This life lives in want of many things: food, shelter, health, education, security, good governance, hope et cetera. Yet this life is very happy in an African sort of way. A huge contradiction that a high-powered UN committee will not touch. A life in want of many things yet wallowing in plentiful supply of any kind of resource you could think of the whole world over; resources that the rest of the world will die for. Yes this African life is afraid of dying to have these resources and has evolved the survival trait to “get along” under any circumstance; not to rock the boat. So it has been for hundreds of years either under the rule of some intruder, conqueror or the fat thumb of some crazy, dangerous and despicable native despot.
The question is “Why do others still want to pile more misery on this African life?” Why overburden this miserable African life? Why do they toy with this African life? Why do they mess with this African life? And many have done just that! Think of the English and their kinfolk! Remember also the French, the Portuguese, the Spaniards, the Dutch, the Romans, the Germans. The list is long not to even mention the late comers. The early comers all materialised out of thin air in our lands and boldly claimed lands in the names of Kings or Queens. Hmm! And we nodded and screamed “Oh goodie! Go for your lives and leave us alone.” Remember these are lands they had never seen, lands they had never walked on, lands they had never worked. Lands that they mostly did not even know existed; lands and peoples they never knew or understood. They came in top hats and thick black woollen suits which they quickly discarded for safari suits and walking sticks.
By some cosmological design we connived with them to work against our own interests. With bountiful encouragement, we turned brother against brother and mother against daughter. And in no time these outsiders became arbitrators of everything African – land, people, resources, kingdoms, families, the air we breathe and the food put forth by the African soil. So they set forth to teach us how to live, how to breathe, how to eat, how to shit, how to read, write and think. We happily helped them cart away anything that was not anchored to the core of the molten earth to their motherlands to improve their miserable lives over there. And so it continued until some of our fellow natives lost their tempers and colonial thinking ways and made a fuss about self-rule. These native crazies threw tantrums and wailed “We will make our own mistakes”. And boy haven’t we made a few; urged on by the same arbitrators. But in spite of that we have managed to carve out a “modern” African life. Many think it is unenviable, tough, hard, vigorous, miserable, corrupt, viable, happy or sad or an eclectic mix of these. It is challenging but we love it. We love our African ways of life. We have settled into peculiar African rhythms of life. Not much but to many of us that is our lot. Ways of life we have to live out till our ancestors call us home from yonder… most of the time prematurely.
The 21st century has ORIENTALIZED Africans. We vigorously pursue people with religion-spiked oil money to invest in the African life. We also implore Asians to come and exchange our resources for pittance. And oh the modern-day Mandarin-speaking friends of Africa. We love them and they love us. We have the resources and they have the money, people and the will. We supply and they take; no questions asked! And so the brutal rape of Africa goes on orchestrated by the African life’s laziness, greed, short-sightedness and folly. Sweet! God save the African life from itself.
Did you realise the Americans did not rate a mention in our initial subjugation? They gave us the American Peace Corps, Hollywood, Motown, MacDonald’s, Mad Men and many more. Trojan horses in many ways and guises. Though late comers, they have been masters of the game. This nation of go-getters has its own way of passing around quinine to stave off our skin-deep-and-impetuous self-governing hubris. So just to make us Africans know “where the power lies”, NASA performed a specific astronomical magic. With Trumpesque confidence, we have incontrovertible evidence that NASA tweaked the planetary systems and orbits to force the sun to rise in the west in Africa – just to subvert everything that makes for the normal African life; just to de-synchronize African rhythms of life.
Empirically the African has been programmed to live a certain way and NASA hates that. The African life has been programmed to accept particular ways of life. Looking at just one aspect of this existential code, it has been programmed to live with crooked politicians. It accepts and adores its crooked politicians. The more crooked they are, the greater the African life loves and respects for them. The politicians are saviours and protectors. They make the African life easy to pursue; live in want and not many possessions to worry about. It makes the daily African life predictable.
As a public servant, the African life does not expect to be paid at the end of the month; the state coffers are empty man! The African life does not expect any service and function of government to run at all let alone efficiently. This makes the rhythms of life predictable and very easy to understand. The African life lives literally and figuratively in the dark. The tap vomits watery mud for clean pipe-borne water – that is if the African life has access to “clean” tap water in the first place. The roads are dotted with sinkholes to protect the African life from runaway decrepit vehicles. The laws do not serve the African life – eh point of order – except when the African life has powerful connections or cash to buy the law… no bitcoins accepted; e-finance not working yet. The African life goes to the hospital to get sick if there is one near the village. The education system practically de-educates the African life. Everything is upside down because the African life walks on its head. The African life is used to these rhythms… it gyrates to these rhythms with absolute certainty. But then NASA is so unhappy with the African life’s lot that NASA is messing with this life that has been stitched together over the generations and hitherto not decoded.
NASA please leave the African rhythms of life alone. Let the sun rise in the east… please! Give back the African certainty of life.
This has been the introductory piece in the series “The sun rises in the west in Africa”. It is a satirical and whimsical commentary on the African life today.
Question for you the reader: If intruders or conquerors like the white man had not come, if they had not inserted themselves into the African life for the past thousand or so years, what could the African life have been? What will it be today? Please comment below or write to the Editor.