t think about themselves only in the way resources are allocated and expenses but to think of the general good.
Sharkmellon captures the exploitative behaviour of the ruling class on their citizens in these lines:
“These merchants of Accra and Lagos –
plant holes and moles and tolls on every corner,
guard their sacred notes and abandon the flag to rot,
Big toes crushing children’s bones on the statue of Nkrumah,
And wiping their feet with the remnant of flag while eating american bread with asian butter”
He further invokes the economic hardships that once hit Ghana in 1983 to illustrate his fears of us returning to that era if nothing is done to stop the economic rape of the country.
“Each time I sit here in this forlorn cubicle – watching inmates queue for crumbs, I dread a day, I dread someday, that my children and I will have to queue again for grains,
While waiting for these merchants of Accra and Lagos to cart in food through our shores and seal their reputation as the faceless cabals”