“I’m from Kenya, I can mess you up! I’m from Kenya!” yelled the angry man as he pushed me on the floor. I tried to collect the bits of energy left but I was tipsy. It was only about 2am and there is no way I could have been drunk by then. Someone who knew me from the bar helped me get on my feet and whispered repeatedly, “Relax bro, this is Kampala. You can get killed. This is Kampaaaaaala!” and since Where-I’m-From seemed to be the game, I was about to pull my I’m-From-Rwanda card because ey, you got demons, I’ll bring hell. We hosted Lucifer for about 100 days. Even he couldn’t handle more.
Then I took a deep breath and it hit me that there was no pride in coming from a place that is known for chaos or violence. I took a seat. After a short while, the angry man came down to his senses, found me and apologized. I pulled him a seat. He shared his story. It was a brutal and sad story. It was an African story- pain, despair, death of many and a few broken survivors to tell it. You know the type of stories we find ourselves trapped into and in which we somehow find comfort because then our failures are justified. But let’s be honest for a minute.
We blame our past for being too hard on us but we remain violent. We have become the same people we hated when we were younger. If you’re in a senior position whether in business or government, I’m pretty sure you’ve referred to your fellow humans as collateral “in the quest of a greater good” because you are that great.
The African solidarity only exists in folklore tales. The African Union? I’ve heard something like that for as far as I can remember. And that’s about it. But what do I know? On a personal level though, I wonder how many of us do visit the people they left in their hometowns? Ah we are not villagers anymore! We drive cars, wear ties and only associate with people we can benefit from. We are larger than life. [Whoever came up with that though pffff]. I mean a know what villagers are. What will they teach me, huh? Plus, they don’t shower. Uuggh!!
Furthermore, yes furthermore sounds like a real intellectual’s word, it feels good. I’ll say it again. Furthermore, we are busy with more important issues like saving planet Earth for our children, their children and so forth. Ours. Yours, oh they are dying? Well you shouldn’t have had so many in the first place if you didn’t plan for them. [And that’s something a certain Nyandwi (the seventh child) would say].
Anyway we are saving our planet. We are environmental-friendly. We love our environment and that’s why we cannot cut down trees. Ey what would we pee on when we park our SUV’s in the middle of traffic, huh? Priorities.
On corruption? We hate our corrupt systems, don’t we? You just can’t get a contract without kickbacks unless you’re related to the decision-maker who will only get shares in the project, no big deal. It’s just appreciation. Gotta be grateful, right? Just like the notes we slide into the registration papers when cops stop us because the light on the number plate is broken and for such a big offense they’ll forgive and we must be grateful. We must. We love our police. Now shall we print those shirts or carry boards with hash tags?
On resources? Well we’ve got the brains. Brains money cannot buy. We are all geniuses. We don’t who invented the wheel so we will reinvent it just so the world knows that we did.
On taxes? Well it’s none of your business. It’s for your own good. You will be fine(d). How dare you complain about the lack of water, electricity or the rent increament yet you were a nobody nowhere a few years back? How dare you?
See, we are the New Africa. We are better than the mistakes of our fathers. We are better fathers, mothers, peaceful, respectful, compassionate, intelligent individuals with great visions. The future is ours. It is pan-African, isn’t it? After all the progress is immense and opportunities are equal. We don’t just say T.I.A anymore, we sing T.I.N.A because, say it with me, This Is New Africa (since 1960)