The power of the Humble Man

The power of the Humble Man

Off the cuff, for that which is spoken or written off the cuff presents the frank opinion of the individual that honestly says it in that spur of the moment in its barest terms, meaning that such a word can be trusted to be veritable. Pre-analysed speech lacks the essence of truth needed to reach the right decision. Such a truth is distilled instead of being pure in form and lacks the dross salient to understanding the basic. Like a brew that has been distilled, the original taste and flavour is lost as the process of refinement progresses as in the taste of brandy and sorghum beer.
The former needs a connoisseur to understand which grapes were mellowed in the cask to come up with the cognac, the latter needs no refined taster to know what made it; the taste in the brew is bare to the tongue and needs no special knowledge. Modern understanding and acknowledgement seems to demand the knowledge of a refined human being, and the truth is lost as the new creature relies more on status than true understanding of the basics.

The basic truth is that all human and creature and plant beings existent on earth need each other, but the increasing complexity in the youngest of the three forms of life (the human) that comes with the so-called ‘advances’ in technology and civilisation renders the understanding of the most basic elements of life difficult. We are steadily (in fact, progressively) becoming alienated from that which sustains us for the sake of the lie that we are smarter than the whole of creation and those that we term as ‘others’ despite their being as human as we are.
A generation of conmen posing as intellectuals, politicians, religious figures, businesspeople, and the related are putting the whole welfare of the world at risk for the sake of some temporal wealth. Individuals put entire communities and the environment at risk for the sake of a few coins and banknotes. Some are even willing to die just so that they can own a mountain of money, choosing to forget that everyone is born on any day and is bound to die some day regardless of the amount of wealth they have garnered in the brief days they have spent alive.
That individuals spend entire days mulling over the next big hit is a sign of how depraved we have become in the name of getting rich and living large. It never makes any sense why one would choose to gain wealth but to forget who they are at their most basic. It is a political game of sorts where one goes out of their way to be granted some Pyrrhic victory that lasts for but a brief while. It is the pursuit of the fool (forgive the honesty) to wish to be put on a pedestal or to be worshipped as a demi-god just because they achieved something for themselves.

There is a lie that people do things for the benefit of others ‘less-fortunate’ than they are. Where fortune’s whim turns is no human affair on one side but in the same breath, the reality of the day reveals that a lot of that which we term as fortune is an affair that is all too human to ignore. People get rich because they had human customers to support their business’ growth, churches grow wealthy because of the pious congregants’ tithes and offerings, and political parties win seats in parliament because of the support from the staunch followers. The figures that get wealthy from engaging in these practices and related ones do not have the right to call others less fortunate for their fortune stems from the very same people they are referring to in demeaning terms.
The world we live became a complicated entity the moment the smarts set into the human mind and one human being began to view the next as a lesser being limited only to servant roles. The moment Louis XVI thought it prudent for other human beings to kiss his bottom just because he was the monarch of France led to his final demise at the guillotine along with his equally imprudent and extravagant wife Marie Antoinette. The pair’s quest for sophistication infringed on the ordinary citizens’ rights and call for the reformation of the state of France that led to the 10 year long French revolution in the late 1700’s.

The simple observation of one at the unfolding events in Africa and the world makes one wonder whether it will only take revolutions for human beings to remember who they are at the most basic/primal point. That there are mass protests across the globe is a clear sign that the one side (authority) and the next (the public) cannot communicate on reasonable terms. Reasonable means that all can sit down at the table or in council to discuss ways of dealing with common interest; which is not there when the interests of one side take precedence over of the needs of the next side. Nature revolts when the natural equilibrium is disturbed, there is bound to be chaos when the scales are always tipped in favour of one side all the time.
Discussion of the sort that is aimed at addressing the needs of the common people demands that no acts of pride be put on display like they are presented when one listens to the debates of any sort on various media platforms. The politician boasts of the party faithful numbers, the priest argues with tenets from the holy books when he should address indigenous spiritual matters, and the teacher teaches the children to compete when he should show them the strength of concerted effort.

It becomes the problem of the world when the power of cooperation that keeps the world united is abandoned for the sake of personal glory. That element in the human mind that aids in teaching one to relate to others on a harmonious basis is lost when the quest is for personal aggrandisement under the mask of some bigger or more honourable pursuit that is followed. It becomes hard to listen to the church when it is a splintering entity that bears more denominations than one can count, it is hard to believe a politician whose promises never come to see the light of day, and it is hard to listen to a teacher whose personal interest takes precedence over the needs of the charges. We live in an individualistic world, and pretty soon, it shall become hard to listen to anyone but ourselves, and humanity shall fall.
It takes a while to pinpoint the root cause to a problem, the discussions that have come before on the increasing continental and global problems have always tended to be of the pity-party ilk, deviating around issues instead of confronting issues head-on though it is the right thing to do. Conferences aimed at addressing the world’s problems usually end up as nothing because they glorify the speakers instead of addressing the real issues at hand. This modern tendency to get intellectual about basic things has meant that what should not be given an hour ends being discussed for a whole day. The problem is not the issue, the problem is that there are oftentimes more cooks than needed to see to it that the small pot of broth (issues) is cooked. It is a fact well-known that an issue that is over-discussed ends losing its meaning as the participants tire out and lose interest.

A council of educated fools soon lose the gist of the problem flashing qualifications and titles at each other. This is an African problem where more honorary doctorates are bestowed on political figures annually than anywhere else in the world. It is not because some of the figures that receive these awards actually deserve them, the truth is that they are more often than less bestowed for the sake of patronage and affiliation than deed. It is a fact that some of the ‘Dr’ titles are bestowed on absolute morons and dictators that have plunged the continent into the dark ages. Universities vie for a spot in the political arena by granting nincompoops honorary philosopher degrees that rather than teach such individuals to be magnanimous women and men blow them out of proportion and grant their blasé speeches a semblance of verity. And they go on to corrupt the world despite the ‘education’.
It is a fact that educational prowess was for the longest time an envied achievement in Africa, and the uneducated African insults education by granting undeserving individuals degrees in fields they have not actually bothered to pursue. The colonial mentality that one is a decent figure if they have some educational title against their name progresses colonial interest, making the monkey feel as smart as a professor just because they wear the gown, the staff and the cap from some university. Our education should have taught us to be humble enough to understand that the simple man in the street understands the world better than some scholarly analysis or development theory.

Experience is a better teacher than the letter, but the fool does not know because the fool uses the letter as the point of departure in understanding an entity. This from-the-outside-to-the-inside type of approach is what has underdeveloped Africa and parts of the world because it uses imposition as the main method of implementation. Imposing views on one without first understanding them is equal to forcing one’s opinions on another and expecting them to act the adopted tendencies and behaviours with finesse despite the fact that they too have their own way/s of doing things.
What we got in the so-called modern civilisation was a Pandora box of troubles. The ways of it were strange and foreign, having many diverse and confusing customs. We swallowed what we did not understand whole and took in more of the vices than the virtues. The idea of class was absent before modern civilisation came along and divided us into cliques in society. Come the political era, the division grew until Africa was the polarised entity it is now. We are divided because we believe more in what is not aboriginal to us, meaning that we end up like unrehearsed actors on a big stage.
We can never know what we did not create, and acting like we know will not solve the problem but will actually exacerbate it as we blunder into issues. An observation at this point in time reveals a growing culture of politicos that vex the masses with big words and complicated terms than tell the meanings of the terms in their speeches in simple words. Acronyms became popular in the late 1990’s political speak, complicated words of a scientific nature are the in-thing these days, and we regress. The old and tested simplicity of the village council that was effective has been abandoned for the new but fortuitous discussion that bears no results.

The African politician has always accused the monarchical system of being backward despite the apparent lack of visible results after the implementation of political strategies. There has been an increase in poverty levels after ‘independence’ than in the colonial days, and the explanation for this occurrence sounds like an excuse followed by another excuse. The surprising factor in all this is that the political class is itself getting fatter and richer as the masses that vote them into power grow thinner and poorer with each passing regime. It is a fact of the matter that there is no visible solution in sight for the now stratospheric problems of poverty and unemployment in Africa. The visions presented are but fickle attempts at covering political governance’s incompetence, deviating the voter’s attention from the problems at hand to some faraway dream in a distant future. The departure from indigenous knowledge was a haughty move, similar to a teenager absconding his or her home without a clear understanding of what they will encounter at their point of destination.

I have always argued that the politician in Africa wants to be chief, and that the only difference between this usurper and the chief is that the latter figure is a shameless liar. Mendacity is the name of the game in African politics, and pride is the buoy that keeps the buccaneering ship afloat. The visions of Lumumba and Nkrumah, Gadaffi and Sankara, Mandela and Mbeki are all rendered empty talk by the deeds of the current crop of leader. The question that remains is: how long shall we let our pride govern our decisions? We are where we are because the humble village headman was abandoned for the ‘sophisms’ of the campaigning politician. By forgetting the old humble headman, we left our roots behind and blundered on into the fury of the gust that is the future. If we were to be humble, we would acknowledge that political governance has failed Africa, and we would return to the humble man that understands the fields of home and keeps watch over them whilst we wander in search of hope. Be humble.

Ts’episo Mothibi

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