I did a full-blown essay on this, “Eldertocracy” as a belief system in a recent book.
To those who study democracy, they tend to forget that the units of politics and governance are so many in Africa, and they are not dead. Community leadership operates outside of the formal sector. In a fieldwork in the Sahel, we saw clear evidence of the use of older institutions to govern society. Even as big as Nigeria is, it is under policed. There are hundreds of villages without police, and they function.
Those units should be revived and used, as they are outside of the corruption networks.
There are abuses, as you now have migrant-driven citizens who will call a US professor, fronting as a mentor, as Baba or Ba’mi, a very manipulative relationship.
Two days ago, in the company of Professor Dele Ashiru, Dr. Raji, and another friend, we were sent packing at Onigbongbo in Lagos, when the town crier, whom I have not heard for decades, went about saying “all must vacate the town as the Oba wants to make sacrifices,” which is called Oro. By 9.30, everyone left and the entire place, extremely dense, was vacated. I am not talking about a village in the hinterland but in Lagos. I can walk from this place to the house of Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information.
Data like this are needed to rethink the political system. And we must begin to separate the woes of democracy from our capacity to invent units to deliver governance.
Listserv moderated by Toyin Falola, University of Texas at Austin
To post to this group, send an email to USAAfric...@googlegroups.com
To subscribe to this group, send an email to USAAfricaDial...@googlegroups.com
Current archives at http://groups.google.com/group/USAAfricaDialogue
Early archives at http://www.utexas.edu/conferences/africa/ads/index.html
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "USA Africa Dialogue Series" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to usaafricadialo...@googlegroups.com.
To view this discussion on the web visit https://groups.google.com/d/msgid/usaafricadialogue/CAAHJfPouyRsm93Od7NY9wvV%2BcTrboABQWQPXMFAmpBY_UZqMQg%40mail.gmail.com.
To view this discussion on the web visit https://groups.google.com/d/msgid/usaafricadialogue/BL1PR12MB5191D22E82AA47C85C9DF65FDA0A9%40BL1PR12MB5191.namprd12.prod.outlook.com.
“He misses home and his boots are sore.
He has not got no roots no more,” (JT : Rock and Roll is Music Now)
Some of the time, that’s what life is like, living in a concrete jungle, far away from home. As they look back with some nostalgia, what Africans (especially) are usually complaining about or lamenting is that out here and there in the Wild Industrialised West, be it the US, the EU, the UK, things are not like the way we used to experience life back home in tropical Africa. No fresh palm wine to be guzzled down directly from the tapper’s gourd, they don’t even say, “ age before beauty” as a courtesy, and life has to go on in the crucible, sometimes, almost as bad as Marlowe’s “ The Crucible” but no matter how much he , she, we, they complain, thank God it’s not about life being extinguished in a Holocaust oven, with the so-called “systemic racism” embedded in the new & foreign structure of a still nonetheless hierarchically formed society, you name it, with or without capital letters, Negrophobia, Xenophobia, Islamophobia, Homophobia - a man kissing and cuddling another man, his fellow man and about to do it - the main thing - put it in, in broad daylight, right there in front of everybody, no respect for elders, and not surprisingly in e.g. Nigeria , just as the poet chimed,
That said, just check this out : Atiku on LGBT…so much hypocrisy
What's the difference between Russia and Iran ?
Whereas in Iran it’s sit-ins, riots, mass demonstrations being fanned about hijab, in Russia it was Pussy Riot .
Hopefully, you intuit a difference.
Pussy Riot in Iran? God forbid.
Concerning the theme on this topic, as far as scriptural homilies go there’s Devarim 5:16 which is all about “Honour thy mother and father that thy life may be long “ - and who is it that doesn’t want a life-extension? More fully stated, it’s
“Honour your father and your mother as the Lord your God commanded you, in order that your days be lengthened, and that it may go well with you on the land that the Lord, your God, is giving you.”
For some decades now, long before we became honorary elders, my revolutionary Gambian Bro Koro Sallah was forever pestering me, among others, about the necessity of establishing “ The Council of Elders”, to mentor and monitor the youngsters, to give them foundations, a new orientation, the necessary political and cultural motivations, and the necessary (Pan-African?) sense of direction. Do I myself have the required “ sense of direction” in my own personal life and community relations, locally and with the world-wide diaspora? As you can imagine, a lot of prestige, authority and some privileges are to be attached to the august members of such a council, but what a responsibility!
Perhaps, a very urgent necessity these days, to help curb the other pandemic taking over Sweden, known as gang criminality, although that has not yet reached Nigeria’s epidemic or epic proportions of what's' known as “ ransom kidnappings”
In Sweden where the elders of all nations still survive and thrive , I think that first and foremost, African elders are most grateful about the HealthCare system over here, really second to none, and where people no matter at what age, expect and receive fair treatment - after the age of 85 medicines are free and elders are not expected to even pay a nominal fee for whatever treatment. Of course , inevitably some time after 85, it’s the cemetery….
I believe that in the absence of living in the bosom of the African nuclear or extended family, in Sweden, the greatest fear is the prospect of having to move into or being moved into an “ Old People's Home”. Some years ago, at the age of 90, and for each and every Sabbath, still baking his own challah my best friend, a Lithuanian Jew, born and bred in Harbin, which is in China, got married to a 52-year old - among other reasons, I suspect because he didn’t much relish the idea of moving into or being moved into an Old People’s home, even an old people’s home for Old Jewish People, with kosher food etc - I say , “ I suspect” - I don't know - although I was his confidant , all he told me ( so many times) was that he was “ in love with her”.
The last time I visited another old friend - a Christian Sikh, Mr. Samson moved himself into an expensive high-class old people’s home, good wine served with dinner ( he had worked hard most of his live and wanted to enjoy some of the fruits of his fat pension during his last days down here on earth) he was complaining to me , rather boastfully that he felt like the champion fighting cock among all the old ladies there and that not only were they fighting over him, but that one of them - another old lady’s rival was trying to poison him, out of jealousy…
All the world's a stage, true, and The Seven Ages of Man - and woman - is universal , and it’s not an old wives tale that when he was 80 - eighty years old the Prophet Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt on a 40 years Golgotha rampage/ jamboree through the wilderness; that’s why it’s stunning what Ken ( may he attain to the ripe old age of 120) is now saying about approaching that landmark “as an old man, an elder, almost 80” he crows. We , yes, we should all like to miraculously return, regress from geriatrics and gerontology back to the roaring 20s wouldn’t we? Well you start realising that you’re getting on in years when every once in a while someone offers you a seat in the local transport
Some twenty years ago I saw Tickets and Ties by Femi Jr Elufowoju performed here at Södra Teatern in Stockholm, with an all-West African cast. A great performance - I’ve talked about it previously, here. The play mirrored a reality that has surely only got worse with time, namely the generation gap, and when it comes to that ( the generation gap) things can only get progressively worse, as in desperation the oldies in the councils of elders cling on to their/ our ancient traditions; and this kind of widening cultural gap doesn’t only affect Africans you know, ask me - way back in the day I ask my son, “ When are you going to find yourself a nice Yoruba woman and settle down?” etc etc etc - he tells me, “ We’re not in Africa”. Ask some of the good people from e.g. Bangladesh, the poor guy goes home ( to Dhaka and marries a one of his own kind and brings her to Sweden; within months, after the basic cultural revaluation and indoctrination that occurs during her Swedish for foreigners lessons, in no time at all she could be going out for the night or the evening - “a night out with the girls'' she tells her helpless husband and returns way past midnight reeking of some haram al-cohol. Now tell me which , honourable MUlsim dude is going to accept that - of course not, from his side he puts his foot down, puts a final stop to the nonsense, tells her: “ No more gallivanting!!! No more nights out with the girls !!!!! ”
It’s getting kinda long and I haven’t even started yet , just warming up , but I’ll stop myself here…
Re - “I remember how I would sometimes outrun my peers to get to a load-bearing elder first.” ( Moses Ochonu Remembers)
“Well, the moral of the story
The moral of this song
Is simply that one should never be
Where one does not belong
So when you see your neighbor carrying somethin'
Help him with his load
And don't go mistaking Paradise
For that home across the road” (Bob Dylan : The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest)
I try to imagine the culture shock for e.g. a modern day Kant who never left his niche, or someone coming straight from a little village in Africa where everybody is brother and sister, all the way to “the Big Apple”, the impersonality of the one and only New York City, feeling small, quite lonely and lost , certainly not that much at home over there among the skyscrapers where a man has to look up to see the sky…
I suppose that cosmopolitan life/ city civilisation/ living in a big city anywhere in the West means that one is really living in the midst of strangers who are equally and impersonally anonymous to each other /one another, so that there’s no longer the the same feeling as of communal/ community spirit as in the closely knit , parochial, old time religion “ love thy neighbour as thyself”, one-horse-town or village mentality - since in the city it’s more of do or die, every man for himself,survival of the fittest…
“City’s just a jungle, more games to play
Trapped in the heart of it, trying to get away
I was raised in the country, I been workin’ in the town
I been in trouble ever since I set my suitcase down” ( Bob Dylan : Mississippi
To view this discussion on the web visit https://groups.google.com/d/msgid/usaafricadialogue/1383892094.2818292.1669101054315%40mail.yahoo.com.
An absolute outsiders' view,
like an Extra-Terrestrial true.
Thanks for the big picture,
I was just imagining the initial culture shock for someone coming directly from a little African village to that awesome big city. I guess the Nigerian Embassy should be a good place to help a Nigerian get some orientation.
(The first time I went to the Synagogue library in Stockholm I met a man called Theodore Katz who asked me, “ Who do you know?” That weekend I was at Sonya’s, and there was literally everybody - including my aforementioned best friend from Lithuania by way of Harbin, China. A week later I was dancing at the Israeli Ambassador’s birthday party, at the Embassy - it was like the beginning of Auguries of Innocence
“To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour”
Have been made to understand that at Central Park there's not that much mixing either, the Puerto Ricans have their corner…
I’m also made to understand that when one gets to a big town, new city such as Amsterdam, one should get in touch with some relevant segments of the artistic community , maybe start with a hot momma ( not a heart murmur) - in a place like Port Harcourt, to be on the sade side it would of course be best to be good friends with the Commissioner Police and some of the dudes in the Mobile Police, the governors, senators, judges, chiefs can come later.
The border guards asked Nina, do you have any contacts in Sierra Leone, and she told them, yes. Who? She told me that she told them, “ Dr. Dynamite “ just as I had told her, and they burst out in laughter…
As the Osagyefo said, “ Seek ye first the political kingdom and all things shall be added unto you," - except for that thieving Bank Manager , a devil in disguise, himself worse than a bank robber…