A question, really – Who exactly is an African Man?
One major weapon which homophobes deploy in their gay bashing is “homosexuality is unAfrican”. If I could get a barrel of crude oil for all the times I’ve heard this weird logic, I would be competing with the kingdoms of Qatar and Bahrain on the Rich List. It’s even more tragic that a good number of gays have internalized this homophobic notion. We have probably all met gays who insist that “your gay side is only a phase to be explored in your youth and to be abandoned later in life when you (should) revert to your default straight mode.” *giggles*
A regular commenter on this blog once laid down a list of things which are expected of an Africa man. This same KDian (known for his impressive research prowess) is also always quick to whip out the many ways in which an ‘African Man’ differs from other races, mostly the Westerners.
And this befuddles me somewhat. There’s a certain Igbo proverb which goes thus: “He who asks for directions can never lose his way”, and so, in order not to lose my way in the quest to be a true ‘African Man’, I have come before you, my people, to ask these few questions. Who truly is an African man?
Is it the one who woke up this morning to the sound of an alarm clock blaring forth from his mobile phone? The same mobile phone with which he is likely reading this post? I thought true Africans awoke to the crowing of a cock at dawn. Is it the man who arose from a foam mattress, forsaking the cherished woven raffia mats or bamboo beds held together with raffia rope – which would have been more easily recognizable to his ancestors?
Is it the man who fell on his knees in prayer with a bible written in English? I hope I’m not mistaken in thinking a true African would have poured out libations to his ancestors and perhaps headed over to the shrine which occupied a prominent spot in his compound to perform a few sacrifices to his ancestral gods. The chanting and praying as well as the book which speaks of the story of a faraway people in a faraway land have created some confusion in my quest for true Africanness. This is one of the reasons I come before you for clarification.
Is the true African the one who is at 7.30am in the morning, dressed smartly in a pair of trousers, a shirt and a tie – after a bath, probably under a shower which produced water at the twist of a knob – and is now navigating the early morning rush hour traffic to get to work or school? I thought I was told that our true African ancestors would have headed to the bush behind their huts to answer the call of nature, then to the nearby stream to wash their body in its flowing waters before setting off on foot for the long trek to their farms deep in the lush green surrounding forests. I have a strong feeling that were this African man’s ancestors to see him now seated at a desk and peering into and tapping away at a computer, they would stare in amazement and consternation. They would undoubtedly ask their lazy descendant in dismay, “How do you hope to feed yourself by staring all day at a screen? Would you not be better off knee deep in the dirt, toiling to grow crops which you can store up and feed upon?”
Is the true African the one who had a glass of milk or juice or tea or coffee, along with bread and other pastries for breakfast? What happened to the round, sturdy mounds of fufu and thick spicy soups with which his ancestors filled their bellies every morning in order to maintain their energy levels while working hard on the farm; day in and day out? This African man sha…
The last time I was at the ‘traditional’ wedding of a ‘true African’ man, I observed a few things which puzzled me: the bride and groom wore native attires but then, those attires were nothing like what our African ancestors would have worn during their own weddings some hundred years ago. In fact, the outfits worn at this wedding were sewn from George material, Lace, Ankara, Dutch Wax and the like, all imported from faraway lands and brought here aboard ships for use by true ‘African’ people on this day of their ‘traditional’ wedding. At this wedding, a cake was cut, and a variety of bottled drinks fizzing and sputtering with the gas from the bottling factory was also in plentiful supply. Don’t get me started on the music! It blared out on huge loudspeakers strategically positioned all over the arena. In fact, the sounds of merrymaking and revelry could be heard all the way into the next village. I honestly expected to hear the sounds of native drums as well as women singing, seeing as I was invited to a ‘traditional wedding’; I never in my wildest dreams expected that I would hear the gorgeous Flavour’s Ada-Ada, or the Mavins’ Dorobucci at a true African Traditional Wedding. I’ve been scratching my head in deep confusion ever since I attended this wedding. I’ve been going crazy in my bemusement.
I need to be made to understand who a true African is. And if he exists, kindly let me know where I can find him. I wish to go and stare at him in all his African glory. I really, honestly do – I swear down! Or could it be the case that he no longer exists, seeing as human evolution is an ongoing and continuous process which has always and will probably always go on for as long as mankind shall inhabit the earth?
Well, what do I know? I await education on this issue.
Written by Khaleesi