SERIOUSLY, AFRICANS DON’T LIVE IN TREES

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Nigeria's Leading Fictional Story Blog - Africa, Britain, Angola, Afrocentric, Nepal, India, Capital, International Relations, Abuja, HIV-stricken, Nigeria, Kano, Lagos




“So have you seen a Lamborghini before?” Kumar asked Chisom and Onyinyechi in his heavy Indian accent. The three of them were Master’s International Relations students at the University College in London. Kumar  was British Indian. He was born in London but spent most of his life in India. Although he had been to London several times before, this was his longest spell in the country he now called home. Chisom and Onyinyechi had just arrived in London from Nigeria. For Chisom this was his first trip abroad, whereas Onyinyechi, the daughter of a former Federal Minister in Nigeria had been to London multiple times prior. Both Nigerians were annoyed by his question. Chisom quickly racked through his mind for a fitting answer to Kumar’s question. Onyinyechi was less diplomatic. “Are you suggesting that because we are Africans, we have not seen expensive cars before?” She shot back at Kumar. “Oh no!” I was not implying that…” “So what were you implying?” Onyinyechi pressed further, cutting him short. Kumar looked flustered as he sought for answers to get himself out of the hole. “You know,” he said, lowering his tone. He leaned forward in a friendlier manner, attempting to pacify his angered friends. “A lot of things are going on in Africa now. It must be quite difficult to afford such luxuries. I was only trying to appreciate the difficulties there…you know the political situation,” he said, bubbling his head.

Onyinyechi was readying her verbal gun for another shot at Kumar when Chisom stepped into the discussion. “So what do you really know about Africa?” He asked him. “Come on, I know Africa is a continent. In case you are thinking I am one of those folks who think Africa is a country,” Kumar replied proudly. He smiled as he spoke still bubbling his head. “I am overly impressed that you do know that Africa is a continent,” Chisom said sarcastically.  “Since you know Africa too well as to suggest that we have never seen a Lamborghini before, could you tell me where Angola is located in Africa? What is the capital of Nigeria? Would you by any chance know the capital of Swaziland?” Chisom dumped a barrage of questions on him, managing to keep a tight rein on his anger. “Come on, you don’t expect me to know the answers to those Afro-centric questions,” Kumar protested. “But you are an International Relations student born in England and raised in India. Don’t you think you should have an idea? I bet you’d tell me the capital of Slovakia off the top of your head, but as for African countries, they are irrelevant, aren’t they?” Chisom pressed him harder. Onyinyechi sat back nodding her head as Chisom boxed Kumar into a corner. 

“Yes I am an International Relations student, but it does not mean that I should know the answers to your questions just as you would not know Capital of India, or Nepal or Myanmar,” Kumar replied. “The capital of India is New Delhi my friend. The capital of Nepal is Kathmandu and the capital of Myanmar is Naypyidaw,” Chisom answered him quickly. “I might as well add that India got its independence from Britain in 1947, which led to the splitting of the old India into India and Pakistan,” Chisom added. Kumar was discernibly surprised. He took a deep breath. “May I add that I learned most of that in my current affairs class back in elementary school in Africa, and not in my Master’s International Relations class here in London,” Chisom added. “We are taught all that in Africa. We are taught about the rest of world early on in school,” Onyinyechi added. She could not restrain herself anymore. Kumar looked nonplused. “I did not know you were taught all that back home,” he confessed. “Well, we don’t live in trees back in Africa Kumar. It is saddening that the rest of the world tends to look down on Africa while we Africans spent so much time learning about the rest of the world. Onyinyechi’s brother who lives here in London owns a Lamborghini you know, and her father uses a Jaguar back home.” 

“Really?” Kumar asked in disbelief. “I bet you did not see that one coming,” Onyinyechi added. “The press makes it look like Africa is some ravaged continent where hunger, wars and diseases reign supreme,” said Kumar. “The press can say all it wants, but you have a responsibility to educate yourself. We can’t always blame the press for our ignorance. I bet you think Lagos is the capital of Nigeria right?” Chisom asked. Kumar kept quiet. He stared at his Nigerian classmates. His eyes were begging for the answer. Obviously, he had thought that Lagos was the capital of Nigeria. “Abuja. ABJ, my friend is the capital of Nigeria, and it has been for quite some time now,” Onyinyechi shouted. She was beginning to relish every minute of this discussion. 

“I am sorry if I came across rude to you guys,” Kumar apologized. “Yes, you did but you are forgiven,” Onyinyechi replied with a satisfying smile. “No worries man. You should spend some time in the library. Learn one thing about Africa every week, at least. We don’t live in trees as some aspects of the media might tell you. The whole of Africa is not at war. The whole continent is not HIV-stricken and hunger-ravaged. Africa as whole is among the fastest growing economy in the world today. A new middle class is emerging in Africa and you’d be surprised to find more Lamborghinis in Abuja, Kaduna, Kano and Lagos, all of which are in Nigeria than you’d find in the whole of England put together. Mind you, all of that is not politically acquired. There are some very rich, honest and hardworking folks back there. Well, the richest man in Africa is Nigeria as you may know,” Chisom lectured him. The look on his face as he took a sip of his beer suggested he did not know that. Onyinyechi looked at Chisom who returned her look. They said nothing, but if Onyinyechi’s eyes could speak, they’d be  yelling “Good job!”...Jubilantly.


This story was written by 
VICTOR CHINOO

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Moofyme.com: An African Literary Blog: SERIOUSLY, AFRICANS DON’T LIVE IN TREES
SERIOUSLY, AFRICANS DON’T LIVE IN TREES
Nigeria's Leading Fictional Story Blog - Africa, Britain, Angola, Afrocentric, Nepal, India, Capital, International Relations, Abuja, HIV-stricken, Nigeria, Kano, Lagos
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