South Africa: From Apartheid to Slavery?

The people of South Africa are fast becoming slaves in their own land. South Africa owes it to herself and the rest of us who fought for their emancipation to educate the bunch of fools in their countries and by default their children to prevent them from becoming both self-destructive and xenophobic.

South Africa: From Apartheid to Slavery?

By Adeola Aderounmu

For a few days now the biggest and saddest news out of Africa is the xenophobic attacks in South Africa.

Like a whirlwind the sad occurrences in South Africa overshadowed the election results and controversies emanating from Nigeria.

In March 2014 l wrote a piece titled: Nigerians in South Africa, Victims Or Culprits? At that time the South Africans had engaged Nigerians and other African nationals in some bouts of xenophobic attacks.

When the dust settled, the information l got at that time was that South Africans already promised another showdown with unspecified date and time. The rage was there all the time.

Then in March 2015 l got an email from a South African citizen. He highlighted the several sins and crimes of Nigerians living in South Africa. He also condemned Nigerians trooping to a country where the locals are jobless.

There was a bitter complain in the email, that what was once the pinnacle of Pretoria and Johannesburg, Sunnyside and Hillbrow, have been turned into Nigerian hub of sex, alcohol, drugs and modern slavery.

The writer of the email stated that Nigerians are destroying the image of Africa through their illicit activities in South Africa.

He was also not pleased about my comment that the South Africa police are corrupt. He shouldn’t worry. Recent events around the world including the USA continue to fulfil our fears that the police are not only corrupt, but also rotten in many places. South Africa is not an exception.

What were missing in the email are the positive aspects or the essential roles that many Nigerians and other African nationals are playing in the South African health and service industries amongst several others.

Suddenly a few weeks after l received the email from this angry South African, the stupid king of the Zulus made his hate comments.

xenophobic South Africa

xenophobic South Africa, A man looting the Ethiopian store and another waiting to kill foreigners

The king was angry and claimed that foreigners are spoiling businesses for them-the locals.

Just like the email l received the king also claimed that foreigners are selling drugs, promoting prostitution and competing with the locals for the few jobs available.

The Zulus are the major perpetrators of the xenophobic attacks in South Africa because it was their king that gave the go ahead to kill and pursue. This is why Durban is the worst affected place. It is in Durban that the King’s order originated.

This is not the first time the Zulu king is instigating violence. This is not the second time he is igniting xenophobic attacks by his utterances that usually play on the fragile emotions and the stupidities of his people.

Regrettably this is not going to be the last time sensitive comments about the roles of foreigners in South Africa will be used politically or otherwise to set black Africans against their brothers and sisters from another country.

The Zulus are very problematic people. It appears that the other tribes like the Khosas and the Buas are not in support of this recent madness in South Africa.

The attacks have since spread to other places. Limpopo and Johannesburg are also affected. People are being killed and goods are looted from homes and stores.

As I settled down to write this essay l got reports that a certain Julles town in Johannesburg was under attack. This is a place where many Nigerians run auto businesses in form of mechanical workshops. Many cars in the workshops have been burnt down!

There are several schools of thoughts on the rising xenophobic attacks in post-apartheid South Africa and where this could lead to in the future.

One that is a consistent narrative from different sources in South Africa is that some South African citizens can be categorised as lazy, stupid citizens. They are the ones that are easily manipulated by hate speeches such as the one given by the stupid Zulu King.

This school of thought believes that this category of South Africans is always jealous of the achievements of the foreigners.

In this post-apartheid South Africa the arguments go further that the locals have refused to do something good with their time and energy. They wait on the government to give them houses, water, light and other things all for free.

A careful analysis on this behaviour with respect to the situation during and after the collapse of the traumatic apartheid regime needs to be investigated and reported. It may help politicians in South Africa to come to their senses.

Why have the citizens of South Africa failed to take advantage of the opportunities around them thereby allowing foreigners to perch on these opportunities? What is the role of the lack of education in all these brouhaha? Why are the people generally regarded as lazy?

My investigations revealed that the people behind the massacre and looting in South Africa are those who blame the whites, their fellow Africans and even their government for everything that is not going well with them.

Sadly they have refused to get up to do something tangible with their lives. They enjoy drinking, smoking, sleeping and idling around while expecting that everything should be given to them for free. In extreme cases they loot and take from others by force or through the use of arms.

An average uneducated South African does not understand how foreigners from Malawi or Zimbabwe doing menial jobs are able to make ends meet because they don’t get the logic that little drops of water make a mighty ocean.

They are so myopic they don’t know that Nigerians can make profits with their legitimate businesses starting with little investments. They should come to Nigeria and see how hairdressers, small shop owners and several petty traders keep their families together with the profits from their different businesses.

It appears that South Africa will forever remain hostile to Nigerians and other people in their midst. The xenophobic attacks of April 2015 were already predicted in March 2014 after similar attacks.

Words from south Africa continues to reveal that these attacks will continue but at varying degrees. The prediction is that South Africa may go down one day if the government does not wake up to put her acts together.

If this ever happens, the country that has called itself by the name of an entire region-Southern Africa-will not receive aid or help from other African countries.

The post apartheid children of South Africa will eventually be taught the history and lessons of the apartheid years and that may be their saving grace from the way of perdition that they have chosen.

The successes of South African companies and organisations rest on the shoulders of the educated ones among them and the foreigners that appreciate such gestures.

It must be emphasized that those carrying out xenophobic attacks in South Africa don’t care about South Africa companies and interests abroad. They don’t comprehend it and that is why retaliations of any form will not bother them.

On this matter of xenophobism, retaliations are not the options anywhere.

This is where the roles of the government of South Africa become extremely important. They must (and by force too) educate this bunch of fools and by default their children to prevent them from becoming both self-destructive and xenophobic.

The children of the Zulus, all the children of South Africa must not be allowed to grow up with greed, jealousy and foolishness. It will spell doom for the future of the region. The leaders, l was told need to come clean and educate their citizens better. They cannot continue to threat them with kid gloves because of their selfish political gains.

From the Nigerian angle, l think it is about time Nigerians in South Africa look at themselves in the mirror too and take a stock of their sojourn in South Africa.

There are Nigerian professionals and business people in South Africa. They live and work there and contribute to the development of the country. For them South Africa is home. This is the same for Nigerians around the world, doing great in different ways. This is legitimate and a part of human nature and existence.

Unemployment is a serious problem in South Africa. So when it comes to Nigerians living on the streets in South Africa or Nigerians seeking political asylum and having no means of legitimate livelihood, l think this is an unwarranted incursion into the South African enclave.

It is this category of Nigerians that have been clumped together with other foreign nationals as pests and a burden to the South African society

To make matters worse, the Home Affairs Office in South Africa is making several billions of dollars annually from the illegality of issuing permit.

The government of South Africa has turned the issuance of resident permit to a national income earner. At R3000 for an application that can be turned down several times, this industry has come to represent the face of the South African National scam.

Still there are disturbing images of maltreatment of black Africans including thousands of Nigerians seeking different types and shades of permits.

The government of Nigeria must repatriate her citizens who have become a source of burden and even menaces to the people and government of South Africa.

For the ones who have chosen the drug business or prostitution. It is up to the South African government to sharpen her legal system. The police cannot remain corrupt while the people expect a miracle of sanity. The South African police are very corrupt and illegal businesses will always thrive in the midst of corruption.

The cure for drug businesses and prostitution is a functional law system and not xenophobic attacks. It is not as if the South African citizens are saints on this matter. People should be treated equally under the law irrespective of their nationalities or countries of origin.

One cannot also forget that South Africa is well known for the spread of crimes amongst the population. Johannesburg is ranked high among the most dangerous cities in the world.

Every day young South African rascals steal and even molest other people in the society. Sometimes guns are used and people are killed. Some people l know have suffered in the hands of South African criminal gangs.

South Africa has a lot of work to do. To stop apartheid, many African countries stood up for South Africa. I remember the endless chanting of Nigerian musicians back in the days. They sang and shouted down the walls of apartheid.

The people of South Africa are fast becoming slaves in their own land. What has become of black majority rule in the hands of the ANC? Now the aggression is towards the same people who helped them to gain freedom. There is anger in Harare and there is anger in Lagos.

Nigeria must get fully back on her feet again especially as everyone waits anxiously for the take off of the APC mandate at the national level.

Many Nigerians will return home because they are tired and frustrated in South Africa. Many other African nationals may follow suit.

History will record the next recipients of the fatal blow coming from the ignorant people of South Africa. Hopefully then the people would have identified their real enemies.

At that time when the cycle of slavery is complete and fully manifested, maybe eyes will be opened and knowledge will be common.

My final suggestion is to the people and government of Nigeria.

Arise O’ compatriots!

As your brothers and sisters start to return home, let them be fully reintegrated normally into the society. Their potentials as professionals, business people and entrepreneurs must not be allowed to rot away on home soil.

Hug them. Do not stigmatize them.

aderounmu@gmail.com

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Why Men Should Cook

Cooking can be a form of relaxation. It is surely art. A nation or a country can be built on well laid foundations that start from the family.

Why Men Should Cook

By Adeola Aderounmu

Time in the kitchen is time well spent

Time in the kitchen is time well spent

A nation or a country can be built on well laid foundations that start from the family. I have argued for parental leave for both mothers and fathers in Nigeria.

Unfortunately there has not been any progress in that area. The typical Nigerian life is driven by harsh economic realities and unpredictable socio-political circumstances.

In one of the most complicated situations in the world, the influence of culture and religion in Nigeria provide for a lot of arguments and discussions on the roles of men in different functional and complicated family situations.

All the men in my nuclear family are great cooks. How is that possible?

The credit goes to our mother who complemented our education effectively on the home front. In Western Nigerian secondary schools (during my time) boys are encouraged to choose Agricultural Science and the girls Home Economics.

As I recall now it seemed that the society also played a biased role in determining the roles of men and women. Therefore it appeared that unless the boys took great interest in cooking or their parents especially mothers taught them at home, they always ended up unable to cook.

Many are quick to emphasize that it is the role or even the “job” of women to cook. In traditional African settings that is largely true. The last statement can be expanded even as a topic for an academic dissertation based on the settings of the traditional African societies and the division of labor amongst the men, women and children.

It has always been imperative that women are able to cook, I may state.

My arguments in this essay are towards the men. I think that the men should be able to cook as much as the women. There are many examples of men who are better cook than their wives or the women in their lives.

These arguments are based on the realities of a changing world that cannot be locked up in the past.

Why should men cook? I will draw mostly from personal experiences.

Cooking as I have found out can be a form of relaxation. A wrong notion might be that a man needs a cold bottle of beer after a stressful day at work.

Cooking can relax the mind and body

Cooking can relax the mind and body

If your kitchen is tidy it is one of the best places to retire to after a hard day’s work. It is a place where you can either throw away your disappointments or show your happiness for the day.

Under any of these circumstances above there should be no hindrance to showing love and care to your children or to your visitors or friends depending on the company you keep after work.

Cooking is art. By systematically creating a piece of meal or a nice, tasty diet from essential raw materials, you might forget or relish about how the day has been and cherish the moment when your children, friends or family enjoy the products your serve to them.

A man should cook to ease the strain on the family.

The children should not suffer or eat junk food simply because their mother is working late one day a week. They should not bear the brunt of their mother visiting a friend during the week or attending a ceremony on Saturday.

If the man is at home, he should be able to stand up to the responsibility of keeping the family going and cooking should be the least of his worries.

There will always be situations when the man is alone with the children at home. That time should not be the time to put up the “I don’t care attitude”. It should not be the time to insult the mother of the children simply because she is held up with another activity.

Some men will never accept that they neglected the obligation of learning how to cook when they were growing up.

Men don’t cook in my family is an outdated expression. When I went to the university I always ate from mama-put is the outburst of a lazy mind. Wake up and look around you. Face the reality of your time and brace up for the era you live in!

Many students can cook despite the fact that they ate at Mama-put and other decent restaurant-which one is your own?

Cooking helps the women to appreciate and boast positively about their men. They feel a sense of gender equality without struggling to achieve it. In a functional family this can promote sexual attraction and help the family to stay psychologically healthy.

Pie: cooking is a form of art

Pie: cooking is a form of art

I do not mean that cooking prevent separation or divorce. It is just one of the ingredients that help as long as the relationship exists.

When both men and women take turns in the kitchen especially when the turns are not based on a schedule, it helps the children to understand that they are required to also take responsibilities for many things in their lives.

The act of pushing blames or looking for excuses start from the family and children learn too quickly from their immediate environment.

Cooking helps children to learn in diverse ways. Science, art, creativity and mathematics are all embodied into cooking.

In Nigeria I can recall that we learned how to cook using a lot of estimations in our judgments of what is required or needed.

Now when I cook sometimes with instructions and using units like “deciliter” or other measurements-I appreciate the level of my mother’s mathematics. It is almost unbelievable what our mothers did!

I know some men take to cooking as a hobby. This means that, by looking or by some sort of interest they just got going at cooking and found it easy and lovable.

I am sure this category of men have found cooking as a useful hobby at those times they are alone as bachelors or married men whose wives are away for certain reasons. They are able to step-up and take charge of the kitchen.

Turning this hobby into a responsibility will be useful on the long run.

From the foregoing, the ability to cook can also help men (and women) to live independently if they choose to be single.

In my family the time between the secondary school leaving year and the university admission year was reserved for intensive course in cooking with my mother. Invariably that was the time you take over the responsibility of cooking for the others in the family who are at home or getting back from work.

Long before that time, it was recommended to be an observer as mama dished out orisirisi from different pots on our stove that was powered by the kerosene.

Growing up in my family back in Nigeria, I know that both boys and girls have equal abilities in the kitchen. I mean a balance of culinary skills. What may vary is the creativity that we add as we went our separate ways.

The documentation of my days at Jaja and Mariere Halls of the University of Lagos cannot be complete without the flavor and aroma the boys in the halls added to the hostels every day.

Later on I met a friend (names withheld) who told me that he could hardly make a cup of tea. He was actually not joking that he cannot even fry an egg. He frequents my room at the College of Medicine in Idiaraba and I always try to show him how I cook. His case was hopeless. He is still my friend today.

When I have had visitors at our home in Stockholm, some people were unable to hide their shock as to the long time I spent in the kitchen. I cook and I tidy up after cooking. Then I tell them why men should cook and tidy up. I hope some women are not fighting their men based on my kitchen behavior.

I do not believe it is the role of women to always do the cooking or tidy up. My mother would chase me out of the kitchen if I start to cook when the kitchen is dirty. In some extreme cases that I remember, she will put out the fire from the stove and I have to take it from the beginning.

There is a time to add the salt and there is a time to slice the onions. No stones in the beans or you’ll eat all the beans yourself. The rice cannot stick together and the tomato sauce must be well fried. Oh Mamma!

Today I appreciate those teachings more than ever before. You will never see me in a dirty kitchen. I can get ill in a dirty kitchen and that is not an exaggeration. It is not a function of wealth but common sense and lessons about hygiene well taken from my mother.

In Nigeria, many families will probably be unable to synchronize their meal times but with proper planning breakfast and dinner at home should be a possibility. Depending on the weekend schedules, families should strive to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner together.

People should stop giving excuses on why they cannot cook or eat with their family.

Like many other issues affecting the upbringing of children, many men will continue to blame it on “lack of time”.

There will never be enough time for what a man wants to do in his lifetime. The same is true for women. People should be taught how to manage their time using the family (spouse and children) as the starting point.

Parents should help their children to acquire cooking skills at home. Bring the children into a safe and tidy kitchen and show them how to cook.

It will be a long walk for the Nigerian society but it is achievable across all the regions if sensible and capable people take over control of the politics and the economy across all the various regions.

Nothing is impossible when there is a sincere roadmap that is not left in the hands of idiots and complete nonentities who are driven by selfish interests and absolute greed.

In Nigeria, it is imperative that the different regions are allowed to re-emerge.

There is a lot in the identities of each ethnic group that are submerged and lost in the name of unitary government that shows lack of respect to individuals and folk-group.

People should be allowed to tap into their cultural and traditional family values. They should be taught how to plan their homes appropriately with respect to family size and responsibilities.

It is time to lift the positive values within the family through regional adaptive education and merge them with the demands of a global village.

Properly educated children will build strong families and dependable communities. They will form the backbones of viable regions across Nigeria. The future can be bright and better.

My late mother’s teachings at home and an adaptive, undiluted education in Western Nigeria fit perfectly into a functional life at home and across the world.

Festac Grammar School Versus Lagos State Government

Adeola Aderounmu

I believe that the problems facing education, in terms of both infrastructure and the quality of it, should never be relegated in the ongoing rejuvenation of Lagos State. The resuscitation of Lagos state public schools should now be on top of the scale of preference of both Governor Fashola and the Commissioner for Education

Dangerously Looking school structure at Festac Grammar School

Dangerously Looking school structure at Festac Grammar School

In the first report I made about Festac Grammar School I had stated that I will continue to write about Festac Grammar School (FGS) until something is done to salvage the school. It is my alma mater and I take this cause very seriously. In a way it will serve as a point of reference for the general decay and expose the degree of negligence that schools have suffered under successive irresponsible governments in Lagos State.

The legacy of free and quality education in Western Nigeria under Late Awolowo and former governor Jakande suffered violent extinction with the advent of military rule. It is unimaginable that public education in Lagos State especially at the primary and secondary levels will remain redundant more than 10 years into civilian rule. This is more than a shame. It is a scandal.

The Festac Grammar School Alumni Projects’ Management Group-FGSAPMG was formed in 2011 and the team is now fully integrated into the main stream Alumni group. Our goals are clear. We have set out not only complain about the near-death state of our alma mater but also to seek ways to solve the problems.

Writing from a personal note I think that corruption is the root cause of the negligence. I won’t be totally wrong to state that the person or group that were supposed to implement the reconstruction of Festac Grammar School from the Jakande temporary structures to permanent school structures in the mid-80s stole the money earmarked for the project. Governor Fashola can start by looking at the records, fishing out the culprits and marching them to the prosecutors.

In addition if funds have been provided directly to the leadership of the school then we will like to know when and how much was provided. As we seek accountability from the state government, we also need her help in providing details of financial assistance to the school. If any individual among the school leadership is guilty of embezzlement, let him or her be brought to justice.

Some members of FGSAPMG recently visited the school. Babatunde Adebisi, Dare Olaosebikan, Raphael Omorogbe, Omozele Unuakhalu and Obichie Joseph Ndubuisi met with the school principal Mrs. Olowu and the VP Academics Mrs. Efetie.

Some of their findings are:

• No Library in the School

• No Electricity in the Junior School

• Electricity in the senior School has been disconnected by PHCN

• No functional Toilet for Teachers and students

• Scrappy furniture in the staff room

• Crowded classes in the Junior School (between 70-75 pupil in a class)

• Dilapidated Buildings and damaged class room floors

The alumni representatives noted with dismay the near complete absence of government assistance to the school or misappropriation of funds earmarked for it. One of the projects that the government has executed was the so-called ECO project for a Computer room with about 30 computers. The government also provided a generator set. A prototype toilet was never completed.

It is sad how Lagos State officials have become chronic liars. Representatives of the Ministry of Education in Lagos State have visited FGS on several occasions. They have been doing so even before I graduated in 1989. They could not even keep to their promises of renovating the only storey building in the school.

The task is not just to renovate the storey building. The present conditions of a school like Festac Grammar School is a disgrace to Festac Town, a disgrace to Amuwo Odofin Local Government, a disgrace to Lagos State Ministry of Education and despite all he has done a disgrace to Governor Fashola.

Nigerians should start making authentic demands from their rulers or leaders. I have stated that this is my contribution to the ongoing process whereby the alumni association is trying all possible means to sensitize the Lagos State government on the need to rebuild Festac Grammar School. Some of the most brilliant minds in Lagos and Nigeria have emerged from this school. For the sake of the children in Festac Town and its environs, an outstanding citadel like FGS must be kept running, functional and up to acceptable standards.

Government should be responsive to its obligation without being pushed or tipped. We (as representatives of FGS) don’t need to know someone in the inner chamber of the Lagos State government before we can get this job done. The notion of using people in government to fast track the execution of government work/project is an anomaly. It does work but it shouldn’t be our prime focus.

It has been stated that the Lagos State Government will not approve the renovation of its property in the school by the Alumni Group. Therefore the focus of the Alumni Group is tilted towards the execution of projects or rendering of assistances within our capabilities and the frame of the law.

In the coming days all these issues will be fine-tuned. We will continue with our deliberations and come up with a dynamic blue-print on the way forward.

Obviously it is asking too much of us if we think that we can rebuild two Lagos State public schools simultaneously. I support the opinion that the government must live up to its responsibilities and obligations.

Education is the right of every child and it must once again become a priority. The infrastructure and the equipment needed to facilitate this right must also be provided by the state.

In spite of the harsh learning conditions and the negligence of the education authority the Academic standard in FGS remains remarkable. It is still a tradition that the teaching and administrative staffs remain committed to programs that have sustained the academic excellence of the school.

In a recent baseline assessment conducted by the Ministry of education, FGS (the only poultry school in Amuwo Odofin Local Government) came 1st in Amuwo Odofin Local Government, 4th in the district and 19th in Lagos state. We used to be among the first in Lagos State.

In the meantime, for the sake of the school, The Project Management Group will definitely look into some of immediate needs of the schools which include:

Provision of furniture for teachers’ staff room
Re-establishment of the school library
Career counseling and general reward system for students
Outstanding PHCN bill of =N=40,000.00
Provision of office equipment like Photocopier, Computers and Printers
Dr. Steve Onyewuchi Eke, an alumnus of FGS called in to the last meeting from his base in Atlanta and promised to pay the PHCN bill.

We continue to look forward to the visible presence and concrete action of the state government in our alma mater. We will not relent in all the possible ways we have set upon ourselves to achieve these noble objectives.

When the deed is done, the FGS-APMG will be quick to help out the school on the lessons of maintenance culture. We will stand by our school from now on.

Acknowledgement: This version of my monthly essay on FGS contains some of the information submitted by Ralph Omorogbe on behalf of the members of the School Visitation Committee. Their names are already in the essay.