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How To Be An African Child Part 1

How To Be An African Child Part 1


It is home, but one can never keep up with the bucket and half full of drama. If it ain’t this it’s that, or maybe everything all in one score. Our crazy existence. Let me tell you how to be an African child.

If you are a boy pay attention. Where I come from big boys don’t cry. Yes! Only the weak and cowards shed tears. Many of us have died from within because they were strong and courageous.

Look, to be a perfect African boy you shouldn’t cry when you fall. Regardless of how hard you fall just stand up and shake it off. It’s just a fall after all. You didn’t die, so why cry. Elders will even chant, “ndiko kukura” meaning to say “that’s a part of growing up”. Maybe we should be happy when we fall. Big boys do not cry.

When your mother beats you don’t you dare cry. Crying means you deserve more thrashing. Here’s the confusion, if you don’t cry they say you’re now stubborn. They call you “nhinhi” and will beat you even more until you drop a tear or two.

So what then? A professional African child is good at softening a mother’s heart. Don’t let her catch you before you have something sweet for her. Rather wash all the dishes and clean the house before she gets cross with you. If you can’t, then run as far as you can until she feels sorry for starving you all day.

Note to self: She may feel sorry for you today, but she doesn’t forget. One day she’ll make you pay for your sins. Don’t you ever break anything in the house or come back home late. Don’t say I never told you.

No matter who is visiting. Even if it is your favorite uncle who always makes you sit on his lap. Never play in the house when there are visitors. In Africa furniture has a tendency to break in a child’s hands when there are visitors. If she beats you in the visitor’s presence they will shield you. So she will act as if nothing major happened. Wait until the visitors leave.
It doesn’t matter whether they stay a few hours or for the whole week. Your sins have been recorded in the black book. You will pay.

Watch out for the next part and learn how to be a perfect African child with your favorite writer.


5 thoughts on “How To Be An African Child Part 1

  1. This is precise for my country too but I feel that indicating what part of Africa you mean would have been the cherry in top, I love how you interspersed the essay with your dialect. Again, I wish I knew which particular country you are from. We have a duty as Africans ( in my case Ugandan) to make the West understand that Africa is not one huge brown homemade pie with South Africa as the garnishing piece of parsley. I can totally relate to the destruction of furniture in your hands when guests are around. The heart-stopping moment when your mother gives you that ‘wait-for-me-at-midnight-when-nobody-can-hear-you-scream look promising you future punishment. Well done.

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