As a child, I used to hear the common phrase “if you want to hide something from a black man, put it in a book.” Some say, “write it down.” I couldn’t understand why black men should be thought of with such contempt. Beautiful, highly intelligent blacks, of which I was a part. Then I grew up and realized that it was indeed true. It doesn’t necessarily need to be in a book nowadays though, it could just be a few lines of writings and you would still get disappointed.
So towards the end of 2016, I felt an overwhelming urge to celebrate my mom on social media . I mean, the woman had been and still is superb. It wasn’t her birthday. It wasn’t even mother’s day but I wrote something, more like an epistle, putting it up with her picture on Instagram. It wasn’t long after, Instagram notified me that I had some comments. I opened Instagram and saw the comment “Happy birthday mummy. May you live long for us.” to which I commented in return “Thank you dear. God bless you.” Then I started wondering where and when or what about the post had confused the person who commented. Nowhere had I indicated that it was my mom’s birthday and I had specifically said that I had only chosen to celebrate her but because this friend of mine had no particular likeness for reading, she hastily made a wrong assumption, thus, her comment.
I was on my own jejely this year, sometime before valentine, scrolling through Facebook when I saw that Facebook had notified a friend of mine that she had been friends with her mum on that platform for a year. Facebook and their notifications sha. Trust Nigerian mums now. She took their anniversary personal… LOL! My friend’s mum shared the post and made a comment praying for her daughter. Abeg, where did she go wrong? In fact, what drew my attention to the post was the comment I had seen, where my friend was wished happy birthday and like the FBI agent that I am, I took to investigating.
“Ahn ahn…but Simi’s birthday is in January”, I thought to myself. I was then forced, out of curiosity to click on the post and I found that again, it was an error on the part of the person who had commented. Just because she had failed to read. Rummer Godden was right then to say: “when you learn to read, you will be born again, and you will never be quite so alone again.”
Very recently, my very articulate Pastor, Timi Adigun put up a post about his delectable wife, Pastor Titi on Instagram. The thing about this post was that from the beginning of the epistle, it was obvious that he was just being sweet to his wife. It wasn’t their anniversary or anything special but he knew that he had married a gem. He even wrote that it wasn’t his wife’s birthday but she was a woman worth celebrating daily. In fact, there was a “P.S” after the post where he stated the exact thing. It was a nice post and was sure to get lots of comment. And like the amebo that I am, I read each one of the comments. It was fun, there were really deep praises about pastor Titi and my admiration doubled. But, what did I see not too long after? I saw a comment from one brother like that which said “Happy birthday, beautiful”.
I do not understand this. I want to ask. Is it that people automatically assume that once you upload a picture of a person, it must be the person’s birthday or is it that they just don’t take enough time to read? I prefer to go with the latter. I mean, it is embarrassing! Being African doesn’t equate us to being unlearned. Contrary to the opinion of Joseph Conrad and the likes who perceived us as barbaric and uncultured, we are an intelligent and sophisticated race both mentally, spiritually and academically. African scholars like Achebe and Soyinka have tried to pass this on through their writings, for goodness’ sake!
It is the same way students would claim to have failed because they did not see (couldn’t be bothered to read) that a particular question was compulsory and not the one they had wrongly answered in the examination hall. It is the same way you go on blogs and see people ask that others summarize the content of a post to them as it was too lengthy for them to read. Posts that aren’t up to two pages o! Haba, people!
I personally think that the advancements in technology shouldn’t be negative developments, but rather should be used as tools for more enlightenment. The average Nigerian doesn’t want to read. Once a piece of writing surpasses three lines, they think it absurd to go on reading, which is why many a youth have caused themselves embarrassment publicly. I wish I can succinctly write all that is on my mind but I will end it here. Just as Frederick Douglass put it, “once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” Freedom is what enlightenment through reading brings! Yearn to be free today.