Thursday, May 9, 2013

Of Campus kids who know nothing about Achebe and how they should eat rolexes

One fact I have discovered about myself is that I am a snob. Now, every writer is, in one way or the other. It is not that we really intend to walk around with extra kilos of false airs but somehow our calling forces us into such obnoxious behavior. As a matter of fact, writers are not paid a lot of money but the praises and flatteries that we receive for our work makes up for the poor pay. That is how our egos are boosted and we tend to bask in the glory. We then step on every other person’s toe with such reckless abandon.

The death of Achebe and the rise of the mighty snob
As a writer, the death of Achebe became fodder for my snobbish gibberish and the fact that I have read more of his titles than some Ugandans did not make things any better. (Some Ugandans know nothing about the late Achebe beyond his single but also most popular title of Things Fall Apart.)

Perhaps a few other Ugandans know something about No Longer at Ease. Note that for purposes of this article when I speak of some Ugandans I mean those campus chaps and chicks. Very few know about (By know about I mean have read) A Man of the People, Anthills of the Savannah and other Achebe titles. Interestingly, Achebe died a couple of days after I had just finished reading Anthills of the Savannah which I found to be a more engaging work than Things Fall Apart but you see, I cannot engage into the argument of which of Achebe’s work carries greater literary quality with Ugandans that have only read Things Fall Apart.

Anyway, when everyone was speaking about the Character Okwonkwo, I was busy telling people about Ikem Osodi and why Osodi is the reason everyone should read Anthills of the Savannah. And wherever I told campus fellows of the escapades of Osodi, no one ever submitted thereafter for they had nothing useful to add. You should have been there when I was talking about this amongst some of my peers, I sounded so intelligent and knowledgeable. I was the one eyed man among the blind just because on top of Things Fall Apart and No Longer At ease, I have also read Anthills of the Savannah. Now I am just imagining what will happen when I read A Man of the People and all the other titles of Achebe. I am sure I will start urinating on some of their heads.

Apart from Achebe,  something about the rolexes they eat.
Just in case you have no idea of what Rolexes are, they are a delicacy mainly for university students here in Uganda. They have nothing to do with that famous brand of watches we have on the market. The simplest definition of a Rolex is fried eggs rolled in a Chapatti (also the biggest excuse/ alternative to starving in Ugandan universities). Most students have such for supper and it goes for between 1,000- 2,500 shillings (note 2,600ushs = 1 US Dollar).  Being the snob that I am, during my days in campus, I had vowed never to eat a Rolex in my life for I considered myself too refined in lifestyle to be seen standing on roadsides ordering for Rolexes from Chapatti makers. Whenever I saw someone buy a Rolex I would shrug and chip is a cold comment, “Do you know how many calories you are consuming by eating a Rolex?”

However one day, hunger and a nearly empty wallet conspired to force me into consuming a Rolex. So I bought one and walked with it to hostel. When I reached hostel, I realized that instead of grumbling about life which had pushed me to the point of eating a Rolex, I should eat it with style and that is when I realized that eating a Rolex with a knife and a fork is far less depressing than eating a Rolex with my naked hands. In other words, I discovered that eating a Rolex with a fork and knife can make up for the starvation that university students are inflicting on their souls in a manner akin to the way the flatters make up for the poor pay we receive as writers. It is a question of psychology.

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