Birth of a Dark Nation Cover

Here is an excerpt from Rashid Darden’s Birth of a Dark Nation.

I stood at attention in between Eşusanya and Aborişade while my mother addressed the entire village for the final time. The sun had just risen and a cool breeze still blew over our land.   The vibrant blue sky and pure white clouds were ill suited for this solemn moment.

“My brothers, my sons, my friends. I stand here before you today with a heart that is both heavy and overjoyed.   It is heavy because I send you out into the world to continue our bloodlines. I say farewell to you, the builders, the soldiers, the philosophers. We will not forget your contributions to this culture. We know that wherever you go, wherever you land, you will keep the heart and soul of the Razadi with you. You will seed your communities with our tenacious spirit.   Our influence will be felt all across the land because of you.

“Even though we will miss you, we know this division is necessary for the survival of us all. Even now, a new generation grows. Olateju will be known as the matriarch of the next generation of our people. May all of you be patriarchs of the worldwide Razadi empire!”

Next to her stood the very pregnant Olateju and her Oyo husband, as well as Haruna, the satisfied general of the Oyo army.

“Ogundiya and Babarinde. Come to me.”

Our most senior leader and his deputy approached my mother. I could not tell what she was whispering to them, but I could see what she presented them: iron casks and two scrolls each.

Nervous whispers fell over the crowd. Were those the scrolls? The fundamental tenets of our beliefs and the history of our origins?

Abeo embraced each man and they rejoined the group, carefully entrusting the casks and the scrolls to their assistants. Abeo then descended into the ranks. She looked carefully into the eyes of about a dozen men, and nodded at them.   She didn’t speak at all.

I knew they were all her sons. So much time had passed in between our births that most of us weren’t terribly close.   They were no more my brothers than my peers were, as each man in our tribe respected one another the same.

She came to me and paused. Tears welled in her eyes and she leaned close to me.

“You, my youngest, are the one who will change the world.”

“I don’t want to go, Mama,” I said, choking on my tears.

“Go. Seek the new dawn. I love you.”

“I love you too, Mama.”

She took her place in front of her men for the final time and uttered but one phrase.

“May Olódùmarè and the Orishas forever protect you!”

“And you!” we shouted in response.


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