My family and I live in a gated community of six houses, and because some of our neighbours have dogs, we interact with the dogs all the time. It is normal to find most of the dogs come to sit at our gate waiting for leftovers that we give them from time to time. All the dogs, numbering about five or six, have unique characters, especially when competing for the leftovers. So, you hear growls and see bare canines when there is food to fight over. As animals like to do. But one among them is notorious for bullying others and consistently trying to have the food alone.
I don’t like greed or self-centeredness, so you can imagine my dislike for this dog who constantly fights with other dogs for dominion over food. At some point, we started to bring out the food only when this vicious dog was not around the gate. At least let the others eat in peace.
This story is about this vicious, bullish dog and one of the smaller, cute dogs. I will call the bullish dog Dude and the other dog Picky for purposes of this story.
Like I already said, Dude is vicious, bullish, fights for food all the time, and his fur is almost always unkempt. He is constantly lingering around the gate, waiting for food. Sometimes, he even sleeps by the gate in the cold of the Savannah night until morning. Even though I hail such acts of discipline and patience, Dude’s own seems to be all about the food. Well, what else should one expect from a dog?
On the other hand, Picky is quiet and cute; you hardly hear him bark, and he doesn’t fight the other dogs for food. Picky will choose to run away if you get too close to the food you just gave him. He seems shy and behaves somehow like a “gentleman”.
On this evening, we had collected a pile of leftovers and were waiting to see which dogs would show up. So, while we waited, I placed the food in the plastic bowl we use for them and kept it on our verandah just inside the gate. In my mind, I wanted Picky, or one of the other cool dogs, to be the one that would show up, and then I would take the food out.
As the evening went by, I got caught up in other things, so I was not paying much attention to what was happening outside.
Then, I heard a sound outside, and I looked out of the kitchen window, and suddenly, from nowhere, Dude was right on top of the bowl of food. I dashed out of the door, and he, knowing he was in the wrong, ran away, passed through a hole in the fence and got out. Now I was thinking, how did Dude get into the compound with the gate closed? Then I noticed he had made a space just under our barbed-wire fence, which he had used to come in and get out. He must have been motivated by the smell of the food scraps he knew we had reserved for the dogs.
By this time, Picky also had come to the gate and was standing there, staring at me, obviously waiting for something to drop. So, I opened the gate to let him in, ensuring Dude did not get through. Picky got in and fearfully started to eat. So, I closed the gate to allow him to continue without Dude coming to start a fight.
Seeing me close the gate seemed to make some kind of hell break loose in Picky’s mind. He stopped eating, and all he wanted at that moment was to get out of the compound. He dashed frantically everywhere, looking for a way out. I tried bringing the bowl of food closer to him, but Picky was not having it. He just wanted to get out of the compound. Seeing that he wouldn’t settle down, I opened the gate to let him out and then took the bowl of food outside and gave it to Dude. In one second, Dude was done with the entire bowl.
I stood there watching all this happen, and because I love to pick out the lesson in every event, thoughts were flying through my head in a thousand directions.
My wife witnessed the bizarre incident, and we started discussing it. Then, at that moment, I remembered that she had asked me earlier in the day or the day before what people mean when they say, “If you want something, go get it”. So, I told her, “You see what just happened with the dogs; that’s what it means to go get it”. At that moment, the dog scenario was the perfect answer to her question. We talked a bit more, and the dog story ended.
I cannot tell you how much sense that Dude and Picky event made to me. But one thing stood out: even though I do not like or appreciate greed or doing just about anything to get what you want, especially if it hurts others. I realized that, in this warped global system that rules the world, there are no free tables, and if you want something, you have to go and get it… against all odds.
Here is where I am driving at with this story
The African Union was recently invited to join the UN Security Council as a permanent member. When I heard the news, I was like:
First, this is nothing but another bloodless proxy war between the West and BRICS. Africa at that UN table will be a pawn…AGAIN.
Why was the African Union never invited to join the UN Security Council in all these years of complaining? Then, the moment BRICS started to take shape, with more African nations gearing towards joining, the UN invited them… Talk about taking the goose that lays the golden egg for granted.
Second, in my head, I am thinking, what will the role of the AU be at that table if it has been so powerless in the affairs of the continent of Africa that African leaders talk shamelessly about it? I thought charity should begin at home.
For many years, African leaders have gone to their annual UN summits, making the same complaints repeatedly, and nothing has changed. Interestingly, many Africans are also taking up their leaders’ attitude. They cry and complain, but when it’s time to do something about what they are calling for, they freak out, and thus, nothing gets done.
Here is something to consider
What will it take for fifty-five African nations to sit down and make the AU work as a table for the African people? You don’t need a prophet to tell you how tired and frustrated Africa’s young people are with their leaders and the AU. Nonetheless, change is coming to the African continent.
Speaking of the UN and the global space, if you ask me, I will say that no good global thing is done with Africa in mind, except if Africa is the slave and battery that powers it. So, Africa, to the rest of the world, is just like farmland where food is grown, a kitchen where the food is prepared, and Africans are the chefs and waiters who are to serve in the big grand party called the New World Order. But we can change that, and we should.
The question remains: when will Africa build her table and decide her destiny? It is better to build and sit on a table made of plywood than beg to sit on a table made of ivory but only be given access to crumbs that fall from it.
So, did I learn a good lesson from Dude and Picky? Absolutely. If not for Dude, I would not have been aware of the gap in the fence, a thing which all Africans should be aware of, about how thieves and pillagers enter the continent with no one noticing.
This story of Dude and Picky is the story of Africa. We allow every Tom, Dick, and Harry to pillage the continent while we run around looking for aid, grants, and loans from the very same system that does the pillaging. As a people, we need to pick some courage from Dude and garnish them with the goodness of Picky and then go right ahead to get what belongs to us.
We need to do that. Now.
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Samuel Phillips is a writer, graphic designer, photographer, songwriter, singer and a lover of God. As an Afrikan content creator, he is passionate about creating a better image and positive narrative about Afrika and Afrikans. He is a true Afrikan who believes that the true potential of Afrika and Afrikans can manifest through God and accurate collaborations between Afrikans. Afrika is the land of kings, emperors, original wisdom, ancient civilizations, great men and women and not some road-side-aid-begging poor third world continent that the world finds joy in undermining.