Friday, October 15, 2004

Imagining an imagination..

Woke up depressed by Nigerian functionalism (as you bourgoise revolutionaries are wont to when they go to live in Africa). Example: Bibi told me of a conversation last night she had with some young women who said they would much prefer money to flowers as a gift from a man, unless they were plastic. This tacky lack of imagination is sadly all too common in Nigeria. Five Alive and Tango are preferred to fresh juice (even though fresh juice here is incredibly flavoursome), and most people think the local fast food joints (Mr Biggs, Tantalizer, Chicken Licken etc) are a mark of sophistication. Meanwhile, the fag companies (like British American Tobacco) are moving in and doing brisk biz in the cancer trade. One big Peckham or what?

Sometimes it feels like living in Nigeria is like being airlifted into some council estate that goes on to the horizon: a black Royle family. It gets the conflicted class snobbery hackles up just like in the UK. Why does Nigeria have to love and copy the scuzziest aspects of the West: junk food, Argos, Kenny G, primroses (imported floral tat from the West is preferred to the amazing tropical flowers that grow here), kouros aftershave... bah!

Most African countries lack a sizeable middle class and therefore lack the aesthetic/critical culture that goes with it: noisy fussy culture vultures who also demand political change. Nigeria is rich in resources but practically destitute in imagination (it seems to get battered out of Nigerians when they are at school). What’s needed is a completely different pedagogical approach based on curiosity and the value of learning for its own sake, if a philistine anti-intellectualist thug-ocracy is to be challenged. Without an insurrectionary uprising of the collective imagination, nothing will really change.


neefemi 5:32 pm  

Sad but true :(

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