It is easy for our lavished leaders and languishing people to bury their heads in gallons of gin and whiskey and pretend all is well with us, but this Zikathankalima recently took a moment to stay home and ponder on our predicament with a sober mind. No loud music, no noise. No little Ulunji demonstrating against my drunken sermons!
I ceased the rare moment to read You Lazy Africa’s (intellectual) Scum, an online article in which Zambian journalist Field Ruwe meets a former World Bank official who pulls no punches about lazy minds on the continent where leaders take pride in being called Ã¢â‚¬Å“Professor This wa ThatÃ¢â‚¬Â.
“As long as you are dependent on my plane, I shall feel superior and you my friend shall remain inferior,” says Ruwe’s forthright seatmate on the flight to Boston, US.
I felt syrup of blood bursting my veins and prepared for the worst. But the WesternerÃ‚Â was not stupid. His sentiments jolted me to think about our country and several unheeded signs of the times.
“Our journey from independence has been marked by tears. Each one of us has lost a loved one to poverty, hunger, and disease… The number of graves is catching up with the population..,” it read in part.
I couldn’t agree more where he notes it’s amazing how we all sit there and watch you die. Are there any discoveries, inventions and innovation in this country often marketed as the world’s second fastest developing economy after the oil-rich Qatar? Do we really have to continue relying on ARVs from overseas when our universities produce thousands of graduates who not only boo bad leaders, but also make thundering noise about their degrees?Ã‚Â Who will come up with cheaper and better life-prolonging drugs for people living with HIV and Aids better ARVs than the imported dose which distorts looks of users and exposes them to stigma?
I was mad with questions when my wife Caroline came ballistic, telling me man shall not live by books alone.
“What do you mean?” I asked, feeling we are stagnating because we think reading isÃ‚Â subordinate to bread and booze.
“What are you doing here when your friends are gone to work?” she fumed.
I wondered why my Carol, who often accuses me of spending more time with guzzlers than my family, was only short of telling me that real men don’t sell jumbos (plastic buyers). Maybe she wanted time to watch the Nigerian movies I buy in exchange for my time out.
If you want to strip men, don’t layÃ‚Â your fingers on their clothes as some people did to our wives, mothers and sisters recentlyÃ¢â‚¬â€just insult their jobs and other small things that give them pride.
I had overstayed my welcome. So, I left for the pub, where I foundÃ‚Â women stuffed in layers of cloth for fear of being stripped. By the time I landed at the place where university graduates gather and are fast at articulating their credentials, English-speaking tongues were already wagging in booze as if tomorrow was a false prophecy.
Meanwhile, my potbellied neighbour Chimimba was sipping soft drinks while entertaining a teen sex worker and punching messages on phone. In no time, storyteller Chimutu told me that the phone-crazy big man was reuniting with her ex-lovers just in case the varsity vultures robbed him of the one and only he was entertaining.
“The man worships technology so much that he scared his wife and children when he jumped out of the bathroom naked just to repossess a ringing phone. Kuopa simoko (fear of the unknown)!” said Chimutu, asking for a cold one.
Ordinarily, one wonders why men and women allow their sexual partners to freely play with their most private parts, but not their phones. But I was high on Ruwe’s awakening writing.
It was an eye-opener. The uneducated poor are not the reason ourÃ‚Â HIV and Aids hit country is in such pathetic state. They are most industrious people in history. However, our intellectuals are damn lazy.
Do you know where I find the big brains? They are busy killing themselves with booze and short-time sex deals in golf clubs, playhouses and exclusive pubs. When they sleep, do they dream big about their people dying of Aids?