Nature is transient and art is permanent. This explains why my family spring water Gokoyei on the side of the forest at the Kolbanga agricultural ranch, dried up permanently some two years ago while Bob Marley’s video clips and songs are still alive and kicking even without diamba. Indeed the Reggae King reigneth forever never mind the destruction of the weed farms all over the country.
The spring water Gokoyei used to be the coolest and cleanest spring water in the Moimandu Kotarya village, or can I say town? After all the politicians have elevated all those dusty and filthy shanty towns to cities! The Gokoyei family myth succumbed to the unkind climate change or what have you? I think it was around 1983 or so that Bob Marley’s last album, ‘Confrontation’ was released, after his death. I particularly love two tracks on this album – Redemption Song and Buffalo Soldier. In fact when on May 11, 1984 I established a student press on Aureol campus, I named it Buffalo Press and my editorial name was Buffalo Soldier after Bob Marley’s track.
Today although hip hop has taken over the dance hall, reggae remains an evergreen stuff that comes in handy in all situations. Reggae lyrics largely advocate for the common man. In the early 80s when anti-Siaka Stevens feelings were on an all-time high, whenever you heard Bob Marley’s music from all the hostels some confrontation was in the offing. It appeared some kind of fun taking solace in Marley’s vibes at the time. You know the Rasta man’s greatest enemies are always referred to as Babylon, borrowing a leaf from the biblical story.
The Suppressed and depraved especially youth always cry down Babylon. For them it includes corrupt people and repressive regimes.
In most cases it is in the form of protest against Babylon. It is promoted more by Rastafarians who hail Haile Selassie, the late diminutive Emperor of Ethiopia which is seen as their promised land. Some reggae artists like Bob Marley draw a lot of inferences from the bible for their lyrics. Bob Marley the King of Reggae used very powerful lyrics to drive home his most times protest music. Like in the track Survival, he says “some people have hopes and dreams, some people have ways and means.”
In our daily fight for survival some people can only dream, others actualize their dreams. Hope really keeps people struggling on, without hope nobody continues to strive.
But in the process very few actually make it. This is just the way of the world. This is part of life’s ironies. Like the other day I read a very interesting piece in a very prominent medical Doctor’s office in Freetown city center which read “Don’t worry, you will not go out of this world alive” can you beat that? Do you catch the truism or do you miss it like an uninformed theater audience misses a good humor? Indeed no matter how great you are you definitely leave this world dead. Yet we keep on making every effort to stay alive like going to medical doctors to cure us. Interestingly nurses and doctors also succumb to death. In the Catholic Church we pray for the Pope, our bishops, and priests at every Mass.
The struggle to fulfill our dreams sometimes lands us into a whole lot of strategies some of which are at the detriment of others. When recently the issue of assets declaration was being bandied around I wondered how honest people will actually be. Interestingly enough some people were claiming more properties than they actually had so that they may not be held culpable when they leave public office. They have real and imagined or anticipated assets – this is Sierra Leone.
While President Koroma continues to show commitment to the attitudinal change call, many citizens believe since one cannot comfortably live on one’s income, then dubious means will have to be sought! With this kind of thinking Sierra Leone may find it difficult to go the president’s way.
Now one may ask why high hopes and dreams? If you look around Freetown you see the need to have a private car Oh yes it looks like a necessity, but how many can afford it.
No wonder you see private cars taking passengers so that they can at least cover the next day’s fuel cost. Can you blame them? Time it was when taxi drivers had human faces but now it seems they carry something else on their faces. This is why they often say that their master has bought a car for them. Indeed the taxi car is for them because they make much more money than the master who toiled hard to raise the millions. I spoke to a former taxi owner and he said the whole taxi business is now becoming a nightmare for the owner. He said when the driver leaves in the morning you won’t be at ease until he comes back without stories of break downs or something else or another. So in actual fact a family depending on the proceeds from the taxi to survive may perish in a twinkle of an eye.
The whole thing becomes a jumbled up puzzle the answer to which keeps eluding. This reminds me of a very witty stuff I picked up at the CCG receptionist’s office last week. It asks a very challenging question which goes “Do you know the ex-boyfriend of your ex-boy friend’s girlfriend?” May be only a very jealous lover will take the pains to trace that Venus lineage. You remember Nelson Mandela once said that you can choose your friend but you cannot choose your friend’s friend.
Your hopes and dreams can only take you somewhere when they are matched by the ways and means. The problem with some people is that their hopes and dreams far exceed their means. I remember that childhood music which said “This world is a ladder, if you wanna make it you’ve got to start up and take it step by step. No hard riding so that you don’t fall and get hurt.
Many people take very hard riding and end up falling. Look around and you will see the many who did not take it step by step … they rode very hard and fell and hurt themselves. It’s like two monkeys having a box full of groundnuts but then the opening is just big enough to allow say one or two to be picked out. One of the monkeys decides to take out a big handful. While struggling to force the hand full of groundnuts out it bruises the hands and thus could not eat the ground nuts. His colleague who took the groundnuts in small bits with ease was able to eat all. Big grabbers are most times destroyed in the process.
Where does all this lead us knowing full well that we will never leave this world alive! It is true that Sierra Leone’s life expectancy swings between 40 and 42 years or so.
Granted that this is a short period – but seen in terms of getting assets, it is also a long period.
What do you prefer, getting everything between the ages of 25 to 40 and at 45 you do not have any. Perhaps it could be better to amass them quite close to your second lap in life. Most people will tell you it is the end of man that matters. Well there are those who have the propensity of getting in and out of poverty several times in their lives – call them poverty mavericks.
One reason why it is often difficult to be actually satisfied about acquisitions, is that it is only when your generation gives way to another that you realize things were indeed better in your own time. In all this it is good to evaluate one’s self.
The evaluation of ones self in relation to ones goal is part of purposeful living. It does not imply a comparison with an absolute or blame for not achieving what one had hoped to achieve.
Rather it allows one to be honest about self and it enables you to maintain your purposefulness. When one considers the rigors of getting kids through good schools to college then it becomes crazy for one to be able to get it all, except perhaps you want to be a regular customer to the Anti-Corruption Commission.
What is more or less clear is that nature has a way of keeping some kind of balance. So when you are setting up your hopes and dreams bear in mind the capacity to have the ways and means that are within the bounds of human rights, justice and the maintenance of the dignity of the human being.
By S.Beny SAM