I recently had an argument with someone who, for reasons far from logical, kept insisting that Africa is an extremely dark continent. As someone who is born and bred in this beautiful continent, I was more than just angered by the assertion; I was offended. The guy was so insistent and loud I was having trouble being the bigger person and not slapping him in the face. Out of anger, at some point I called him a schmuck which was the closest I could come to insulting him. You see, a schmuck is a person who is foolish and detestable; which is what this loud person was turning out to be. Also, the word schmuck has its roots in an Eastern Yiddish word ‘shmok’ which interestingly means ‘Penis’, so on some level, I was grinning inside of me for the massive insult.
From the look of things, calling the guy a schmuck seemed to make him more lethal and more foolish. He fronted bogus and ridiculous arguments which were angering me slowly but surely. He kept hurling insults at Africa and calling it all sorts of things from the Devil’s homeland to the cradle land of ignorance. I tried to contain his argument with cutting retorts but it appeared the brother was totally unfazed and this was getting to me. My schmuck of a friend was doing a good job pushing me to the edge with talk of Africa being the home of every known ailment and African presidents being mindful about nothing other than their own survival. A number of presidents’ names made it to this list and in an uncharacteristic way I found myself having to defend them. Anyway, naturally, I dug up as much evidence as I possibly could to show that this is the most awesome continent. Very little was going my way because my friend was clearly a louder person and his points seemed to shake the very table on which our drinks were.
Just when the argument was inching towards its explosive stages, the schmuck received a phone call from another friend of ours. The phone call was requesting that the schmuck and I head over to a place in Bugolobi for a get-together. As it turned out, the get-together was more like a coming together of Pan Africanists. These people were coming together to talk about how the continent is fast becoming an international hub for success; let’s just say these people were real lovers and supporters of the African cause. There were a number of very well educated people, a few lecturers, some learned friends and a couple of writers (who in my opinion are the most brilliant people in the world). The argument about Africa being a dark continent was then resumed but with a very interesting twist. You see, the schmuck had skillfully told anyone who cared to listen that I was a hater of all matters African. He had told them that I was of the view that Africa was a very dark continent with very little in the way of its future. My friend had also very carefully crafted an argument which I had supposedly fronted; that all Africans are naturally inclined to depend on aid because we are lazy. Now this rather unexpected turn of events did not go down well with many people. From the look of things, I was the only anti-African person in the vicinity.
While I had earlier tried to reason this schmuck out as a peer, the people at this gathering were not as understanding. One quickly referred to me as a hopeless wannabe looking to kiss the asses of foreigners. Another wondered why I was still in this Dark Continent and why I hadn’t yet gone to a continent with a bit of light. I tried to offer my own submission about how much I actually loved Africa but it mostly fell on deaf ears because the schmuck had already delivered the sucker punch. Most of the people were really angry at me and a few had to be restrained because from what I could gather, the schmuck had alleged that I had said Africa is where the Devil resides. Moving from one person to another to try and clear the air which was heavy with the smell of my unpatriotic tendencies seemed like too much work. I was not sure who the schmuck had talked to or who he had fed these lies so it would be pointless to try to win over everyone or anyone for that matter. I therefore opted to sit this one out and take the beating, like a man. Everyone who said hello only did so because they were trying to be decent but one could tell that the majority would have knifed me given the chance.
I did tell my friend that I would set the record straight and so here I am; telling the story as it really happened. I hope the Pan-Africanists who were at that gathering in Bugolobi hear (or read) my side of the story and call off whatever life-ending plans they had for me. I love Africa and despite what you might have heard from a certain schmuck; the African I me has never felt so proud of his cradle land.
And just so my point about the love for Africa can be driven home, I shall leave you with one of my favorite quotes…
“To the same degree that your understanding of and attitude towards Africa becomes more positive, your understanding of and attitude towards yourself will also become more positive.” – Malcolm X
The Talkative Rocker
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