Origins of the Dusty Foot Soldier…

I awake every morning not sure of what peanuts I might make today. The system, the system, the bloody system. They say those in power enjoy the fruits more, I say, those in power are not ruling me. They ‘gats’ nothing on me. How can you lead a people who are non existent.

The Origins of the Dusty Foot Soldier.

I was listening to K’naan’s Dusty Foot Philosopher…deep song that one, and thus the name the Dusty Foot Soldier…I drove to the ATM in my father’s car today, and while there, I saw this lady, dusty shoes, dusty feet and a black skirt turned brown…she was sweating all over, and besides her was this young lad, dressed in a partial school uniform. He had the big soled shoes, dusty as well, school socks and a sweater, yet I believe, he was in the holidays.

When I joined the queue, the lady decided to go behind me. I was struck dumb as to why this happened, and the security guard seemed to point at her saying, if she was not here to withdraw any money, she may as well leave.

Her face tattered and frustrated and a hanky all wet and dirty, I could tell she had been trekking all day. She reminded me of my mother years ago. Her son had the look. The look I once had.

I stood in line, wondering. Well, I wasn’t any different now. I liked wearing tattered and torn clothes not because I was broke but on the contrary, I appreciated where I came from, the hustle and grind. My mother used to walk to work before it became fancy and political. She had never really finished school. But now, a successful educated lady, rich and comfortable…all these memories help me connect with the Dusty foot soldier. He is not alone.

As I withdrew the money, a gentleman finally arrives and you could see the joy. It might have been an uncle, it might have been a guardian. I waited to see what was going to happen. The young Dusty Foot Soldier could see the jubilation on the mother’s face. The one that told them tomorrow was going to be a better day. As she got the money, she knelt down, but you could see the knees almost give way from exhaustion. Niceties were exchanged.

As I walked away, I saw the mother and her Dusty foot soldier prepare for another trek. There feet. There feet. There feet. The ladies shoes almost torn, the strings almost giving way, the trinkets  missing. She quickly glanced at her son, held her hand and begun the trek again. The speed at which they walked told the story. This was not their final destination.

We have all been Dusty footed soldiers. I was a dusty foot soldier, maybe the streets of Kampala were cleaner then, but I walked thee walk. I used to use a taxi at age I cant let my younger sibling use for I fear they might get lost or get snatched but I didn’t mind it then. In my first year at high school, as I sat aboard a taxi going back to school, I met a colleague scared shitless at the back seat. It was the first time he had set foot in a taxi by himself. I was shocked at the thought I laughed myself silly. I had used this all my life, what was he using?

I speak spoken word, write written word, inspire, desire, talk about the Dusty Foot Soldiers because like any soldier, if you stick to it, you rise in rank…and maybe one day when you are driving the big car, you dont forget where you came from. The streets marked with your footprints should never be forgot.

To all the Dusty Foot Soldiers.


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