African Time Killers

Fellow time killers,

This is strictly for true Africans.

The concept 'African Time' is amorphous. The truth is that time does not exist in Africa. Well, except in the rythms of the native drums.

Today is a gift and we hate anything that puts a pressure on how we savour it. We can let it trickle through our fingers. We can pour it down the drains. We can even throw it to the winds depending on how we feel. Time is made for the black man, and not the other way round. Accursed be the man who invented the clock.

Have you seen us play football? Unless it was strictly formal football, the end of the game of the 'sets' in those days in secondary school was when a side scores the the target number of goals. Even if it takes the whole day. What has changed? We met it that way and I doubt if anything can change that. If the clock is your god, you are a white man in black skin. The true black man sticks to time until he becomes the boss. Then he is free!


Our political system doesn't reckon with time. Where else but Africa does a president have a 20 year tenure. The clock ceases to exist at the 'power level'. 

Deadlines mean nothing to us. Why? Deadlines are only for the dead. Why kill yourself about a deadline when you can always move the deadline? Tell me how many government projects in Africa ever get completed? Promises here have no time limit. You can expect the Lagos-Ibadan expressway in Nigeria fixed when the target one millionth litre of blood has been shed. It's just like the football sets of those days: It's not about how long, it's about how much money has exchanged hands.

It's not in all cases that we are insensitive to time here in Africa. There's an inner alarm that goes off at every closing hour. It shatters all other functionalities especially when you are not the owner of the organisation. That's what we call timeliness. Another exception is in the capital cities.  Have you ever been Lagos? Everybody is in a hurry to nowhere. There's a mad clock ground into powder and mixed with the water they drink in Lagos. Hurry to work, hurry home, hurry to eat, hurry to shit. Even the policeman will charge you for wasting his time if you are too slow in getting the bribe across.

Just watch our past presidents deliver their speeches. They take eternity to say nothing.  And when they eventually beging to speak, they talk for eternity. Talk is it.

See, I don't think we'll ever get to manufacture watches here. If we do, it will just be ornamental. Who wants a sad reminder of how much of our lives is being wasted away? Your stay in the schools is not about how much time, it's about the disposition of your leaders and teachers to time. It was in the past that only the tertiary institutions that had indefinite time-span. Now, even the primary schools suffer the same plight. Strikes can go on for eternity.

Come to church in Africa and see. The spirit never moves the pastor to shorten the length of the service, it's always about prolonging the sermon. I'm yet to go to the mosque or some other native shrine but I doubt if anything is different. Time here is for wasting.

Time is a concept nobody fully understands. There however can be no meaningful progress when any people take time for granted. Generations will surely waste away. As they are.
Time I stop.

Africanism says I continue.

Hunger wins. I stop.

 
 
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