Banji Adewumi: The Will Wanes While Waiting

by | Oct 18, 2023 | EDI | 14 comments

The Will Wanes While Waiting

Time waits for no one
So, the saying goes
when you are waiting
You know it is so.

Thoughts of the past
Thoughts of the present
There are so many things to think about
While you are waiting

Waiting for that very thing to happen
Is becoming more of a burden
I don’t know if I will be able to enjoy it
Oh, when will it happen
Or will it ever happen?

These are the thoughts of one who is waiting

So, what do I do,
As time goes by {To fill in the time}
For the will to wait is waning
And I have nothing to keep it by

I discovered that the waning will
needs something to hold unto
Something that will keep it
From fading out into the blue.

Time is past, present, and future
The past has already gone.
I’m choosing to imagine a future
Where the waning will has gone.

A future that is bright
With all the waiting gone
A future with no more waiting
As all that needs doing is done.

Oyebanji (Banji) Adewumi MBE

This poem was written a couple of months ago whilst I was going through a period of waiting for my luggage to arrive at my destination. It arrived a few days later, however, in the meantime, I had to buy some essential items that I needed whilst I was without my baggage.

That experience of needing to do something while waiting resonates for me as we mark Black History Month.

Many may ask why we have a month to celebrate Black History and some may respond by saying, why not?

Ideally, how beautiful it would be if the valuing of difference was the norm in society, sadly, that is not the case. Be it visible or less visible difference, there are several stories of where difference translates to having a less favourable experience when compared to other people.

Regarding Ethnicity, we still face the challenge of ensuring equity of experience and outcomes, whether in the workplace or for students. Not using the same brush to paint all, however, recognising that we still have a lot to do and rather than me speaking about society in general, it would be my responsibility to start by offering an invitation to consider what can I do to make it such that the celebration of difference becomes part of our fabric?

What would be my contribution towards understanding the history shaping the present experience of some of our colleagues? What can we do as a University to be recognised as an institution that is not only inclusive, but is shaping a bright future, where all staff and students are valued for who they are and what they bring.

I am one of those who is waiting, and just as my luggage arrived (eventually), I remain hopeful that I will experience that future where there will be no need to have a month to celebrate BHM, because it would be part of what we do all the time. In the meantime, I am joining many others as we celebrate the great achievements of those who in the face of adversity have made a difference in the lives of many.

For this Black History Month, I would like to recommend three books (yes, I have a copy of each, hence the recommendation 😊):

  • Dreams from my Mother – Dame Elizabeth Anionwu
  • My Name is Why – Lemn Sissay OBE
  • Africa is Not a Country – Dipo Faloyin

To view our full programme of events visit Black History Month 2023.


  1. Ushma

    You have beautifully described what we all think when waiting for things to be different.

    Thank you for sharing this Banji.

    • Banji

      Thank you, Ushma. Waiting for things to be different summarises it nicely.

  2. Neal Chamberlain

    Thank you Banji for bringing your perspective, and that of many others, to this audience. You have made me reflect on your thoughts, and I will follow-up on the book recommendations you have shared. Thank you for always bringing an original angle.

    • Banji

      Thank you, Neal for your feedback.

  3. Rebecca Farrington

    Thank you, Banji.
    I read this in the place where I work with people seeking asylum. Many of them have been waiting for decisions from the Home Office for years and years. Waiting to hear about their safety and how the rest of their lives will go. I witness their wills waning and hopelessness setting in. Your poem is a small bright spark of optimism that fortified me today.

    • Banji

      Thank you, Rebecca. In those circumstances, I can only imagine how fast the will would possibly wane. I am pleased to hear that this poem has sparked some optimism. Thank you for all that you are doing.

  4. Sheena Kalayil

    Thank you for a beautiful poem, Banji, which with its human-ness is a balm for these troubled times. And with its optimism is a call for action: don’t wait…do! I’ll take a leaf out of your book, Banji.

    • Banji

      Thank you, Sheena. I love your description ‘balm for these troubled times’

  5. Cecilia Medupin

    This is a beautiful reflection Banji,thank you. Thanks also for recommending these books.

    • Banji

      You are welcome, Cecilia.

  6. Fiona Devine

    Thank you for your lovely poem and book recommendations Banji. I have read the first two – which are very powerful – but not the third one so I shall order that one now.

    • Banji

      Thank you, Fiona

  7. Anusarin Lowe

    Thank you for being the voice for those who are different. In cultures, societies, institutions and places, we have waited and are still waiting for those who are different from the majority to be treated fairly. As with the urgency of climate crisis, we can’t afford to passively wait for this change so I am with you in asking all of us in the University community what we can do to overcome prejudices and to value and celebrate differences.

    • Banji

      Thank you, Anusarin for your words. Valuing and celebrating differences is vital and also in line with one of our values – Humanity


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