If there is one thing this world does, it is to Honour. But, since the introduction internet to Africa this generation has questioned if this was a strength or an Achilles hill. We ask has honour slowed down our revolution and industrialisation, what is African honour? Let’s begin this way, I did not know my father’s full name until I was 16, why? I never called it in full, I never do and I am still better than most that would only know their father’s full name looking at his tombstone. This is Africa calling your dad by name is dishonour 101.
The best definition I got for honour was giving by Dr Mike Murdock as the willingness to reward difference, while wisdom was Knowing difference. The question is what is difference? And also who is different? Both answers to the honour question reveals stages which expose positives and negatives.
The “what” is where many people in other continents stop, they don’t seem to get to the “who” part. So hinging on the “what” many find themselves saying things like “I know he is 60 but he doesn’t DESERVE to be honoured…” “I know she is my mom but what has she done to DESERVE my honour”. So the “what” birthed the “deserving”, to deserve anything you must have done a “what” in retrospect I could ask you “What did you do to deserve this honour laid on you?” This phase of honour is good, but very shallow, it’s because of honours like this that a billionaire and a former First Lady can win a candidacy ticket of the presidency even if as correctly argued by both parties, one lacks the temperament and the other lacks good judgement for the job.
On this next stage the entire continent of Africa was framed; the “who”. Like the “what” this stage also has its negatives, to begin with there are some criminals at large in this continent because with their criminal money they had built one or two structures for the state without the states full knowledge of their acts of criminality at first. Amidst mind blowing evidences some have become governors and even president of nations because of this honour. It’s because of an honour as this that a former governor of Nigeria had to be sentenced outside of the country for crimes committed inside the country, and there are still members of the state still having him as a hero. There are also the political leaders that stay in office for decades because they feel nobody can be a better leader for the country and the citizens support also mostly because of Honour.
Each have ruled for more than a decade
The “who” looks mainly at the person not at what he has accomplished. For example I have never sat down in a bus where an elderly lady or man was standing; I don’t know how. But for decades this honour has been bastardized by many especially those appointed or selected into positions of power to the extent many young and upwardly mobile individuals are now deciding to switch to the “what” stage of honour, so this country doesn’t just go into decay.
But, the “who” is what makes us African not our colour or country. The fact that no matter how grown and accomplished you are, you can still respect your elders and colleagues even in public without them being a superman or a wonder woman is priceless. It’s because of this honour that despite the average performances of our security agencies this country and continent has not broken into chaos with bullies having a free day on the weak. As equipped as the first world security agencies are it’s only in their movies that they are as protected as Africa is in reality. Because over there the Law and Law enforcers are always needed to keep the people in check, here we don’t even have enough security men and women to spare. So the Pastors, Imam, Traditional leaders, Parents, Neighbours and siblings step their game up because we have previously accorded them this African Honour.
Nevertheless a line has to be drawn in the sands of time that those who insult the privileges of honour like criminals should be accorded no honour, no matter their age, status, religious believes or wealth. This I think is the only factor the “who” stage of honour has to deal with moving forward.
Not everybody can have what they did that is deserving of honour. So if Africa degrades to the point of waiting for an out of the ordinary, ground breaking achievement to be made by our parents and elders etc. for us to accord them honour undeserved, we might wait for our entire life and still not find any while Africa would have lost its identity.
So finally to say Honour stopped your digitization is like saying the rain stopped you from going to work. A wise fellow got an umbrella and got there to get the job done while you stayed at home and got relegated. Don’t blame the rain, instead look at the mirror and say this “I was Lazy and Foolish”
A world of dishonour is a world that is disorganised. There isn’t much in Africa but there is this one thing; Honour. It’s what it is to be African.