Monday, April 29, 2013

The scary smoky tower

Our taxi driver drove along the streets of Bonanjo and turned right. We came to an abrupt halt at a barricade. Looking ahead, I immediately guessed the reason for the blockade and exclaimed fearfully, pointing at what was lurking ahead of us. A huge black puff of smoke was rising steadily into the sky like a dreadful genie spiraling out of a magic lamp in the Sinbad movies. It was so big and so black. It was scary. It was a big smoky tower of Babel. I began thinking instantly about air pollution and how this smoky skyscraper was playing a big role in contributing to global pollution and even global warming. There were many people around the base of the smoke tower and the flames that produced it; watching, ululating, taking photos of the burning thing with their phones. I couldn’t quite make out what it was. I tilted my head to the left or right to see what had been engulfed in the flames, together with the other passengers. “C’est une voiture, c’est une voiture, it’s a car, it’s a car,” said two passengers almost at the same time. But we couldn’t quite make out what kind of car it was. Our taxi driver reversed his taxi and drove to the airport using another road. (I wondered if he had thought about his old car suffering from the same fate!). I turned half round and kept staring at the retreating black cloud, as it arched upwards in disjointed whiffs; a big black Iroko tree of black fumes! It’s only when I arrived at my work place, that a colleague told me it was a big SOCATUR bus which had caught fire at the back, precisely the engine. And she went on lamenting about the state of the public SOCATUR buses. They are never maintained even though they make a lot of money, (the government does nothing about their horrible state). They keep plying the roads day in, day out. The engine of that particular one was already too too hot. She could never embark one. It was a death trap. Luckily, all those who were traveling by this one had escaped when the fire started so there were no casualties. And instead of putting out the fire, all those who were around the burning thing were busy taking photos. Nonsense, she concluded. I laughed for a whole minute.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Satire about the reading culture in Cameroon

Let me satirize book reading and book culture in my country Cameroon. Some say if you want to hide something from an African, put it in a book. But I say if you want to hide something from a Cameroonian don’t go as far as putting it in a book. Go near, stick it onto what we touch the most; a beer bottle. Even if it’s the most Shakespearan of poems, we will not read it. We will just uncork the bott...le, drink the beer, watch Samuel Eto’o and go away. Wait, let me go further to say that, if you sign a check of one million dollars and stick it onto a bottle of Castel beer and give a Cameroonian and not tell him it’s a check, he will thank you, uncork it, drink it while watching Eto’o then go away. We don’t read let alone write, we only drink and watch our footballers in Europe. I have more than a dozen friends who’ve never read a novel and probably never will. And I struggle and tussle to see and buy a good novel. The bookshops are Sahara desert-like, skeleton-like. It’s no wonder my father called Cameroon a footballers’ mine but a literary wilderness. We have no literary festivals, no creative writing workshops, no literary awards, no books (I’ve been unsuccessfully looking for Chimamanda’s novels since 2007!!!) no mentorship programs, “no nothing” to motivate writers. No doubt we’ve never produced a Caine prize nominee let alone a winner. And with the passing away of all our prolific writers, Mongo Beti, Ferdinand Oyono, Bate Besong, Mbella Sonne Dipoko, Linus. T. Asong, our literature is in limbo. I guess all these triggered my father to tell me this, “young man, the fact that you’ve kept on writing is a miracle.” Hmmmm, it’s a bad place to become a writer, hmmmmm, you may easily give up; very expensive printing, Lilliput like novel market, wild government censorship for anything ‘politically critical’, incarceration of writers like Bate Besong…Me? I prefer to burn my novel manuscript rather than publishing it in Cameroon.

My funny 2011 story, the main rhyme is /i/

What if Dallas Mavericks never had Nowiski? What if he never even left Germany? What if Derick Rose was at Miami and the Miami three were at Oklahoma City? What if Chicago bulls’ MJ had been the other MJ’s DJ or even producer like Quincy? What if artists like lady Gaga and Jigga weren’t into freemasonry and illuminati and Chris brizzy hadn’t slapped and smacked RiRi? What if “Ready to die” wasn’t ever released by Biggy and “The carter three” wasn’t by Weezy? What if Dre had refused to sign slim shady & Fifty and Fifty never did the Formula 50 business and Nate dogg never had the stroke illness? What if a few years ago, Justin bieber didn’t upload his performances on U-tube regularly? What if Whitney had never married Bobby and Jay-z and Diddy never had all the money ?What if cash money/young money never talked about money and What if my favourite “Bone thugs n harmony” had appeal like Young money’s Nicki and Nicki had instead pursued her dream of acting, appearing and staring in movie after movie? What if James Cameron never directed the record breaking “Avatar” movie and Will smith finally won his much awaited first Oscar Academy as he won the first ever Rap grammy, especially after appearing in movie after movie? What if he had accepted the lead role he was offered in “The Matrix” movie? What if Jaden smith finally wins the Academy for Daddy Willy and Willow won a grammy for “21st century…”. What if Trey smith dropped the foot ball quarter back training and started the other football training as a right back for Milan AC or Egypt’s Al Ahly? What if Barca never had Messi and he was instead playing at Napoli? Could Leo Messi still make games so messy? What if Eto’o chased the money and moved to Man City and Roman “AbramoviC” sold Chelsea, bought Man City together with zlatan “IbrahimoviC” and maintained Mancini at Man City? What if Arsenal’s owners get weary, that Arsene of Arsenal hasn’t won a trophy in 6 years which is a sad history, sack him and disgruntled players leave like Nasri, Rosicky and Ramsey? What if Ramsey wasn’t Irish but English? And Prince William and Kate Middleton had twice never kissed? What if the hit men oBama ordered to kill oSama had missed? What if the media had publicized the missed “bullet,” how would it affect next year’s presidential “ballot”? What if Mark Zuckerberg had never invented facebook, gone back to Harvard to reading his fat books, completed his degree study, so that his parents could be happy when he had a job in a company to earn big money and push away poverty and misery? Well, damn the degree because it is as a result of his uncompleted study, that he had time to make facebook a reality, which is why you are reading my funny story and comedy. And yes, I’m crazy about the sound /i/.
NB: I wrote this at a friend’s house one evening. After we had talked about sport/entertainment (but nothing about the /I;/, ) this idea just popped into my head after listening to Jadakiss' song "What if" and I was like “why can’t I write an appealing story weaving many things in sport/entertainment/politics together but going “through the wire” with one main rhyme?” I told him to give me a pen&paper and I scribbled this for 20 minutes. As I was writing, I thought I could post it on facebook so I concluded with Zuckerberg. When I finished, I read it aloud and he laughed for almost the same 20 minutes too, seized the paper from my hand saying, “I will never give this back to you again, I will own it because you wrote it in my house” protecting the paper like an egg and he didn’t. The whole story was still in my head so I just went back home and typed it on my laptop laughing at my friend’s act.