Frank talk about the little things we do in Afrika that undermine love, unity and brotherhood.
Asiye na Utu, si Mtu, says the message in Swahili on the tuk-tuk (the 3-wheeled
taxi) that shuttled past us multiple times in one day. It translates to ‘he who lacks compassion is not a person.’
God said to Cain, who had just murdered his brother, “Where is Abel your brother?” and Cain replied, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” Didn’t bat an eyelid, no remorse, no tear shed. Just that, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” And, God showed Cain
compassion in his punishment, and put a mark on him to protect him from being killed.
Cain cried to God that his punishment was too harsh and he could be killed. And God protected him.
This whole story for me shows me the heart and the mind of God in His dealings with men. He will warn you, fully aware that you will not listen, watch you do the deed
He warned you not to do, find a way to have compassion on you even while you face the consequences of the choices that you made. God is simply amazing.
“Am I my brother’s keeper?”
The posture of the heart lacking in remorse or compassion. Saying to God, “I’m not sorry and I really couldn’t care less about anyone but myself.” Yet, here’s Afrika. I was told about this place, this land, this continent where Ubuntu defines her. Where communities of people are constrained by compassionate love for one another to respond to circumstances all for the greater good. Where the beauty of our common unity determines our community.
Yet the tuk-tuk drove past me several times and I remembered the mama who makes the nice smoky chapati that I sometimes buy, who had her informal stall made of sticks and polythene demolished by the woman who is building new stone shops behind the mama’s shack. The very mama who feeds the construction
workers who are building the new shops. Seems like Ubuntu was thrown out of the window.
The tuk-tuk drove past me again and I remembered the woman who shared photos of herself multiple times on Facebook seeking approval and people flat out lied to her about how good she looked, even when her makeup made her look like she was plastered with cement, leaving her with no tools to be transformed into what she ought to be. Sister’s keepers indeed.
The tuk-tuk drove past me again and I reflected on the parliament that chooses salary increments while the men, women and children they say they represent
are struggling under the burden of national debt and crippling taxes, unable to keep their businesses open anymore, while the MPs drive past in shiny new cars on their way to shiny new homes to represent the people who can barely feed their families even as many businesses are closing down.
Afrika. Is that you?
And the tuk-tuk drove past me again and I remembered the man injured in a collision who sat on the ground bleeding and I drove past and said to myself, they should take him to the police station. I am as guilty as everyone else on that road that drove past the bleeding man, while offering no help.
And the tuk-tuk drove past me again.
I once said to one of my brothers, “Do all things with the heart of the Father.”
Afrika, it is not shiny buildings and smooth roads and plenty of hospitals that actually speak of who you are. It is the heart of the Father, who carefully watches over His children and loves them even when they go against Him and His desires. Who lovingly chastises, yet does not condemn. Who took away His own rigid laws, which were killing His people, by sacrificing His own Son. His Own Son Who willingly volunteered for the responsibility and said to His Father, in answer to the blood of Abel still crying out from the ground, in answer to the blood of our children, husbands, wives, siblings…He Who was innocent of wrong answered Our Father with
His Life and said, “Yes, I AM My brother’s keeper.”
Well…I’m just saying.
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