My father grew up in a time when our country pledged allegiance to the Union Jack. Growing up, my siblings and I loved hearing his stories of life in an Africa we will never experience. One of 7 children my father spent much of his childhood in rural Africa often walking many kms and crossing streams and rivers to attend school, wild cats roamed free at that time and as a child of 10 one already had to know what to do when confronted by an adult lion. My grandfather was a hardworking man and never hesitated to get his 6 boys involved in farming and hunting from a young age. From my fathers stories him and his brothers mostly looked forward to hunting with my grandfather( and no, they did not walk around in loin cloths). My grandfather was the best hunter in their circles and was well versed in using traps, spears and the occasional rifle.
My fathers best hunting memories are not necessarily the chase but finding a beehive, I am yet to meet a person who loves honey like my dad. He has often told us that him and his brothers became very efficient at nimbly climbing tall trees, smoking out the bees and then taking a chunk of a honey comb and eating it right there. For the boys, that was the best treat they could have any day!
Whilst traveling in Zambia in May this year, we came across a number of people selling honey like the man who sold us this honey. He had the best nearly toothless smile and had been standing by the side of the main road arm outstretched with honey in the bark of tree, patiently waiting for a car to stop and buy his goods. My father couldn’t have stopped fast enough to buy as much as he could from this man. As I watched the transaction I couldn’t help but think of my dads childhood and how the methods that he had used to get honey were exactly the same methods that this man had used to get his. It had been over 50 years and yet for a moment it felt like I finally got a chance to experience just a little of my fathers childhood, it made me smile friend.
Reality is, not everything stays the same, change is inevitable, sometimes for the good and other times for the bad. Africa is rapidly changing, in most urban cities many people you meet are breathlessly rushing to leave behind their African heritage and pick up the Western culture. The underlying thought is; African culture is backward, makes me sad. At times change creeps on you without so much as an, “Excuse me I am here!” before you know it, you find yourself scrambling around trying to figure out what just happened and how you fit into the bigger picture or risk getting left behind.
There is wisdom in taking the time to quietly reflect over ones life from time to time, who knows after doing so you may discover how the winds of change have quietly taken you to the land of cowardly compromise. Were you find that ideals you always promised yourself, “on this matter, come what may, I will not cross the line!” you have done so without so much as batting an eyelid. Better a man who stands by his beliefs and ideals even if it means his all alone than one who constantly changes at the drop of a hat to please the crowd, there is no honor in that.