Oh God we are Slaves!
I am at the African Palace; an African bar and restaurant situated in a small strip mall in Seven Hills St Louis. It is a small hole in the wall restaurant, but one I try to stop over every now and again, there is so much about the place that reminds me of Zambia. It’s the atmosphere.
It is dark; the walls are painted in dark colors including black. The walls are scattered with flags representing different African countries. There is a huge flat screen TV mounted on the adjacent wall to the bar. There are about six booths and four round high tables with four stools under each table.
I pulled a stool out and rested my elbows on the table while I looked around taking note of the various flags scattered around the room. Nigerian, Ghanaian, South African, Ivorian and a Zambian flag next to a poster of the Zambian soccer team that won the Africa Nations Football cup. The atmosphere felt good, despite the odd décor which seemed a little out of sorts it had the feel of a small local bar and restaurant in Zambia.
The server took my order; I ordered a Guinness I wasn’t particularly hungry. A few moments later I was nursing my Guinness when Banda approaches me. I had been introduced to Banda a few days earlier. He is a Zambian with a compelling story to tell.
He was wearing a big black denim jacket, baggie jeans and converse canvass shoes. He is about five foot and six inches tall with a stocky build. He has a baby face, very smooth skin that showed no evidence of facial hair creating an illusion of his age. His hair was cut short but not styled in any particular fashion. Although we are both Zambian, our backgrounds are very different. I was fortunate I went to private schools and lived in what would be considered suburbia and I have travelled for leisure. I found myself in the USA by accident more than anything else, more of a romantic story. I didn’t come looking for opportunity, or because of political instability, or to run from poverty....