Now lets be clear about today’s lesson right from the start: this is a famzing article. And for those of you unfamiliar with that nicely rolling slang, this article is essentially an unpaid and unsolicited advertisement. You know, like those ass-licking felicitations you see in newspapers whenever a wealthy man achieves something remarkable in its ordinariness. Same as you lick at work everyday.
And now that we’re all clear on the famzing nature of today’s diatribe, the laws of decency and good breeding forbid you from pointing out that fact in the comments, or mentioning it to me on twitter or in person.
But what’s it about famzing that requires an apology, anyway? It’s not the famzing itself that should be worrisome; instead, like sharing a toothbrush, it’s the person you’re doing it with that matters. Or maybe that’s too far out an example. The point is: why should celebrating El-Rufai require an apology? It’s not as if we’re celebrating Doyin Okupe—and I’ve celebrated Doyin Okupe. (And if, just in case, you’re Doyin Okupe, please remember to reward me handsomely.)
Now for those of you who know little about art and culture, here’s a 5-second lesson that can broaden your knowledge. If you look up Google’s homepage today, you will see a doodle celebrating not just the sculptor, Auguste Rodin, but also his famous iconic work: “The Thinker“.
Today’s Google doodle celebration is significant to your understanding of the moral of today’s lesson. And now, here’s the moral of today’s lesson.
See, there’s no fundamental difference in the mental composition of the “white” man’s society and the African society. As a crude statistical summary, a white society of 10 people will ordinarily have 2 geniuses or above average intelligent folks, 6 averagely intelligent people and 2 people of below average intelligence. Take your African society too, the same crude statistics apply, 2 Smart Alecs, 6 Average Joes and then 2 idiots.
So what creates the glaring differences between the the white society and the black society? The answer is simple: the white guy has learnt that it is best to allow the 2 geniuses shape his society—from political ideology to arts and sciences. The 2 clever folks lay down the blueprint—and the rest of society follows it to the letter. Like I told you, its simple. That willingness to allow the best thinkers draw up the plans is what made America, for e.g. the country it is today—from the declaration of independence to Obama’s election, an ideology is always chosen and followed.
On the other side of the world, your average African society will rather hang the two geniuses by the neck till they are dead and choose its leaders and inspirations on the basis of age, wealth, tribe, inheritance, “divine” appointment, entertainment value or some misguided sense of good luck—and we all know how that last criteria ended.
And that’s why Nigeria has failed to mine Soyinka’s internationally recognised brain to the last drop; that’s why our professionals migrate to foreign countries, and that’s why we have chased away or killed off every thinker, intellectual, writer, artist or anybody else capable of raising our society’s intelligence quotient—-while we adore the Nollywood celebrities, Afro hip-hop musicians, jet buying pastors and inefficient politicians. We gave knowledge a well-aimed kick in the butt and made out with entertainment instead.
And that’s why I wasn’t too surprised when, on El-Rufai’s Twitter TL, I read tweets by a number of people eager to have his head on a platter, because, on a societal level, we’re really really suicidal in our choice of leaders.
Happy dying. 🙂
Today’s lesson begins with a flashback to pre-colonial Africa. For those of you who skipped secondary school history classes for bathroom sex, what is called Africa today was once a continent of several civilizations and empires. These empires and civilizations had fine standing armies, highly developed cultures, hypocritical religious creeds and even functional and corrupt bureaucracies–all without European intervention.
Well, those sneaky Europeans, having squandered their natural resources on inter-tribal warfare, decided to come and help themselves to some of the takeaway from the free-for-all party jam going on in Africa. First, they set up shop and started by trading for gold and other rich resources–when the profit and loss account didn’t satisfy them, they then moved to purchasing the people themselves. The Africans, nice folks that they were, obliged the Europeans. After a few centuries of, mostly, conflict free trade, it hit the Europeans that they were wasting valuable pounds and dollars buying human and natural resources when they could simply exchange their tenant status for that of a landlord and own everything: land, humans, and resources.
The Berlin Conference of 1884 gave birth to Europe’s follow-my-customs-or-eat-shit programme referred to in polite circles as “colonization”. But Africans weren’t taking any of that nonsense. It was one thing to trade, it was another to be governed. Across Africa, from Egypt to the Cape, the rallying cry was “Occupy!”. Well, not exactly. In fact, it was much more worse than any Occupy Protest.
As nice and commercially inclined as these pre-colonial Africans were, they were also fierce warriors and soldiers, defending their wives and property with the fury of a castrated celebrity porn-star. They honoured and even encouraged death on the battlefield (modern terrorists are mere copycats), and a woman who had lost sons or a husband to war was a proud one. Cowards were ostracized and anyone who was not prepared to die for his land was a bastard. But despite this solid patriotism, the Africans lost the wars for their land principally because of lesser firepower and the activity of the cowards and scoundrels among them.
While some Africans were busy physically fighting off and terrorizing the Europeans, others were preaching peace and acceptance of European customs and religions. These cowardly peacemakers were educated in European ways and history and given authority to govern their fellow Africans under the shadow of the established colonial government. Africans who kept fighting against the government and who tried to reclaim their land were killed off, exiled or locked up in jail.
In obedience to the laws of natural selection, the brave and stubborn ones died off with their brave and stubborn genes, while those who accepted European authority went on to become educated Christians or tolerated Muslims. And because whether cowardly or brave, people will always have sex, these cowards went on to reproduce their genes and today their descendants are spread across the country. Essentially, every post-colonial African today is a descendant of one of those cowards or scoundrels that refused to die rather than give up their authority. We are the sons (and daughters!) of cowards and scoundrels. Once in a while, though, remnant genes from the brave Africans show up.
Unfortunately, the now pervasive cowards-in-authority are always quick to wipe out such resurrections.