Monday, June 18, 2007

First Tanzania musings, hailing the CAs and a young reader

Tanzania is a beautiful country- the lush greenness was just as I imagined and I felt at home, my hay fever disappearing instantly:-). I did begin to understand though why other Africans are often exasperated with Nigeria because I could sense and see that the poverty there was different from Nigeria. With our oil wealth and vibrant population, we could be so much more.

Which isn't to say that Nigeria doesn't have poverty but in Tanzania I began to see what Nigeria might have been like without the oil. The people seemed a lot more humble which had its good sides and its bad sides. On one hand it meant that when I approached the immigrations officer issuing my visa to tell him that I had a connecting flight to catch and could he please expedite the process, he did so with a smile, without asking for kola and without reminding me that everyone else had important places to get to as I suspect a Nigerian counterpart would have. On the other hand, there were times I wished the Tanzanians would exhibit a bit more spark, more joie de vivre, more noise like my Naija brothers and you can see, there's no pleasing me....

The last fortnight must be the most amazing for Nigerian literature in a while- with honours for the two CAs- Chinua Achebe and Chimamanda Adichie, the future is bright. BTW, they are both featured in the latest Bono edited "Africa" Vanity Fair. Chris Abani is another up and coming CA- looks like those are the initials to have in the literary world...

This morning walking to the train station, I see a young mother driving past. In the back seat his nose buried in a book is her young son barely four, on his way to school. For some reason he remindes me of a younger self, grabbing every opportunity to stick my nose in a book. Will he still do that in twenty years I wonder or will he have become a leather briefcase toting financier with his face buried in the pinkness of the financial news?


Frances Uku said...

welcome back! i've been experiencing serious uknaija withdrawal, please let me not tarry too long before the next installment of gist. tenk you sah.

Morountodun said...

Talking about oil I understand 600 million barrels of the thing have been discovered in Ghana. God help them.

Unknown said...

I both fear and hope it will be the financial news. Hope, because that will mean he will have 'made it' and a boy who is so wanting to learn, deserves success. Fear, because it will, in part, rid him of his soul.

Great post.

And yes, why ARE Nigerians so vibrant, do you think?


uknaija said...

@frances- the prima donna herself. I remain loyal
@morountodun- so true
@snuffleupagus- Is success all about finance then? can he have both success and his soul? And on the Nigerian question I think it's a combination of things-the fact that there's so many of us for a start, plus the oil "wealth" and possibly it's hardwired in our DNA as well