Scripted potpourri

A blend of topnotch writing prowess, significant issues and scintillating stories!

Pa James has a Message from the Maasai

Identity

Identity

It was from Pa James I believe, that I first heard the now cliché joke about describing a person with the most obviously silly depictions. In that episode of the famous Nigerian sitcom “Papa Ajasco”, (I’m a bit foggy on the details now), Pa James describes a man to Papa Ajasco as something like this: “The man tall. E wear shirt and trouser. If him wan sleep, e go close him eye and na mouth e dey use take talk.” I thought it was brilliantly hilarious! I do remember telling everyone about it at every opportunity I got. At that point, when all my appreciation for Pa James’ one-liner was that it was plain smart humour, it never occurred to me that I would “one day” come to realize how much of reality the actor’s words actually mirrored, albeit unwittingly. So here comes “one day”…

One day was sometime last week when I learned about a case of ‘land grabbing’ from an ethnic tribe called the Maasai by the Tanzanian government in order to lease it to a foreign hunting company. It was a much-contested issue because the government denied perpetrating the act. However, this blog post does not concern itself with pointing fingers. What is very striking and of abundant concern rather is that the Maasai people are actually an infinitely threatened people. The modern world has never really been comfortable with them as they have been timelessly harangued by both Kenyan and Tanzanian governments to give up their indigenous cultural ways of life which affords them vast areas of land that these governments would as soon rather convert into lucrative business ventures. The Maasai in response have been resolutely staunch in the preservation of their identity and in the lavish and jealous care of that uniqueness that is Maasai through and through- from their sunset and ocher hued clothing to the brilliant kaleidoscopic bead and craft work that their diligent and meticulous hands can make.

Identity: that’s the word that claws for my attention after my reading contact with the Maasai. It is rare, you must admit, to find any more display of identity in today’s globalized world than that displayed by the Maasai. You see, everybody wears jeans and make-up and hair-extensions and Police bodywear and stilettos and sunshades these days (I am not excluded!). We all use Blackberries and tabs and i-things. We all eat KFC and rice – jollof rice, white rice, Ofada rice, fried rice, coconut rice, Abakaliki rice, Basmati rice, pasta rice! If you ask me, I say we all look alike! But go ahead and ask Pa James to describe you, I bet he’ll say something like this: ‘The man na man. E get jeans for down and police body wear for up.  If e won sleep, na blackberry go tell am and na football e dey use take talk.” Hehehehehe!

Here are my thoughts: we might never be like the Maasai who are physically distinct in their cultural practices but we can definitely find a niche for ourselves in a world that tries to lump us into an indistinct entity, void of variety and verve. Letting that happen to us is as intellectually and unacceptably vague as Pa James’ laughable descriptions. I mean, the last thing you want is to only be known for the obvious and the material: by your celebrity-style hair-do, or your to-die-for abs or those fashionable clothes. You wanna look into the world sometime in the future and find yourself, you know, locate a footprint or milestone that nobody else can lay claim to except you. The French call it “je ne sais quoi” and I love that word like oh-la-la! Loving that word means being willing to give yourself some more credit than to just be a follower of the crowd without letting yourself be the billboard of, and executor of your purpose. It is obvious: this is a matter that goes beyond wearing jeans or eating rice. On the contrary, it is about making a conscious effort to stand out, not necessarily by just being different but by not betraying the “you” that you are on the inside. You see, only you and God know that “you” on the inside.

maasai So pay only scant attention to “Pa James”- just enough for the comical to mutate into  the rational. Remember that he is after all only the bearer of the message of the Maasai. Listen closely rather to the message of the Maasai, which, in the final analysis, is what should stoke the embers of our suppressed identity and purpose. On this note, it’s from the Maasai… with love!

Later!

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Disclaimer: The above post, in its wording and intention does nothing to endorse any culture or regard any one culture as better than the other. It neither lays the blame for the erosion of any culture at the feet of any other culture or authority.

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Meet Mr, miss and Mrs Stubborn

Image

I’ve always had grand ideas about my life- about the cars I would like to drive, the businesses I would own and of course the people I would like to meet someday. On most days, these imaginative expeditions can be all the bliss and liberation I would ever know. On other days, set against the grand canvass of everyday living, all that aspiration and ambition can seem like the most senseless endeavour to ever be undertaken by the human spirit. So, for more than the umpteenth time, I have chided that imaginative stubbornness on the inside of me to accept the facts, and to you know, understand that I cannot stretch beyond myself in the pursuit of attaining these “dreams”. Besides, I remind myself, contentment is virtue. The sooner I accept my lot in life and ride with the flow, the better. But while a part of me is so cowardly to merely think beyond the starkness of my circumstances, there’s always that other part of me whose only hobby, nay, purpose is to goad me into embracing a higher goal and a fulfilled me. It’s uncanny, the determination of this part. And sometimes when I really think of it, I’m glad that all of me has not given up on me.

Yes, that’s an uplifting thought. For how else would we scale the ramparts of our imperfections, overcome the fortresses of our inabilities and confront those stark, gnawing and choking reminders of our insufficiency?  You see, all of these imperfections, inabilities and insufficiency are meant to be surmounted by none other than us! On the other side of them lie perfection, ability and sufficiency. To be content with anything else is to shut our ear against the other part of us that can help us make the transition. A fact I have gleaned from experience is that contentment is no virtue if it is at the expense of excellence, of achievement and purpose.

This blog- my opening blog post- is dedicated to the plethora of us for whom it has taken a while to discover that there is nothing but a thin line between reality and future; between complacence and ambition; between vice and virtue. For if we are plagued with the routine of hiding behind virtue to hide our own inner virtue, then virtue has become vain; it has donned the debasing garments of vice. For, hear me, your future is not just time-bound, it is virtue-bound. Virtue only begets virtue.

Virtuous. Yes, it is to you I refer. It is that imaginative stubbornness on your inside that I refer to. It is that relentless, irksome prattler that tells you to do all the things that you not only want to do, but actually have the ability to do. Do not deny your virtue. No human should toy with such great disservice and maltreatment of the human spirit. If you have, you can forgive yourself like I did and give yourself some respect. So go ahead and purchase that form. Register for that course. Write that exam. Sing that note. Stand for your principles. Acknowledge your intelligence. Dream those dreams. Be punctual. Talk to that person… I could go on! What’s the point however? I’m talking to all of us. You see, we’re all virtuous after all. Oh, but we’re not clinching to one virtue at the expense of all the virtue we’re brimming with. Rather, we embrace our virtue. We launch out into the deep. We love and we hope and we have faith. We finally allow it dawn on us that stubbornness, when it’s from our inside, is no vice at all. Stubbornness is virtue.

So give stubbornness a chance. Say hello to virtue. When you do, guess what? You have stumbled upon yourself. You discover that in the voice of your stubborn imagination is the unfamiliar you struggling to survive in the fight for self-fulfillment and self-significance. So don’t just look into the mirror to know yourself. Rather, look inside and meet yourself; meet Mr., miss or Mrs. Stubbornness.

This blog is the seed-child of my virtue; of my stubbornness. I’m sure you recognize it because we are birds of a feather: stubbornly virtuous! Now why don’t you stubbornly stay glued to this blog for more of my valuable, rare ‘scripted potpourri’?

Later!

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