We have all heard the phrase ‘Young, Gifted and Black’ thanks to the epic song of the same name by Nina Simone.
And I’d like to reiterate those words here because clearly they’re not being said often enough in daily dialogue, conversations, even monologues. The monologues we say to ourselves every morning and every night before we go to bed. The pep talks that we have to give to ourselves daily. To be young, gifted and black. What a glorious thing to be.
So to my fellow gentle black brothers and sisters – you are young and you are gifted and you are black and you should shout it from every possible rooftop. From the lush gardens of Sandton to the vibrant streets of Soshanguve to all the wonderful, living, breathing spaces in between.
But here’s what I want to highlight: we are the last believers of our gifts, of our greatness. We hide, we apologise, we stutter, we make excuses and we sprint away from our talents and we bury them, deep deep down within ourselves and they wither away unnoticed. We don’t give ourselves enough credit to believe in our beauty, believe in our greatness and to believe that we have and hold the power to completely change the game.
Brother and sister. You are young, gifted and black.
Your blackness. Wear it like a mink coat. Your youth. Harness its pure power to make good in the world. To start the untelevised revolution. To light the fire that will recreate the world. Your gifts. Dig them up with that old shovel that sits at the back of your mind. Dig them up, polish them off and step, with a brave heart, into your untold greatness.
This is a challenge to you and I urge you to accept it. Brother and sister. You are young, gifted and black.
As a young, gifted and black child, what is it that stops you? What is it in the world that you think is holding you back from achieving what you know you can achieve? Your own mind’s limitations. The barriers that you erect yourself around the hopes and dreams of your foremothers, your forefathers, the soil, the sun and the moon. All the things that you can bear into existence. You hold it all so delicately in your hands. Because you are young, gifted and black and so, so, so much stronger and courageous than you give yourself credit for.
Change your daily monologue. Change it from “I can’t possibly do it”, to “My possibilities are endless”. Tilt your world so that you are standing on top of it, commanding your dreams into existence. Looking within for the strength to push you beyond your imagined limits.
Brother and sister. You are young, gifted and black. And no one can dare take that away from you. I repeat: You are young, gifted and black.
You should no longer tolerate the nay-sayers. The doom predictors. And the black cloud bringers. Do those people sound familiar? They should. Because they’re all within you. Expel them. Let them no longer pay the meagre rent they EFT to you to stay there, spreading negativity and doubt and gloom.
Open the window and say to yourself: I am young, gifted and black. Rise with these words every morning and let them spill onto your pillow when you lay your head at night. Because you are a soldier called upon to set the world alight with the glory of the black child.
by Babongile Zulu