​TALES FROM 2065

Episode Two – Bouncing Baby Boys (Part 1)

A series of stories about the experience of a young boy in the University of Ghana. The stories are mostly true with some fictionalized parts for the benefit of the story.

Episode Two – Bouncing Baby Boys (Part 1)

It is a mystery to me why babies love bouncing so much. When a child begins to really move on his own, though it is crawling or walking yet, they still want to be on the move. They love to jump and bounce no matter where they are. I do not know why babies are referred to as “bouncing”, but from the way they love to bounce always, it must be the reason they call them “bouncing babies”. Amazingly, when baby boys grow up, they tend to hate it very much when they are bounced (especially boys in the University of Ghana).

“To Bounce” – according to the Ghanaian Urban Street Dictionary, is the act of rejecting the proposal or request to be dated or be in a relationship (love) with somebody. 

Being in the university, my closest friends – Roland, Brian, Erik, and Kobla – are some of the boys that have been bounced on several occasions by their female counterparts. 

Let’s begin with the annoying and most unapologetic bouncing baby boy of them all. Roland, the lover boy of the group is like a pest to the ladies. They avoid him when it comes down to being in a relationship with him; but buzz around him like flies always to spend his money. This left my dearest friend always broke and looking for the next way to deceive his relatives to score more cash. Roland’s favorite quote is the Accra Hearts of Oak’s slogan, “Never say die until the bones are rotten”. Roland is the most unrepentant, serially bounced human being I have ever met. This young fella has been bounced by course mates, hall mates, friends of friends, strangers and food vendors on campus. It is as if his superpower is the ability to be bounced by every woman he is attracted to. 

He was bounced by course mates like Nora, Rica and Nella among others. He’s been bounced by hall mates like Dorcas, Ofie, Mimi to name a few. And he was also bounced by friends of friends – Rhoda and Ohemaa. I’m running out of breath mentioning their names. He would have broken down, I’m sure, if not for the welcoming bosom and attention he gets from one lady who I have totally forgotten her name. I however remember the lady’s name is the name of a color. Had it not been for the occasional fix she gives Roland, he would have totally given up on women totally. Roland is a true bouncing baby boy and we accept and love him for who he is. Lest I forget, I heard he has been bounced four times already by his female National Service colleagues. Just so you know. 

The next on the list is Erik – the proud bouncing baby boy. Erik was very matured in thought and deed. He was the most courageous among us. When we spotted a lady we thought was attractive and begin doubting our chances with the lady, Erik would make a move and everything would go perfectly for them until he declares his intensions and then, he would be bounced. Erik has been bounced in by course mates, Robin, Princess and the course mate with the local name (I can’t really remember) and the other course mate with the local name that bounced him in public (in a lecture room, for all to witness0. Erik has also been bounced by the daughter of a well-known Ghanaian boxer. He was just lucky to have escaped with all his teeth intact. 

And the funniest bounce of it all, he made a move on and was bounced by our gorgeous, slender-looking T.A. “Hahaha. Dude, we came to school to learn and not to get married. Chill!” it would interest you to know that Roland and Erik were engaged in a fight for months over a girl they both liked. The sad thing is that, Charlotte – the girl they were fighting over – bounced the two of them. God have mercy ………… 

to be continued

Photo source: Getty images.

TALES FROM 2065

Episode One – Easy Virtues

A series of stories about the experiences of a young boy in the University of Ghana. The stories are mostly true with some fictionalized parts for the benefit of the story. Enjoy.

Episode One – Easy Virtues

Africa, for a long time has limited the actions of Africans; especially women. She labels some actions as immoral and some just ‘unworldly’. Sexual liberation in Africa is an unforgivable offense; punishable by vivid obloquy. But in recent times, the hold Africa has on her subjects is weakening drastically and a new breed of Africans are emerging. Ones that believe in liberalism and the choice to do whatever they want to do with their bodies and who they wish to do it with. “customs and traditions be damned; the age of the new Africans is here”. 

It all started some few years back in the university when my friends and I were back to our dormitories after a lecture. The conversation on the way back was centered around the lecturer – Miss Root – and the way she was such a conservative and how were it up to her, Africa would remain in the past whiles the rest of the world leaves us behind. All of a sudden the conversation turned into how these Africans (Miss Root’s kind) have made sex and having sex something only a ‘god’ could do and talk about. One of my friends who claimed she was one of the modern-day feminists (rolls eyeballs repeatedly in their sockets) claimed she didn’t see sex to be anything extraordinary. She made it clear she would have sex or been having sex anytime she wanted. You should have seen the excitement on my face for finding a kindred spirit. 

Sometime, the next day, I was fast asleep in a friend’s room. We were all supposed to go out for a program, but I was too tired to go and just slept. I was alone in the room but left the door unlocked. In the course of my sleeping, I began to hear an annoying sound. Creak-creak-creak. I pushed out he sound and continued sleeping. But the sound was relentless and was bent on making me angry. Creak-creak-creak. 

That was it. I was going to find the source of that sound and give it/him/ her – whoever it was a piece of my mind. I opened my eyes only to see something I never thought I would see. I have never claimed to be innocent or pure. Far from it; because I’m not. I have done things people cannot begin to imagine – bad things, immoral stuff, etc. – but what I saw when I opened my eyes shocked me to the core. A little. I saw a naked lady (naked from head to toe) bouncing up and down an equally naked roommate of my friend who was sitting in a chair. For Christ’s sake, there was a person sleeping in the room. Of all the things I allow my imagination to explore, I never imagined being an audience to people having sex. (Not without a screen separating us; if you know what I mean). It is no wonder why some Christians believe imagining (making your mind explore) is a sin. I had to feign sleep until they were done and out of the room before I could get out of bed and walk solemnly into my room. The next Sunday, I rededicated my life to Christ. God have mercy. 

Another day not too long after my encounter with the sex maniacs, I walked in on another couple doing the ‘dirty’ in bed. It was like the discussion I had with Benedicta on our way to the hall after the lecture had made me available to all sorts of sexual encounters in the university. Like I was saying, i went to visit a friend in her room. I knocked on her door several times but there was no response. I turned the knob on the door and it opened freely. When I entered the room, this lady friend I had gone to visit, was seriously being pounded into by a thick-waisted-rigid-assed-guy I know very well. Both of them were stark naked and so much into what they were doing. My surprise on seeing them kept me glued to where I was standing for several moments. When I finally got a hold on myself, I gently walked out and closed the door. The two ‘sexers’ did not even know anyone had walked in on them. It seems some deeds are too pleasurable it takes everything else around you out of focus. 

I could continue to talk about the couple who did the deed in a room full of sleeping boys, and played Alicia Keys’ “Girl on Fire’ afterwards but I’ll leave that for another day. I don’t want to corrupt the innocent ones among you all in one day. 

My brother once asked me, “Felix, do you have any great memories from University?” My answer was “No”. that was definitely a lie; and now you know why.

BLASPHEMY 

I have a problem with religion. I don’t understand it. It confuses me; limits me and makes me feel guilty about almost everything. What is religion? What is its significance?
Among the several religions in the world, Christianity makes more sense to me. It is followed by the African traditional religion. Mind you, I didn’t say these religions make sense to me. I said they make MORE sense to me than the others. 

I am a Christian. Although that is debatable. A friend in one of these Charismatic churches once told me we Catholics are not Christians. But I have some problems with Christianity; and I would like to share them. 

It is written in the Bible that, God created man in his own image. And then the ‘owners’ of the religion claim God is white. Of course, the Bible makes us understand that Jesus Christ was born in a part of the world where only whites were inhabiting at the time. So it makes perfect sense that God is white. 

So my question is, Do Black people not fall within the category of the word “man’? And if they do, then I think there is something fundamentally wrong with the notion that God created man in his own image. This is because, there are many ‘images’ – if I may pit it that way. There are Black people, Asians, Latinos etc. unless we want to argue that God has many ‘images’. And that would be a weak argument in my opinion. I had this debate with a white friend some years back and he cautioned me that my argument was getting very close to blasphemy. I had to stop, lest I end up in hell fire. 

One other thing my mind refuses to fathom is the menace of sin and why humans would be punished for committing certain sins. The Bible tells us that there was a great war in heaven. The arch angel Michael and other angels fought Satan and his followers. The result of the war was that, Satan and his followers were cast unto the earth. The earth which was and is the home of humans. Mere mortals with no power whatsoever were cursed to live with one of the most powerful beings in the entire universe; who had the guts to wage war against God – the creator of all things and most powerful being in the entire Universe. “…woe to the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath because he knoweth that he hath a short time”. Rev. 12:12. 

And the way the devil has sworn vengeance against God is by using his powers to influence man (a powerless entity) to commit sin. And if man then commits sin, he would be punished for it. The punishment won’t be for a day nor a month, or even a year. The punishment would be for eternity. What I don’t understand is that why during the war in heaven, where the devil fought with the arch angel Michael and other several powerful angels who had powers of immense magnitude failed to kill Satan, but rather forced him out of heaven unto the earth. The earth where powerless men lived; to be tormented and forced into sin by the devil. These humans who have only will-power to fight the devil, will be punished by fire for eternity should they succumb to sin.  How is this fair?

The powerless human is to be at war with the devil and his minions and all their influences from the moment they could distinguish between good and bad till the day he or she dies; whiles, to the best of my knowledge, the powerful angels who are soldiers of God, were at war with satan for only a short period. How is this fair? But what do I know? The Bible tells us a day unto man is like a thousand years before God and vice versa. Maybe the war in heaven lasted for thousands of years.

I am however aware that the Bible also tells us to pray and ask for forgiveness and our God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins. But my Sunday school teacher told me that, the Bible tells us God knows the thoughts in our minds and the desires of our heart; and that we can’t keep consciously sinning and think we can trick God into forgiving us all the time. 

An innocent human born on the first day has already sinned even before being born and would burn eternally in a sea of fire if he doesn’t get baptized as a Christian. This is because the infamous Adam and Eve – apparently first man and woman respectively, disobeyed God. I dare ask if the price of the iniquities of the ancestors is to be paid by the descendants? How is this Justice? The very fact that you are born unto the earth, (a decision that didn’t involve you; but rather God and partially, your parents) have already made your soul impure and would most likely lead to your eternal damnation if you are not baptized and you don’t receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and personal savior. 

Male humans, are fundamentally biological beings who respond automatically to what they see. It’s biological. It cannot be helped. Male humans will automatically respond to beautiful women. Yet, when a male human watches a woman lustfully (mind you, men have no control over this), you have automatically sinned and you are sentenced to eternal torture. Humans are biological beings, as I have pointed out already. There are a number of processes that one cannot do without and have no control over. An example is sexual arousal. When humans hit teenage, certain biological processes leads to the release of certain hormones which compels the humans mind towards sex and attraction of the opposite sex. Just to point out again, humans have no control over these processes. But we are taught as Christians to fight against our very nature and avoid sex until marriage.

I must explain that, the years between teen age and the age humans marry today, is averagely twelve (12) years. The human is therefore supposed to fight against their urges for twelve years before they can have sex. Not everybody is fortunate enough to find a suitable partner for marriage. Some people therefore are not able to get married their entire lives. Humans are in addition to fighting the devil (sin) all their lives, supposed to fight their own sexual impulses for life. An alternative to having sex with a partner is the act of masturbating; and that too is sin. Why put all these feelings inside man if they are not supposed to act on them. My question is “were humans created to suffer?”

But there is hope for humans after all. There is eternal happiness after death. When we overcome all these temptations and fight against our very nature our whole lives, we get to go to heaven to meet our maker and rejoice with him forever.

Only recently, I had a conversation with somebody and this changed my entire expectation of going to heaven. Of course, hell is not a favorable place at all by any standard and the earth also would pass away after judgement. 

In my conversation, with the devout Christian, I got to know that when we all get to heaven, we are going to spend every moment in the presence of God. I thought, “yeah, that’s a good thing.” But then he went ahead to say he loved music a lot, and that he always sung music. He concluded this conversation with the words, “…after all, we will all be singing and praising God every moment in heaven.” This was confirmed by every other person I questioned. 

We would be spirits when we get to heaven. We can’t feel hunger or lust or any other mortal desires. Our every thought would be to praise and worship God. My plans of doing all the things I couldn’t do on earth when I go to heaven was thrashed. No eating of any food I couldn’t eat on earth. I can’t even start a relationship with that girl I liked so much but couldn’t approach. I can’t do anything, except praise and worship God for all eternity. 

What is religion? What is its significance? Why was man created?

I end here. My white friend would tell me all these thought running wild in my mind are blasphemous; which would probably damn me for eternity.

“Forgive me Father, for I have sinned. I have been blasphemous in my thoughts, in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do….”
Image source: http://dailytimes.com.pk/opinion/08-Dec-16/blasphemy-in-indonesia

Dreaming My Life Away

Salifou professed his love on a Tuesday morning. By Tuesday afternoon, Lisa had told him she was going to think about it. By next month Friday, Salifou had decided to forget about Lisa and focus on his books. Tomorrow is Saturday. Salifou has an Interim Assessment (IA) at 7:30am tomorrow and he was very determined to make at least a ‘B’ in the paper.
When it was 10am, he picked some books and made his way to the reading room. University life had proven to be more complex and difficult than Salifou had imagined. His elder brother and sister had told him about how the university was full of fun and how you didn’t need too much hard work to be successful in your academics. This was not the case when Salifou got to the University of Ghana.  The Grade Point Average (GPA) among other things had been raised, making life in the university close to impossible.
For the next fifteen minutes, Salifou was studying his notes, bent on passing his exams the next day. Suddenly his phone made a beeping sound. Lisa had posted a message on their group page on WhatsApp; wishing everybody the very best in the exams the next day. All of a sudden, thoughts about her flooded Salifou’s mind; making it impossible for him to learn.
“What do you want as birthday present?” Salifou asked excited. “All I want this year is your company throughout the day,” Lisa replied. Good! Salifou knew then that he had made a good choice for a girlfriend. That day, they went to the mall and got some ice cream. Then they watched a movie in the cinema. The happy couple walked hand-in-hand to ‘Shoprite’ and bought some cake.
Lisa nearly run out of her room when a group of her friends hiding in the shadows jumped towards her and shouted “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” Salifou had put together a surprise birthday party for her. Lisa run into her boyfriend’s arms and kissed him. Salifou couldn’t be any happier than he was then.
Abruptly, it seemed like a dark shadow had been cast on Salifou. His vision became dark and people started grunting and directing insults at the government. The blackout had shaken him from fantasy land. The reading room was very dark and people were moving out…

*****
…and then she walked away, leaving me to my fantasies. But unknown to her, all I have to do is close my eyes and dream; then we are the happiest couple in the world. The only problem is that I am dreaming my life away.
So you are in love with this girl who is very indifferent towards you. You try as much as possible to get over her and find out too late that she is going to be the cause of you failing your exams. Even though they say love is blind, you can see your failure very clearly and there is nothing you can do about it. Maybe yours isn’t love. Maybe it is a phenomenon yet to be named. You are in love with somebody that you are not so sure will return your love and you are already failing examinations for her.

photo source: aliceofwinterland.tumblr.com

STORY UNTOLD

I see a manwandering the earth from one corner to the other. 
He is drenched in abject misery with eyes as red as a wench’s blood

He wears no sandals
and flies are feasting on his leg wounds.
His ankle is cracked;
and within those cracks, a story begs to be told.

I see a man
Baptized in pure agony
Petrified by the sight of all other men.
He says nothing to any man;
His eyes blink more than the flapping of a tsetse fly’s wings
and his lips are drier than bread.
His clothes are tattered and torn;
but they contained a story yet to be told.

I see a man,
made ugly and sinister by experience and life.
A man with nothing in his heart;
I doubt he has any at all.
He moves from one location to another
Searching for something; something important.
As to what it is, I can’t tell.
‘Hello sir, how do you do?’ I asked.
He looked at me surprised, and replied, ‘how do you do son?’
That said he smiled his way into death
taking with him the story untold.

 

EUTHANASIA


Look at him. He is a sore sight to behold. The once promising eaglet has become something lesser than a chick. Who knew that his life could turn out this bad? Fifteen years. That is all it took. Fifteen years was all it took for life to grind Ekow in its treacherous mill of misfortune and hardship; spewing him out as a polished blend of disgrace and disappointment.
When his life blossomed over a decade ago, he SOAKED his dreams in a calabash of goodwill and hard work. Hoping that his hard work would pay off, he tilled the land of his success and irrigated it with confidence and determination as he waited for the fertile seeds of prosperity to impregnate his lands with a bumper harvest. But far from his expectations, life had something else in store for him.
Several years later, he WASHED his regrets and mistakes in a pool of hopefulness. His mistakes are his alone and nobody else’s. His mistake of believing in life and thinking his goodness and hard work would be joined together in holy matrimony; leading to the birth of his gates of success. It is his mistake for putting his faith in a god he had never seen, but believed in his heart was alive – a god he thought would fight on his behalf. But he was done feeling sorry for himself. All his mistakes and regrets, he had thrown into a pool of hopefulness.
So he DRIED his embarrassment on a line of solitude. Confining himself in the shadows; cooking up plans on how to get back on life’s better side. He abandoned his embarrassment in the scorching heat of the sun; so as to drain it of all its potency.
He IRONED what was left of his crumpled pride and set out to fertilize that which was once known as an eaglet; with the hopes of turning it into an eagle. He worked hard. He left no stone unturned and beckoned on success with his vigor. Months turned to years; and years birthed out depression.
Yesterday, he FOLDED his ambitions and dumped them in a rusted box; never to be opened again. Soon, the final product from life’s mill was there for all to see in its full glory and wretched regalia.
Today, he HANGED his shame on life’s line. He hoists it up high like a warlord’s banner. His shame has been substituted for his name….
Now, see him bending to pick up a loaf of bread from the floor. Pity! He needs help. He needs to be delivered from this torture of a life he has been living. He needs to be saved. But his misery is not one that could be managed. He needs to be plucked out of his misery. What he needs is the merciful kindness of EUTHANASIA.

PURPLE HIBISCUS

Editphoto source: mybookaffair.net

BOOK REVIEW

TITLE: PURPLE HIBISCUS
AUTHOR: CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE
PUBLISHER: ALGONQUIN BOOKS
PLACE OF PUBLICATION: CHAPEL HILL, US
YEAR OF PUBLICATION: OCTOBER 2003
NUMBER OF PAGES: 307
ISBN: 978-1-56512-387-8
NAME OF REVIEWER: KOFI DZOGBEWU

Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is an exceptional piece of literature that evokes unexpected emotions as the reader travels with a Nigerian family from a stable life to a very unsettling one. The novel talks about how Kambili’s father, Papa, uses verbal, mental and physical abuse on his family in the name of being a devout Catholic.

The story made me feel oppressed when I was reading, but then I realized that was Adichie’s genius. She did not mention the word ‘oppression’, nor did she describe ‘pain’ in the beginning of the story, yet  all the details she outlined made me feel like something was terribly wrong, not just in Kambili’s family, but in the country too.
The title of the novel ‘Purple Hibiscus’ is very significant and relevant to the story. The purple hibiscus in Aunty Ifeoma’s garden represents not only the clash of cultures experienced by the characters in the novel, but likewise a hope for a better future. In contrast to the startling red hibiscuses in Enugu which symbolizes a violent past, the purple hibiscuses in Nsukka represent the future. Nigeria has gained independence from the British Empire but is challenged by new conflicts in the post-colonial era. The colour red is often associated with Achike and their home in Enugu. There we find the red hibiscuses, ‘the blood on the stairs’, and Father Benedict’s robes- all red. Red often suggests anger and passion and so is perfect in keeping with the plot. In contrast, the colour purple, as in the purple hibiscuses found in Aunty Ifeoma’s house, is often associated with feelings of calmness and solitude, which is repeatedly connected to the characters of Father Amadi, Aunty Ifeoma and other positive figures in the novel.

The framework of the novel keeps the story fresh and compelling all the way through. Purple Hibiscus for me in some ways is better than Adichie’s other novel Half of a Yellow Sun in terms of personal enjoyment and the narrative style. However, some of the themes may be too strong or heavy for young children, about twelve years old and under, depending on their social maturity and reading experience. The novel is therefore recommended for adults and young adults.

I realized that in some parts of the story, Adichie’s personal ideology influenced her writing. She made some political statements in the lines ‘these are all the people (westerners in general) who think that we cannot rule ourselves because the few times we tried, we failed, as if all the others who rule themselves today got it right the first time.’ The political statements might be lost on the reader, only because Kambili’s own personal tragedy seems much more serious, urgent and dangerous.

One problem I found with the story is that even though it is about Kambili’s account on her family’s experiences, Adichie to me made it seem like the central character was Achike, Kambili’s father; whose presence loomed menacingly over almost every page even when he wasn’t featured in the scene.

Another problem I found with the novel is the absence of a glossary. Adichie failed to include a glossary for the Igbo expressions in the story. She did a good job of placing most Igbo expressions in a comprehensive context, but the reader would be frustrated when he or she wants to find the meaning of a term; the meaning of which at best is ambiguous in the context of the expression. Take for instance, the line ‘this girl is a ripe agbogho!’ on page ninety-one of the novel.

In the unfolding of her story, she introduced the reader to the customs, foods and many aspects of Nigerian life without deviating from the subject matter. This is a unique skill in creative writing which many writers fail to achieve. Adichie creates a perfect balance of being sufficiently descriptive while never allowing the descriptions to become tedious. She describes the downfall of the family both in Enugu and in Nsukka, drawing the reader gradually towards an extraordinary tragic ending.

Purple Hibiscus is a constructively judged account of the private and intimate stirrings of a young girl faced with the challenges of tyrannical power, and Adichie voices out the subject matter creatively.