It takes me about an hour and a half to get home from work. Traffic jams - Lagos has a lot of those. You know what sucks even more than all the traffic, it’s the fact that my car does not have air-conditioning. So on a typical work day, you’d find me stuck on the highway, losing calories to the burning hot Lagos sun. I heard somewhere that the traffic situation is much better in other big cities in Africa, but relocating even within Africa requires a Visa (most times), a place to stay, a lot of savings in the bank, a new source of income, perhaps some new friends… You see where I’m going? So yeah, don’t move.
Now, the other day, with a group of really smart people, the topic of Africa’s misrepresentation in Western media arose, and though I had very little to contribute, I was particularly attentive. I think the most amusing bits were the reference to Africa as a country and the belief that all of Africa is largely rural, bereft of many forms of modern infrastructure.
It really all just makes you think; if all of Africa were one large rural community, would I be stuck in a traffic jam everyday between the hours of 5pm and 7pm on my commute home? From here, it’s hard to imagine a traffic jam of humans, yes even with large buckets of muddy stream water. I’m thinking really wide roads bordered by bushes so I’m sure there’ll be room for everyone. The few wealthy men and women with camels or horses would not have any problems at all considering that not many people would be able to afford horses or camels, apparently. I, with my petite bucket of swampy water would sashay through the streets, a carefree black girl with not a single worry in the world, especially not about traffic. The life, I tell you.
So my little city of Lagos becomes a little too overpopulated and I’m thinking, Kigali would be a nice place to relocate to. What do I do? I take a long bath in the village stream and head on out to Kigali. Probably take me a good couple of days, but Africa as a country can’t possibly be that big, can it? Hard to imagine needing Visas without any airplanes. I’d just carry on my little farming trade out there in Kigali because you know what you can never not find in Africa? Large expense of vegetation and bushes for farming. Also something called a Safari. Not forgetting wars and dictators too, those guys are everywhere down here.
Ever since that discussion about the western misrepresentation of Africa, when I happen upon some good ol’ Lagos traffic jam, I think to myself, seriously guys, I’m not even joking, I’m stuck in a two-hour long traffic jam because Africa and Africans have arrogantly refused to stick to the script.