submitted by Nashe Mutenda
i fantasized about this dress
I google imaged it
i imagined myself in that dress
long before coming to Zimbabwe
before I even found the material
I dreamed of myself walking into Dartmouth formal
wearing A F R I C A N attire
flaunting my African-ness bold
and occupying this white space
with my own culture
I envisioned flamboyant colors
what white people would hastily define as
I envisioned vivacious shapes
one that would embody the energy
that is Z I M B A B W E
and my tetes jumped with joy
when they heard my wish
for even they could not imagine
that this girl from japan
would so boldly and earnestly yearn for her culture
and today that dress(es) made its way to my arms
the strength in the fabric
as it hugged my body like armor
I am a warrior, a queen.
I felt at home in my own body
this was something that was truly M I N E
something that I could claim as my own
my own culture
a piece of my world contained in the fabric
the vitality of Africa appropriately defined
in the patterns that told stories of lifetimes
I wore the dress again and I cried.
for I saw decolonization happen in front of my eyes.
I am an African
I am a Zimbabwean
I am Shona
I internalized this truth and let it be my guide.
all because of a dress that was made by the hands of my people only.
This piece was submitted to The Collective–a space for students outside of the Black Praxis staff to share their thoughts, opinions, and perspectives. The views expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect those of Black Praxis and its staff. To submit something of your own, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.