Philanthropy is not new in Africa, it is part of our culture. We pride ourselves by how generous we were to our neighbors and communities. There was a boss of ours that reminded us of this African way of life. People whispered behind his back that the children of his girlfriend he was sending to school were not his. He whispered back that if he could send the children of those he hardly knew in his community and children of his house helps to schools, why not those of his girlfriends. This is who we are as Africans.
Many philanthropists that made their money through inventions, investments and sound management growing whatever they had into millions and billions in rich and middle class countries extend their riches to the poor, not only in their own countries but beyond. We still do not have enough of those in African countries despite the fact that we have more billionaires than small countries in Europe. Instead of giving back to the communities, Showoffs ridicule their communities, made up of mostly poor folks with their “gifted” presents to favorites.
What are these “gifted” instigators promoting by humiliating those that cannot afford the presents they pompously display on social media to obsequious relatives, if not to drive those without their means to do the same by drug peddling, armed robbery or rituals. You do not have to go to social media for cheap publicity, go to your village and fund noble projects begging for sponsorships. Poverty is still rampant and getting worse in your communities.
Indeed, “gifted” have overshadowed the humble ones feeding the poor, homeless and paying other people children’s school fees. This is how we grew up when the communities had less desperate, hungry and hardly homeless people. So the more impoverished the communities become, the more insensitive moneybags have become displaying their indifference or lack of candor. They can afford armed security but they set off the poor against the poor without it.
How many countries where majority of their people are middle class display ostentatious and lavish “gifted” presents to relatives and friends to spite and tease the poor? It only happens in poor countries and communities with ghetto mentalities where majority of your folks cannot afford three square meals a day. Ironically, most of these people inciting the poor to crimes, daring us to match them, came from humble homes themselves. Since they acquired money by fame, hook or crook, they challenge others to salivate or imitate them in deeds beyond the means of folks in their communities.
If you flash so called “gifted” presents on social media, you are asking, begging and calling for attention. Do not cry when you are deluged by beggars, do not hide or complain since you attracted them or those armed robbers in the first place. Beggars could only calculate your net worth by the way you presented yourself. Unfortunately, guilt by association, those struggling, managing their lives and cutting their coats according to their size, are also inundated for gifts.
If you don’t give them what you don’t have, they call you stingy. There are other class of people that want to be seen within certain crowd, live in certain area and wear the same uniform they can hardly afford to parties. They are living up to the Joneses. It is vanity that has no substance. They not only fool many people, they also fool themselves until they end up in jail!
Why do you have to record your outlandish exotic presents that are not manufactured locally creating jobs, on social media to spite or challenge decent folks? Especially in a community where most of the people are dirt poor. If you are not inciting armed and pen robbers, you are inviting reckless competition from struggling and hardworking folks to look for unscrupulous ways to follow your steps by any means possible.
This show of decadence in the midst of poverty reminds us how they drove local manufacturers of automobiles, cotton or lace, tires, palm oil out of business in a race to the bottom. Even if the foreign cars are used products, as long as they are exotic and foreign, they would tickle your fancy. In the days Army took over by coup d’état, they started using locally manufactured cars. As they got entrenched, they moved up to imported luxury cars. Khaki boys in Mercedes!
Since most African countries got their Independence in the fifties and sixties, taste and choice remain that of consumers of what we neither make nor produce. They buy jets and maintain them overseas. Producers of nothing have no fear of the days of reckoning in dwindling foreign reserves and orchestrated devaluation of their currencies. They are ready to justify anything no matter how detrimental it is to local economy. Policies that save local forex are disparaged and those encouraging moderation in using forex to spur local production are condemned.
Yet, we have the few privileged minority gloating at the presentation of “gifted” to their relatives and friends in order to create jealousy, dare or challenge others to match them. These same drainage of foreign reserves had incurred jail sentences in the past. Again, now that forex reserve is open to these privileged few, they forgot Dr. Harold Shodipo, Fela Anikulapo Kuti and others that were jailed for the same but far less foreign currencies possession.
We had a friend in those days who made a deal with his wife. During a wedding or ceremony, he would spray stupendously on her, knowing he would get his money back. Okay, if he did not get all the money back, the wife would at least spend most on him and the house. On the other hand, we have foolish people spending so much on food and drinks for everyone until they have little left for the following day. Some sane folks attend parties with plastic bags (doggie bags) in their decorated bags where they store some of the food and drinks for the day after.
The reason we teach children about community service and some reputable universities demand community service for admission, is to instill some humane character so that their future can be better than ours. Most of our universities have no community service on their radar anymore. Those conspicuous spenders do not care about their own future or that of other people’s children. They only care about now and themselves.
SOURCE :The Nigerian Voice (opinions)