The inspiration for this column was derived from a popular joint in one of the Kigali neighborhoods. It is spelt kind of funny though as “hellos corner”.
And so it got me thinking not about the funny signs at most of our businesses in the city or their interesting wrong spelling. But, this shouldn’t be an odd thing seeing we live in an oral society anyway that’s semi-literate.
But rather on the meaning of the message behind the sign that immediately resonated with me. We live on a continent of unsung heroes, which is a shame. I often ask myself if we are ingrates or lack reciprocity in our culture? Are we as a society blind to any acts of kindness?
So once again, I ask where are our heroes? Because I can now hear the cacophony and murmurs of disapproval from most of our defensive public getting too emotional aren’t you? Let us stop all this arguing and be more rational and honest in our approach to issues that matter to us as banyarwanda/banyafurika [Rwndans/Africans].
Again, I ask where are our heroes? You object? Show me their shrines how many monuments have we erected in their honour? But we do erect statues honouring people like Ghandi and Cécile Rhodes and they are smack in the middle of our campuses and institutes of higher learning. I hear they are under close guard though least they get smeared with human excrete and burnt with petrol. There was a big Marxist statue that was pulled to the ground after a guerrilla takeover in one of our countries.
Yes, some of you banyafurika (Africans) name your city streets after them (heroes), so what? Is that a cheaper way of commemorating their sacrifices all in your name? Smart move but a street name is just that a street name at the end of the day! There are too many foreign heroes in your child’s school textbooks trust me they know all their deeds.
But if they were asked for instance what the chimurenga war was all about? Or who the founding fathers of the OAU “organisation of African unity’” were for instance. You get what I mean?
Man in terms of heroes we got tonnes, it’s just that so little is written about them! Oops I forgot spoken about them we live in an oral society remember? Many of you reading this article for the first time may not be very avid readers yourselves it’s hard to break certain habits that you were raised in! For an oral society surrounded by a sea of literate societies there is hope. That’s just a small tip of the ice berg we have broken thank you!