The shenanigans by which President Donald Trump is trying to avoid vacating the White House – after America's voters have chucked him out – make me chuckle..
I ask myself, “Suppose this was happening in Africa?”
Or, as some of my English-challenged prefects in elementary school were wont to say, “If should in case such a situation were to occur in Africa, what would happen?”
“If should in case”?
Yes. You see, those guys used the English language in what is termed a “literal” manner.
If they gave you instructions, they expected you to make no mistake about what they meant.
“Bring cutlasses to school tomorrow because we shall be weeding the park.
If should in case anyone refuses to bring his cutlass, he will be severely punished!”
No mistake about that. If they had said “If anyone refuses...” or “should anyone refuse....” or “in case anyone refuses”, there might be room for misunderstanding. So, why not gather all the verbal conditional clauses collectively together in one sole basket (so to speak)? “If should in case”....
Well, I put it to you: what would happen to Trump if he tried to pull off this “I don't want to go” stunt in Africa?
Or, more specifically, in the Akan areas of Ghana?
I was about 14 years old when a major crisis broke out in my town. Nobody could say exactly what our chief had done, but he had angered some people and they circulated fake news about him.
They then assembled the Asafo or Kyirem group, began to beat their drums and gong-gongs, and marched up and down the street, yelling their heads off.
The drums were intimidating, yes. But it was what the men were yelling at the top of their voices that was most incredible.
They said: “If so-and-so” (the chief's name before he was enstooled) brought it ohhhhh; if he didn't bring it ohhhhh, may his mother's genitals discharge smelly liquid!”
Even as a child who didn't know much about the female anatomy, this insult sounded particularly gruesome. It was meant to disgrace the chief to such an extent that he would bring back the “stool paraphernalia” which he had been given when he had been enstooled. They chose the most respected, "royal" member of his family to revile because they knew that few men would allow their own royal mother to be loudly cursed in such an offensive manner.
Therefore, Trump, whether he had a mother or not, would not have dared to carry on as he's doing. That is, assuming he knew enough about his own customs as to fully appreciate what it meant when one's town ganged up against one – “yɛatutu y'ano agu no so, abɔ no ose!”
The Trump issue reminds me of something I wrote when President Bill Clinton was being lynched by Ken Starr and his mob over the Monica Lewisnky affair circa 1998.
As it happened, Clinton was coming on a visit to Africa and I sent him an “open letter” not to worry too much about what was going on back home, because he would learn in Africa that he was greatly admired for what he was alleged to have done. In the open letter, entitled: “If President Clinton Had Been An African”, I wrote:
“Dear President Clinton,
It is unlikely, but if you were to be allowed by your handlers and hosts to interact properly with the ordinary people you meet on your Africa tour, you would find it an invigorating experience. You'd find that your alleged sexual indiscretions are admired, rather than condemned.
You see, in most parts of Africa, life has always been extremely difficult. Communities have always had to band together, under a strong and virile leader, to tame the land and fight against wild animals and hostile neighbours.
So we have always needed strong, virile men, to reproduce other strong, virile men.
Furthermore, there has never been too much wealth to share. So our chiefs and warriors who get a disproportionately greater part of the little that is available, are expected to plough it back into their communities. That is why these exemplars of virility are obligated to marry from more than one household. For the more households a chief marries into, the more he spreads prosperity. And the more widely his potent genes are perpetuated. w
If he is a man of the ilk of Shaka, the Zulu king, for instance, or Osei Tutu of Asante, you will appreciate why his people would want more of him around.
Other well-to-do members of the society follow in the footsteps of the leadership. Indeed, many Africans regard life without physical passion as equal to physical death itself!
That's why many of the Africans you will meet will secretly wish you would share with them, the secret source of your sexual prowess. Do not be offended if they ask you whether you are privy to the source of drugs that enhance a man's sexual prowess.
Ha, Mr President, you will not believe the lengths to which some of our people will go to try and acquire “virility.” In Zimbabwe, for instance, there is a well-known drug called vuga-vuga whose onomatopoeic name pretty well gives its role away.
Similarly, in many West African open markets, you will find men clustered around a chap standing beside herbs arranged on a table. In Ghana, the most popular drug on sale will be called kote denden aduro (pardon the directness but the name literally means “the medicine that makes the penis hard”).
Perhaps the following story will enable you to understand how seriously many Africans take this whole thing. There was once a court case in a town called Asamankese, in which an old man of over 80 told the court that a fake jujuman had taken a small fortune off him on the pretext of invoking the services of spiritual beings, known as dwarfs, to enable the old man to improve his sexual performance.
The priest had put the old man through a series of esoteric rites, for which he had charged a huge fee. But no dwarfs had materialised. When the old man asked for his money back, the jujuman had claimed that the dwarfs had been offended because the old man had defiled himself by eating pig's trotters cooked by a woman who was menstruating!
MAGISTRATE: “Now tell me, chief: why did you have to go through all this trouble and pay all this money? I mean, you are no longer young?”
OLD MAN: “Hmmm, I had just married a young new wife, and …..”
Mr President, the laughter that greeted the old man's statement could be heard many miles away!
The jujuman was sentenced to six months imprisonment for fraud.