I have seen them coming in their droves,
Welcomed with both hands, calling them expatriates,
They drained our resources but paucity of help,
Then when I landed on their own patch,
It was different, they called me immigrant!
Accused of taking away all their jobs,
This is the life of countless African souls,
Unwanted and unloved, home and away,
Always in a fix, just like a cigarette,
On one end bitten, burning on the other!
It feels like forever, started on my homeland,
Authorities had promised freedom of speech,
But never intended freedom after speech,
Struggled with persecution and prosecution,
Thrown in and out of jail, no mercy or fair trial,
Escaped out of the country on the first chance,
Border-jumped, sewn inside of a dirty mattress,
Bumpy journey through a plethora of potholes,
No longer driving on the left side of the road,
But only on what’s left of the road!
Handed over all my inheritance to a cartel,
A syndicate that guaranteed a better future,
Then took the slow voyage across the ocean,
Depressing mood on an unseaworthy vessel,
Humiliated and stripped of all human dignity,
As we were tightly packed in like sardines,
Stuck in the same spot for dull days and nights,
Unforgiving waters vexing us with seasickness,
Abandoned at sea as we got closer to land,
Only rescued after a long anxious period.
More shame as countries shun us away,
Like a virus that no one wants to catch,
Briskly shifted from one state to another,
Unexpectedly moved from hostel to lodging,
In this passage, my opinion did not count,
The private landlord took all advantage,
Charged exorbitant rentals for I had no choice,
The boss claimed to comprehend my plight,
Paid me peanuts nonetheless, for own benefit,
Blackmailed with a threat of imprisonment.
Until this morning when I opened the mailbox,
There laid my newly-acquired citizenship,
I subconsciously recalled the day I left home,
Exactly 12 years, 8 months, 3 weeks and 2 days,
It has been a prolonged but resolute waiting!
Obviously elated but still a little apprehensive,
What change can this small piece of paper bring?
I don’t know yet but we shall soon find out,
As for now, I am determined to remain hopeful,
Help me celebrate, for today I am British!