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2009

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Zumunda
Aracelis Girmay

1. Ngubi, 1908

Zumunda, whose head habits high heir,
beige baritone king flashes royal in the daylight—
whose elephants run through, oh, gentle traffic of the god-grey chattle beasts.

2. Encyclopedia Brittanica, edition 2, 1988

Zumunda
[noun]

zoo/moon/dah, popeulayshun: niw mil/ee/on. Flara end faunah    
eenclude sauch lovelies oz giraffe end bush paypole, maw
advanced, on ahvridge, thanthee block mon ove ohtha nay shuns,
they possess a keeng with gray eyes ond theah preences plah ee
polo.

3. Transcription: Account of a traveler as published in the MacDowell’s book of AFRICA ON A SHOESTRING (2007)

“Still, the Africa I love most is the Africa I saw in Black Zumunda.”

I used to think African people were straight bush from the bone, even though, you know, I’m African, like, way, way back, you know. But I still used to think that.

My first time in Zumunda, I was real surprised to see Africans so well behaved. So well civilized, they only got naked when it was time to. [hesitation] [laughter] When it was time to, you know, procreate or dance. Not so different, right, except they were leaping high all animal-like and rolling around kind of pretty like jungle cats, and wild, too, like you didn’t know if they were going to get jackal on you & bite you, or put you in some juju spell.

But Europeans. They try to teach us our history wrong. We’ve got to go back to see for ourselves. Right. Which is what I did. We’ve got beauty in Zumunda to talk about for days. White people always try to keep the blue eyes and the yellow hair to themselves, as if they were the ones who invented beautiful. In Zumunda, though, the king is light, see. And the Queen talks white. Real African. But Zumunda Zulu’s different from Shaka Zulu & even hip-hop Zulu. And I’ve seen a lot of places.

I’ve been from Mogadishu to Timbuktu through the back roads of Takoradi and Nubia there. Still, the Africa I love most is the Africa I saw in Black Zumunda. It’s a utopia, right. No babies starve. No wars, AIDS, famine, drought. Nobody dies. There are no flies in Black Zumunda.