Reasonable people only celebrate dead men or women of high integrity and caliber for the legacy of noble contribution to their community so that they can be emulated. What we have within our ostentatious and money launderers today are obscene celebrations of unexplained wealth. Every year they find some reasons to make the dead comfortable in their graves while the number of poor people that cannot afford to eat two or three square meals a day explode in our faces.
There are those who work diligently to acquire wealth, get a break along the way. They identify poverty in their own community and decide to give back to others that need a break. Instead of throwing extravagant parties to dare the poor, they establish scholarships, create jobs and small business loans for those they hardly know. We do not know or see them because they are not noise makers expecting accolades in return.
One of these rich men was asked why he channels his wealth to different causes and not to his children and grandchildren. He simply said those children that listen have been trained and given character that will last them beyond a lifetime. If they lack character and are not well accomplished in their own right, they will lose it all to those that are well trained with better character. Whatever they do with what he gives them is beyond his dead body.
If you do not believe it, you might know some children named Africa. Herbert Macaulay, Nkrumah, Azikiwe, Awolowo, Nyerere, Aminu Kan, Albert Luthuli and other conscientious parents fought indignity and economic slavery for their future generations. None of the children they provided government facilities for know the poverty we face today. They went to free school with stipend and scholarships so that they can become their brothers’ keepers.
Some of these children that are anything but their brothers’ keepers, now rule Africa, even into their old age. All the money they never worked for is wasted to celebrate the dead, weddings, holidays, to treat headaches and medical checks in foreign hospitals they wickedly ignore at home. Those cunning and sleeker than them took away their character in exchange for mirrors, glamour and brand names. They now believe Africa’s Salvation can only come from foreign land, not from their wicked selves.
When you have a house in the family, once the parents that work day and night like Africa’s parents are gone, the children fight over the house. Smart lawyers, developers and real estate agents offer them millions of the time for generational houses or land. By the time lawyers, developers and real estate agents take out their fees, the money left cannot buy them a shed! Until they spend all the money to satisfy their immediate fantasy, they are like a lottery winner waiting to go bankrupt after prodigal spending.
It is not enough to be the richest children like those named Africa. No matter what your parents leave them, there are others who rightly care about their self interest waiting to dispossess them. Some swindlers used money made from rituals, 419 and drugs to throw extravagant parties for their dead mothers just to be noticed and gain fame. When in fact their destinations are politics, laundering dirty money into clean wealth by buying prestigious properties and land from children that reject proper home training and character.
The reason Black folks, no matter where they are, have no generational wealth or concrete legacy in their families, is not only because of devastating racism. Greed, immediate gratification and ostentatious celebration over insubstantial images, accelerate sorry situations. People who cannot find achievements to celebrate in their villages apart from those of ancient men of wonders, beat their chests black and blue over foreign countries’ acquired products. .
This is why Africans, before the holy books, say Papa may have, Mama may have, God Bless the child that has his own. African nouveau riche stealing money and resources from the poor in order to make sure their children, grandchildren and the dead they celebrate will never suffer are like a drunken sailor and his money. If the Pharaoh of Egypt knew that ants, scavengers and explorers would invade their tombs, they would have opted for cremation, distributed the wealth buried with them and spared the lives of the slaves buried to serve them in heaven.
Even Brigadier General Mobolaji Olufunso Johnson got a earful from the descendants of the dead in December 1971 when he ordered the Ajele Cemetery, near Campos, Lagos, to be demolished, in order to replace it with more substantial legacy like the Lagos State Secretariat Council Building. No one should be surprised if a loser among the children decided to award himself a remembrance contract out of the estate of the dead.
He would call a family meeting on the anniversary date, cook rice, serve Coke and tea. He would then bill the Estate millions for the remembrance party. Create a project, create an estimate and pay the bill in order to siphon money out of the estate of the dead while other children insist on noble causes and scholarships according to the will of the dead father. If the disagreement burst into the open, accountants, lawyers and judges would have their piece of the estate. Some children might contest the will itself, try to cut out charitable organizations.
High school poem by James Shirley after the spoil of war taught us that the glory of our blood and state are shadows not substantial things. Africa used to be the place where the children of the rich rested on the laurels of their parents, while inspired poor children worked harder to pull themselves up right from ashes and decay that breathed new life into the soil like the manure fertilizer. Sadly, these children now emulate poor children that were provided for but squandered the wealth of Africa.
At the end of our life, people celebrate our legacy, not wasting money to remember the dead non-achievers that left no contribution to the advancement of our communities. There is no better legacy than good governance, causes, scholarships and institutions that lift up the downtrodden and poor children. Some folks just look for any opportunity to create self-serving contracts out of family estate or “shine”.
Farouk Martins Areas @oomoaresa