Six days. Six days no one knows how long. But God was done. He rolled down his sleeves and wiped a mighty sweat from his brow. One more look around and he declared everything Good. Satisfied, He then punched out from work and went into the seventh day to begin his day off.
And men began to spread into the various continents from the Garden of Eden. As men spread, they began to study time and make it work for them. In Europe, there is the Greenwich Mean Time and all what not.
The Americans came up with Central, Mountain, Pacific, Alaska and Hawaii Standard Times. They even made provision for time adjustment. Twice in a year they either move time forward or backward. All these time manipulations or more appropriately adjustments were approved, documented and coded for official use long, long, time ago.
God may have tacitly approved of these time variations. In the least, he did not complain and those affected by it did not and have not complained. These times are now used to regulate international trade, business and communication.
Everything was going well until a specie of humans called Africans came into the scene. They named their own time “African Time”. But wait, what is African Time? No one knows! Not even God! Yes, it is that serious. No one knows because it is not approved, documented or coded by those who coined it. African Time is like the mysterious Bermuda Triangle that swallows everything that over flies it. You don’t want to leave home too early so that you will not wait a long time for others. But how much is too early or too late? You can never tell.
So, how do we deconstruct African Time? All other time structures can relate to each other. Nigeria sits to the right of the Greenwich Mean Time. Therefore, if I look at my time piece and it is 6pm, that tells me that it is 5pm in London. From that point of entry, I can calculate what time it is anywhere else in the world. I can also do something similar with the various times stamps in the United States or any other parts of the world.
However, once it comes to African Time, everything becomes nebulous. Well, there is some understanding that African Time is behind all internationally approved time. But by how much. Is it 1,2,3,4,5……..hours behind? No one can say with any certainty. Now, we have found ourselves in a conundrum. When you receive an invitation for an event with a time stamp, say 1-3pm, you go into an advanced algebra session to figure out what that really means. Certainly, it is not going to be 1-3pm. But will it be 1.30-3.30pm or 2-4pm or, or, or ad infinitum. No one seems to like the ordeal but almost everyone contributes their quota to it. Yet, everyone will tell you, “No African Time Please”.
A big price to pay
They say time waits for no one. That is a universal truth. We can only wait for time. Once it comes, it heads to its archive somewhere in the universe never to be seen again for eternity. Therefore, time is the most expensive thing in the universe. Yet, we Africans play and joke with it. Just how much has it cost and hurt us? We don’t know and don’t care a hoot about it.
A saying among my people, the Urhobos, has it that a fool never loses weight because he never worries about anything. Are we fools that we don’t know that in EVERYTHING in the world, we are behind? Sometimes, it feels like we are cursed. Yet, there is no record in any book, holy or unholy that we are cursed.
In our foolishness about time, we have lost trillions of human years. We have been reduced to mere consumers of what others produce. Even then, we cannot bring ourselves to use properly what others have sweated so hard to produce. Yet, we walk around like peacocks proclaiming we are black and proud. Excuse me! Proud of what?
And so, like wounded sea gulls, we sit by the ocean and watch the high tides come to our feet, our thighs, our torsos and then our heads until we dissolve into nothingness.
For those who are old chaps, sorry, you have been chopped and roasted by African Time. Just wait for your ignominious passing out parade.
For those who are young, you are in danger. REJECT AFRICAN TIME NOW and take your lives back. Otherwise, you will end up like your ancestors, wounded sea gulls washed away into oblivion by the high tides of life.