By KABS KANU :
The Editor of this newspaper has taken his whole family to Virginia Beach for a well-earned one week Summer vacation. And once again, the glory and beauty of God-given knowledge to man has become the most fascinating spectacle Driving across the 17-mile bridge and underwater tunnels over the ocean into Virginia Beach has left this journalist marvelling that certain members of God’s creation have really put into action the knowledge imbued in them by the Almighty. What kind of magical skill would make puny man build a bridge across 17 miles of ocean with underwater tunnels to boot ?
While we in Africa are utilizing our knowledge in self-destruction, pulling each other down and engaging in witchcraft and all the negative preoccupations imaginable, others are demonstrating that they can use the knowledge given them by God to defy the forces of nature, as as they too exhibit these same negative tendencies. I have never heard about the Virginia Bridge ; I have travelled before over bridges built over the sea but not a 17- mile long one hanging precariously over the deep, blue ocean. Nor did the hotel that provided the directions from New Jersey indicate that one would be a witness to one of the wonders of man. Virginia Bridge and tunnels under the sea thus crept unsuspectingly on me today.And it was an unforgettable spectacle.I was fascinated beyond comparison.
Firstly, here was a man who was not exactly an admirer of heights( His eyes seem to spin ), not to mention driving over the wide, open sea and gazing into the horizon to see nothing but endless mass of ocean for 17 miles. .I did feel giddy behind the wheels as I drove my whole family over man’s masterpiece–a long, torturous , winding bridge over the ocean. However , as the head and the role model of my family, I dared not betray any emotions of fear as we drove onto the bridge this afternoon .But in reality, deep within me, I was shivering. The height, the wide , open sea stretching endlessly before us, the fact that the railings of the bridge were not even high or reinforced enough to stop a van from overturning into that fearsome expanse of turbulent waters. It reminded me of a story a journalist once told about Nelson Mandela. GO TO AROUND AND ABOUT WITH KABS KANU
|Man’s masterpiece :A 17-mile bridge UNDER the oceanAccording to the narrator, a journalist travelling with the then President of South Africa, they were thousands upon thousands of feet up in the sky in a jumbo jet when the aircraft began developing engine trouble. The journalist said that the pilot announced that there was engine trouble and the plane was flying back to Cape Town .The journalist, sitting by the President, was frightened out of his wits.All his mind was on the way the plane would soon crash with them.He said he looked into the President’s face now and again to see if he shared his fears, but Nelson Mandela appeared unconcerned about the dilemma that had hit everybody in the plane. While others were shivering in their shoes, Mandela appeared calm, composed and on occasion even had that trade mark wonderful smile on his face as he read a newspaper, intently turning the pages and seeming enraptured by what he was reading.The journalist wondered why the President was so unconcerned about what was happening in the plane.He mulled over Mandela’s apparent calm and unmoved attitude and concluded that probably there was no danger after all. He developed courage and stopped fearing, and as God would have it, the plane landed safely in Cape Town. The journalist said he was surprised later when as he shook hands with people at the airport, Mandela kept saying that he was “scared up there in that plane “.The journalist was left wondering why Mandela did not betray his emotions up there in the sky. He could not contend with such palpable display of bravado and pretence. .But probably, he surmised, that was what it meant to be a leader. You carry all the dreams and fears of your people.
I experienced a similar situation today. Later on in our hotel, while we ate dinner and discussed some of the highlights of the day’s 6 -hour trip from New Jersey, one of my kids started explaining how frightened he was today when we were driving over that fearsome bridge .And he added : “Daddy was not even afraid. ”
Like Mandela’s journalist, my son was in for a surprise when I replied :” Who said I was not scared ? I was probably more frightened than you.”And I added : “But as your father and leader , if I had shown that I was frightened, what would have happened ?”And I told them about the Mandela story and we all laughed over it.
On a very serious note, such experiences , as the one we had today , will always beg the question about why “The Potoe” is able to utilize God’s knowledge to achieve such marvellous feats whereas we in Africa continue to be backward and uninventive , even with all our education ? Why cannot the black African man achieve the feats that these “puublaisia” exhibit with efficient defiance of all forces of nature ? Can we in Sierra Leone really build a bridge across the Ocean from Government Wharf to Lungi Airport ? Somebody once answered a similar question: “Who told you we can’t do it in Sierra Leone ?We have done it already.There is a bridge across that ocean to Lungi, but you need to have four eyes to see it. It is on it that the witches drive to go and perform witchcraft every night in Lungi and return safely to Freetown. .Enty you know ? Our own knowledge is better utilized to perform witchcraft and fight each other. ”
I do not endorse the views of these Sierra Leoneans. From my study of the Bible and about the dark forces of Hell, I do believe that witchcraft exists not only in Africa , but in advanced countries . I do not subscribe to the views that the black African utilizes the knowledge God has given him in witchcraft. Some people have blamed the white man for our predicament, contending that “The Potoe” came to Africa and underdeveloped it to keep us backward. He took away all our minerals and natural resources and left us the worse for it. Africans accuse him that he has in place a cruel world economic order that rips the black African of everything he needs to challenge the white man in technological advances. This could be true. Only God knows whether these excuses for our backwardness and uninventiveness in Africa are tenable.
However, seeing and driving through the Virginia Bridge today left me again wondering why some of God”s creation are able to put the knowledge he had built in them to make life easier and more comfortable for mankind , while on the other end of the spectrum we have others who can hardly grow even their own staple food, despite all the ferile lands and glorious weather they are blessed with , depending instead on importing it from countries that have poor soils and harsh weather almost throughout the year. I think what we lack in Africa is the motivation to excel the white man.
Granted that he has put himself in a far advantageous position over us and he controls the world economy and military might to his advantage.But the white man can only stop us in Africa from advancing to the measure that we allow him. Many of the technological advances of the world were accomplished by black men.Lets forget for a moment the pyramids of Egypt.
TO BE CONTINUED