What Am I but the Truth of My Home?

In Belonging, Season 3 by Sanyam Aggarwal


What am I, if not a warm anchor between cold and hot? If not the deepest taste of dark weather, or the mildest on a calm morning, If I doubt being a coffee to the cradle of humankind, then I am nothing but innominate. My sense of belonging arises with every whiff of aromatic caffeine. The bittersweet drink savors the truth of my home. It is astonishing yet comforting to experience the significant realization that we are the only people who get to exist as unique as ourselves. It is said that Africa has witnessed the emergence of human life, and the proof exists in the form of hominin fossils. We all belong to the homo-sapien species, and even then, I am my own person with an identity, value, and appeal like no other.

The rich, dark brown color of my land is as beautiful as the tint of black in my milk coffee. It symbolizes spirituality, maturity, and hope for a brighter future. Africa is a place of courage, unity in diversity, and astonishing resources. The effort, determination, and passion for the consumption of coffee by us are a cumulative step taken by the farmers to our favorite baristas. It narrates the reality of Africa’s heroic struggle for equality, freedom, and development. It speaks volumes about my soul as a black girl, the vision I have for my reality, and the path I make with every step that paves my way. My heritage, be it natural or cultural, ranges from mind-blowing aesthetic ornaments of different art forms, values, and beliefs, and with all its phases, it is similar to the wide variety of fruity, nutty, and bitter flavors of coffee beans.

The legend of Ethiopia’s misty valley is not only about it being one of the world’s largest exporters and the birthplace of coffee. It is also a metaphor for the land’s rich culture and tradition. Kaldi, a goat herder’s native apocryphal story, is frequently told. After observing the strength that his goats gained from consuming the cherries, he carried them to the monastery, where they were crushed and the beans raked off the flames. For preservation, it was poured into a jar and filled with boiling water. The brew was thereafter consumed by the monks, who claimed that it kept them awake during evening devotions. While this tale is entertaining, it is more than probable that the Oromo, a nomadic people, were the first to learn about the coffee bean and its stimulating effects. The mother continent is my provider, and her lap has served to be the comfort that comes from tasting coffee.

It is a crucial component of the culture as well. It is valued so much that the traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony was established as a ritual. First, the locally farmed coffee beans are washed and roasted. After the roasting is complete, the guests then enjoy the fragrances when the coffee is served on a ceramic tray or straw mat. The beans are then put in a Jebena kettle, pounded with a crusher and pestle, and fermented with boiling water. This coffee is typically served with popcorn. As it reminds me of how connected I am to myself and my home, I relish every sip of my coffee as sunlight hits the stone lying on my neck, glistening. 


I flourish as the hardest known natural substance. I sparkle with brilliance, as I am a metaphor for luxury. To become what I am today, I have withstood the test of intense heat and pressure for ages. This torment of time was no less than the calefaction of the Sahara desert, and the outcome is its eye-pleasing orange-hued sand dunes. I am reminded of every bit of blood, sweat, and tears that were shed by Africa to make it a place in this world. Similar to the process of diamond crystallization by structural rearrangement of carbon atoms, Africa has transformed from being a colony to having republican governance. The liberation of my country has unmasked new opportunities for me to upgrade myself. 

Diamond is a highly valued gemstone, not just because of its beauty but also because of the power it holds. Africa is like that rare and exquisite diamond. The natural beauty it possesses in the form of vibrant traditions, diverse fauna, and vast savannahs is truly captivating. Its strength and endurance know no bounds. The unbreakable spirit of this diamond comes from its very own citizens. The process of subduction for diamonds to be formed in the earth’s mantle is identical to the resistance, rebellion, and attempt to rebuild this great Alkebulan. Just as volcanic eruptions bring kimberlites and lamproites to the surface, African people and the fire within their souls have acted as a conduit for their history as well as the future they hope for.

The meticulous technique of polishing the diamond is as inspiring as the investment potential that Africa strives to achieve. The first glimpse of it can be seen in the Continental Agenda 2063, which is a tower of ideals, milestones, and operations for Africa to focus on globalization, the development of the educational industry, and sustainable infrastructure. The Egyptian-Hittite treaty is recognized by the United Nations as one of the earliest surviving peace accords in history. To date, the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme is proof that the trade of blood diamonds remains illegal in African countries. 

I have grown up listening to the legends and knowledge imparted by the griots of our town. The inflammation of our youthful population, creative market, and untapped sources are undying. I have lived by the philosophy of Ubuntu, which states, ‘I am because we are’. It made me learn the importance of compassion and my responsibility towards the community. My home is made of this interconnected and interrelated human network that is alive for the sole purpose of humanity.