Ring Ring! Beep Beep! Buzz Buzz!

by Dienye Waboso

Ring Ring! Beep Beep! Buzz Buzz!

These are the most popular and rampant sounds coming out of Nigeria at the moment! Everybody has a cellphone, and blackberrys are the in thing. The man selling groundnuts along Oju Elegba who hasn’t eaten properly in two weeks is carrying around state of the art cellular technology!

As a nation Nigerians value progress. We value progress according to what the West dictates and according to what fashions are in London and America. These are seen as the standards to be met. As a result we have a generation of youth who are “lost”, who define themselves by what Puff Daddy and the likes are doing saying and wearing, youth who live to go to the clubs, wear the hippest brands and of course carry the latest cell phones. It is almost as if there is nothing more to life than to emulate and realize the American MTV dream.

Unfortunately, what many Nigerian youth don’t realize is that the west is eons ahead of us in development and can afford the casualties that come with being completely technologized! The roads are strong, the infrastructure is functional and there is a support system in place for every eventuality. In Nigeria it is not so, as a result we have a system that is eating away at itself and rapidly deteriorating while many youth are talking, chatting, bbming and skyping, facebooking and the likes. But Nigeria and Africa as a whole are so much more than that. In a continent that houses some of the brightest minds and vast resources, how is it that we are controlled so avidly by the products of the West???

A cellphone shop in Lagos, Nigeria.

As a Nigerian living in Canada it is easy to disassociate myself if i choose to. As a Nigerian artist living in Canada it eats away at my soul. True art, the kind that i revere, the kind that examines the human condition cannot flourish in a land where MTV has set the bar for the human condition.

By taking part in The Africa Trilogy, I was presented with the opportunity to be a part of a dialogue about the relationship between the West and Africa. I started asking myself questions such as what kind of relationship is it?

In many ways i think the dialogue, the questions, are more important than any concrete answers. It is for the individual to decide: it is for Westerners to realize and admit that there is a tendency to condescend when dealing with the dark continent, one that is as much a part of us as our heritage. It is for the Africans to leave slavery behind and realize our true potential, which is as visceral, as marketable and every bit as genius as that of our Western counterparts.

Dienye Waboso is a performer in Shine Your Eye by Binyavanga Wainana, directed by Ross Manson.

I believe shifting away from MTV culture and embracing of the totality of the African condition: our writers and musicians, our heritage and history will do a lot in shaping and structuring an equal, open and healthy relationship between Africa and the West.

There is a bit of Africa in us all. There is a bit of the West in us all. It is an amalgamation of the two that i would love to see as an artist!

~ by volcanotheatre on May 3, 2010.

One Response to “Ring Ring! Beep Beep! Buzz Buzz!”

  1. deep!!!

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