Right on ! Even if some of the uncle toms think you are too revolutionary whilst others among them may think that you are too conservative, and restrictive, considering that after all, the world and all its civilisations and glories of the past, the present and the future belong to us, for us to use as we should like to and that includes fashion ( clothes) medicine and all kinds of technology etc etc etc.
Re - “mud is the primary building material in Benin architecture, serving both as a cooling mechanism, according to one view, and as symbolizing the nexus between life and death, spirit and matter that defines existence, as suggested by the liminal character of mud, both earth and water.”( Oluwatoyin Vincent Adepoju)
Indeed, mud as the main building material was conceptualised and put into practice by the Egyptian architect Hassan Fathy who was awarded the Right Livelihood Award in 1980, “ For developing an 'Architecture for the Poor'.
His Acceptance Speech begins with
“We need a new way of knowledge. The enforced academic knowledge of schools has alienated us from nature just as industrialisation by force has taken away the possibilities of our participating in satisfying our needs. We have only ready-made solutions, prefabricated ideas to be carried out. In the fields of life which need a high cash outlay, like housing, we have been cut off from solving our problems by using our own hands and our own potential…”
Nowadays, in Nigeria for example, cement is the staple building material , don’t know the lay of the land now, but back in the early 1980s the bandits would put some chloroform in the air conditioning and that would send everybody nicely into a coma or deep sleep for the count of as long as necessary for them to complete their grand larceny/ looting…
Remember the saying, “ Blood’s thicker than mud”
Not that we are about to witness the beginning of a Mud Revolution starting with the building reconstruction revolution from -cement-to-mud starting at the Oba’s Palace - as that is likely to be seen ( not only by the nouveau riche and culture imperialists as regression not progression. With such assumptions some of the Oyibos in the Wild West imagine that they are giving some of us a hard time explaining that our last abode in Africa / “ shithole countries” wasn’t exactly mud houses.In Nigeria the mud revolution is unlikely to take off any time soon when you consider these main facts about the role and status of cement in Nigeria 😂: “Nigeria possesses the largest cement industry within West Africa, with at least 12 registered companies amounting to a merged cement capacity of 58.9 Mt/yr.”
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Oluwatoyin Vincent Adepoju,Prince of Peace
You’v said it all really, and there’s precious little to add to what you've said here. Can only ask questions.
O yea, Greece and Rome as the intellectual foundations of Western Civilisation, including a lot - if not all of New Testament Theology.
You remember that when Mahatma Gandhi was asked what he thought of Western Civilisation, jokingly, he said, “ I think it would be a good idea."
My cousin Rudolph Hamelberg (brought up by my grandfather Louis, who was also an architect) studied Architecture in Italy - and in London. Goodness knows what kinds of pillars inspired by the Capitolium of Ancient Rome feature in their architectural plans and buildings that they actually constructed,
We have the Ivory Coast’s Félix Houphouët-Boigny Basilica almost outdoing St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. Who knows, sometime in the near future we could have some hot, Bible Thumping Nigerian pastor all set to replicate the Holy Temple of Jerusalem, probably somewhere in Lagos - Victoria Island or Ikoyi, there’s no limit to how far Sacred Architecture can inspire the faithful. And since Royalty usually dreams big dreams, why should it surprise in time to come, should the Oba’s Palace in Benin want to outshine the design known as Buckingham Palace? And what kind of Palace would you like to build or want to be built for the Oba of Benin in Heaven, “where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
But back to our more pressing problem:
Nigeria : mass illiteracy
Nigeria : the nouveau riche
It’s not easy. Yours is an uphill battle.
We’re not discussing the whole country - the national mindset, just this sensitive little problem in your Edo section, one of the most educated sections, inarguably also thanks to investments in education made by Ambrose Alli when he was governor of Bendel State with the city of Benin as its administrative and cultural capital. As to the distance between the traditional/ the traditionalists and the so-called modern-ity , the distance between His Majesty the Oba of Benin and his subjects, I trust that you are the better judge of such matters.
As said before, there are some uncle toms who may think that your view is too parochial, you raise your voice on behalf of cultural chauvinism, for “desuperiorising” treasonous infatuation with , good or bad, everything Western, and against what the uncle toms and others among them who don’t know what time it is, never got Marcus Garvey’s message “emancipate yourselves from mental slavery”, God-forsaken house negroes whose minds( consciously or unconsciously) are still terribly clouded, colonised and see no oppression anywhere where cultural imperialism operates. All in all, if we care then it’s our business, our concern - we cannot exculpate ourselves by merely calling others names because in fact some of the toms who may not quite realise that they are toms, self-righteously believe that there’s nothing wrong with their brother’s keeper mentality having been self-appointed custodians of the everything concerning the nations present and future freedom.…and seriously, the fact of the matter is that illiteracy is our business whether it occurs predominantly in the South, West, East or North, or not. In my view, patriotism/ Pan- Africanism dictates that it is our business - and of course when we can, we must act locally….
On the spectrum of from left to right - no matter how, in this case, left and right ( and right and wrong) are defined, how do we - you and me and the rest of us fit in to this picture of what could or should reasonably be expected of us, post-colonial citizens , this matter for our serious consideration The Empire Strikes Back - written by the man who was struck by some of the uncle-tom kind of questions you asked about colonialism in this thread and that he took up in this blog piece - please click on the title itself : Colonialism: What If?
Nigeria -in a way simultaneously a microcosm and macrocosm of Africa, is a very complex country, and although the problems are very easily diagnosed and clear for all to see, it’s really only the tradition / culture of corruption - and mass ignorance that’s blocking the way to a peaceful solution/ resolution of all the problems. In the meantime the word REVOLUTION scares the people at the top, sometimes referred to as “ the Corrupt elite" - which Muhammadu Buhari referred to in that Achebe Interview.