BLACK BOX

There are basically three sets of Africans here; Kenyans, Ugandans and Nigerians. Of course, we are all blacks, and for us, it has never been an issue with us talking up our romance with darkness or at best, the black colour.

We exactly do not have an issue, not because all our lives we have been surrounded by black people nor because of our perennial battle with electricity and darkness. After all, an average African sees electricity has a privilege, just as wealth and education.

We are conditioned to a feel of entitlement due to its surplus scarcity. Electric poles and transformers are around us yet we don’t have electricity. Within a square mile of houses, you are likely to find five schools yet education remains a luxury. Luxurious cars and palatial mansions circles us, yet poverty is so glaring.

However, we move to different cultures held in systems that work and societies that probably value few of the bonds that binds us together (freedom, truth, morals etc.), we are suddenly struck by the lightening of realisation. First thing we do is go blind. Next, we go into shock, and then we play ball.

Few days ago, I put up a post on my romance with darkness in respect to the lightings and electrical makeup of my family room. However, I was shocked as I was pointed to the reality of my Nigerian perspective of being black and loving the dark. Literally, there was a confrontation of how provocative my reminiscences portends by claiming to love the black colour and hence, my relation of it with a black woman.

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Like I said, first I was blinded by its mere audacity! How could an innocent story almost every Nigerian relates with could be such a menace for another colour? Most of us were probably born in the dark, and we learnt to navigate darkness even before we could walk. So it was okay. I just wrote about a normal experience.

Then, expectedly, I went into shock. I went into a prism shock; box into a new realisation that things aren’t gonna continue the way they used to be. Things I would probably joke with and get away with it would henceforth begin to matter. I was boxed into a truth, I am no more amongst familiar colours. Any African living outside probably has been fitted into this box, once.

Finally, I am ready to play ball. First on the rules of acclimatisation is the reality of difference. Here, I am daily being reminded of the gulf of difference between an African at home and one in the diaspora. But more importantly, I am realising the sectional probability of a race finding expression in another race, especially when colour is a factor.

It looks so much like American movie really. I’ve always only watched it in the movies. It’s real now. To be fair, we all are the same when thrown into the same box. It is an African this time, it probably was an European last time. It could be an Asian tomorrow. It’s the way of the world, the aftermath of Babel, I think.