If Africa had a Microphone

February 28th, 2018

ALA's Decennial Celebration was marked by powerful talks, moving speeches and, of course, mesmerizing performances. Student Assembly and the day's celebrations offered students the perfect platform to showcase their creativity.  

We offer a taste of these sensational performances with a video by ALA alumna Titilayo Mabogunje, Nigeria's first slam champion in the annual War of Words competition, who is now a pre-med undergraduate at Yale University and  a prospective Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology major.

See her in action in the video below, and read between the lines of Katai Lutanda Mutale and  Dumebi Gloria Akukwe's potent spoken word poem on Africa, below. They were accompanied by drummer Chimfeka and dancers Won Sun, Shekinah, Naa Shome, all directed by Joy Shilluk.

#ALA10 Decennial Spoken Word - Titilayo Mabogunje

Looking for more talks and panels: See all the videos and coveragefrom our Decennial Symposium and Gala.



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If Africa Had a Microphone

Can you hear it?

The drum

The one that brings her children dancing

Can you hear it?

Her voice

Beckoning you to come to listen to her.

In the midst of all her fears of the world, she stands strong.

Her skin is littered with precious wealth that shakes the world

Nature is her Throne room.

Her footsteps sound the beating drum of my heart

Her music announces a dawn of prosperity

Her arms embrace the warmth of the sun of hope

Making her dark, beautiful and mysterious

But it is in her darkness her stars are born

Oh how rich they are! Everyone proclaims but

It breaks her heart

When they sell that raw gem for something fake.

How it breaks her heart

When her children turn against each other

If only you could see, she weeps.

From the echoes across the Continent

Of pain-laced cries

And hands lifted with knives                 

As chains of my brother drag mine across the Sahara


I, we and I, stand accused of neglect and abuse

As we have turned a blind eye on mine.

Mine that are ripped of dignity

As they walk on water to search for milk and honey

Forsaking the land of green and gold liquid

With weights of corruption, betrayal and disdain dragging necks to the bottom of the deep

My children.

You are blessed beyond reproach

Dance in my arms, little ones

And shine like the nations you are meant to be.

She screams through nature

She screams through their education

But they cannot hear her voice

If only they knew, Mama weeps,

If only they knew.

As they fight,

They also tear me apart.

I stand before the assembly of the old

As they with questions probe

The disappearance of the 234

The calloused hands of pick axe kids in the DRC

The slave chains stained with black blood


They asking why?


Moses said let my people go or the Nile will turn crimson

And we let our people go and the Mediterranean is bloody with my siblings 

I, we and I, stand accused of neglect and abuse

For, I and we have turned a blind eye on mine


Can you hear it?

The voice

Maybe if Africa was given a microphone

We would hear what she has to say

About how we are treating her today

But I won’t ask

If you hear her voice

You already have

The Question is:

Will you listen?


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This is an article from the Decennial blog, which shares insights, stories, and videos from ALA’s tenth birthday. Visit the Decennial blog here.

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