This week so many things have happened in our world, South-Africans who for years, I believed to be the most tolerant people on earth…have lost it. The Chinese are still trying to find survivors in the devastating earth quake and Yar’Adua gave an interview in the financial times London (chei! the thing pain me oh, me wey get plenty questions boku to ask, na those oyibo people na im you go grant interview? Haba!) which I read and laughed hard of course. Any other reaction from the cynic in me would have been false but first, let me talk about the South-Africans.
If there is any child that grew up following world events without the miracle of having cable TV, I guess I was one of them. For all their faults, Delta TV could at least arouse your curiosity for world events by flinging in one or two details in their often dry international news. The story of Nelson Mandela I followed closely after watching a documentary on television. After that, came a fascination with the man and his people. I listened to anything about South Africa, sang along with Majek Fashek’s “Free Mandela”, cried watching the film “Cry freedom” and danced like a possessed child to the musical “Sarafina”. I did all that with the firm belief that a country that produced a man as great as Nelson Mandela must be the most tolerant in the whole world.
The events of the past weeks have proved that there is no country that is safe from the wrath of the poor man. The poor people are angry, angry at their government and perhaps the world at large, for abandoning them in a continuous and hopeless state of poverty and misery. A country where the spread of A.I.D.S continue to devastate the population, a country that is synonymous with crime….yet, we are all surprised. We see the images of burning houses and violence and cringe...”not the home of Mandela!”…we are horrified. Oh, lest I forget, was it not the same look of surprise we had on our faces when the Kenyan situation came up? And not too many years ago, we had the same look on our faces about Zimbabwe, right? Right!
Let us not fool ourselves anymore in this world, poverty is real and it will drive people to commit the most inhumane acts. These acts, as bizarre as they might seem, did not happen overnight just as the refugees from Zimbabwe did not appear over night in the slums. Yes, let us all point our fingers to the source of the beginning of the problem…the problem of Zimbabwe…is anybody taking notes? Can anybody help the people of Zimbabwe? First driven from their homeland, they are now being burned and persecuted, yet; this is not a problem of the government of South Africa. It is the problem of Africa and what are we doing? Nothing, as usual.
That is why the interview given by our dear president was amusing. According to our dear president, he has been “planning”. Is it that we do not understand that time is running out? Even with the kidnappings of people in the Niger Delta, the violence and killings and now….a food crisis! A bag of rice has tripled this week…and we still have time? We are still folding our hands and waiting for what to happen? We think the frustrations of the South Africans are different? Why then, are people being kidnapped in this country? What have the innocent done to their captives? So many questions and unfortunately not enough time to answer them all. One thing is for sure though; we are running out of time. Let something be done or else, the wrath of the poor man will continue and who knows who the victims will be next time? Today, it’s the foreigner, tomorrow it might be you or me.
P.S: I bow for all these our governors sha, so if na to spend money for burial, dat one una sabi, but to fix road, na another thing. Na wah oh!