Person wan piss
Police catch person for pissing
But person must piss
And no place to piss
Fela say na stalemate.
Everybody dey find wetin to chop
Because of that, we run commot for our land,
We dey hustle, we dey struggle, we dey smuggle
From under sea
Dem call us Third World Countries
Dat mean to say we be third class human beings
I say dem call us Developing Nations
Dat means to say our people still dey develop
From ‘homo erectus’ to ‘homo sapien’.
Na our monkey dey work
Na dem baboon dey chop
Because wetin dey for all
Na some dey take am.
Dog no go chop dog but man go chop man like cannibal, so tay fear dey catch person to...
- Excerpt from Person Wan Piss, an integrated art piece by the Crown Troupe of Africa.
Now the tori.
The last week of June and the first week of July 2019, saw or met me in South Africa.
Two blissful weeks of fun, laughter and learning I tell you.
I shall leave the stories of the amazing artists I met there for another day.
If I had the misfortune of being in the midst of those ravaging hounds engaged in the senseless (reprisal) massacre here in Nigeria, I believe memories of those amazing human beings I met would serve me well to drop my cudgel in that fleeting moment of madness.- everything after all said and done, is fleeting.
The first week in South Africa was dedicated to the Pan African Creative Exchange (PACE) organized PACE+ Dramaturgy Lab, which was a full week of artistic explorations, interactions and creative expressions.
This was followed by another intensive week of festivities associated with great events like the Vrystaat Festival. Vrystaat Festival was a befitting icing on the PACE+ cake.
It was all together a soothingly exhilarating and pleasantly memorable experience.
So you can imagine my shock when the ‘Xenophobia’ insanity hit the headlines.
I couldn’t help but wonder if there are two South Africas?
The very humane and hospitable one that I saw in Bloemfontein and the blind savage bloodthirsty one that I heard of in other places.
I realized, to my utter helplessness, that there would always be other sides to a coin.
Why, as opposed to ‘the other’ notion of good OR bad, there’s also the familiar one of good AND bad. So there will always be both.
The question is, where do you belong?
We should try not to stare too long at the monster so as not to become one.
We should try not to generalize.
In the words of a friend I met a few years ago in Trinidad and Tobago, Zion Child, he said ‘the battle in life is not between black and white or rich and poor or this and that, it’s merely between good and evil’.
There will always be good people on the other side too.
There are good Nigerians and South Africans, just like there are bad ones among them too. Let the good ones stand together when the bad ones bare their perilously famished fangs.
Let the divide be more of character than colours or tongues or religions or social status.
That’s one way to fight the idiocy called xenophobia.
May we all heal.