Connect with us


Building walls, painting walls



Built brick by brick, each brick bonded to the next by mortar, what was previously an empty space now boasts a semblance of structure; a wall that will be joined to the other walls that will be built after it has been erected.

Depending on the purpose of such a wall, it will either be joined by other walls at varying angles to make a house or some other structure to be used for some purpose specific and non-specific, or, that wall will follow a straight pattern that covers long distances; this is the wall of separation, a border that prevents the passage of some into some marked territory privately or publicly owned.

We have seen these kind of walls come up over the long course of human history, and we have seen some fall whilst others still stand to the present day.

Mankind has an innate obsession with building the latter form of wall, because the ownership of some piece of land seems to be the greatest achievement for most men; but the reality of the matter is that the wall is a symbol of separation, it separates the “in” from the “out”, draws a visible physical line of demarcation that imprisons the in and excludes the out.

It is a drab coloured structure the colour of the brick or the plaster that covers it, and so it needs some addition of colour to liven it up; some put paint and art on it, others come along and leave their graffiti of all sorts on it, and occasionally, some individuals have been known to leave their markings on walls in the form of dates or signs understood by only they and their comrades in arms in the various private wars of the world.

Walls have been built to make shelter for human beings, walls have been constructed to control and to restrict movements of people across certain territories, and walls have been erected to commemorate deeds of valour and vanity.

All those walls have had to be painted, but the painters that painted those walls into living colour are often unknown, their memory fades away the day the acrid smell of acrylic, and turpentine, and paint thinners evaporates. They leave behind a beauty whose creator is forgotten.

Every institution exists within a wall, and such a wall prevents intrusion by external forces that may otherwise render it impotent when it comes to the vital element of making decisions salient to its harmonious running.

The family being the most primal institution in society first has to build a house whose laws are the most important element.

The running of the house is dependent upon the simple code of secluding the external to the external, and keeping the inner workings of the running of such a family as a private matter only those who are members of the family are privy to.

One cannot hope to keep a harmonious house if the opinion of the neighbour or the relative who has their own house to run is given credit above that of the members of the house.

External forces should at all costs remain controlled; they should be regarded as alien at all times for their inclusion might just lead to the division of such a house.

The letting in of an external force into the confines of the structure supported by the wall is reminiscent to one giving access to the vampire to come and suck the lifeblood of those individuals resident within the house; like Mina Harker letting in the vampiric Count Dracula knocking at the window, only to have him suck her and turn her into a vampire too.

The systems of government institutions in Africa suffer from this weakness of letting in external forces that rather than stabilise them leave them more confused than they were before the intervention. We live in societies that believe in external word than in the local word, and this practice has led to indecision, split decision, that finally leads to division.

Entire families have been scattered by divisions that ultimately progressed into us as citizens of Africa being a split community subdivided into parties, cliques, sects, schools, congregations, and councils of indecision.

And the walls of our institutions remain drab, for there is no one to maintain them like it was done in the past.

The Great Zimbabwe monument is a marvel to look at, a reminder of a time when Africa was truly great and majestic kingdoms rose out of the red rich earths of a mystical continent.

The houses within the walls of stone erected with the genius and mastery of exceptional mason men and women too rose out of the earth, their walls built with the poles from the forests, put together with clods of earth mixed with cow-dung, and topped with thatch.

It was beautiful sight of a kingdom that boasted the governance of the whole of southern Africa, but the house whose majestic walls are built without mortar (justifying that the king of Great

Zimbabwe was indeed Mwenemutapa or Prince of the Realm for even the air supported the walls he built) was soon to fall through the malicious involvement of Portugal in matters related to the governance of the house of Mwari.

Interested in the ivory and the copper the king mined from the various mines he owned, the only thing the outsider came with was division, division, and division. Various factions were formed, leading to infighting within the governing structures of the majestic kingdom and the civil war of 1760 led to the disintegration of a kingdom Nyatsimba Mutota had established in 1430.

Only if the house had not done their washing in the street, the kingdom would have lived to last until the present day, and who knows how great this part of Africa would be? We do not lose our power because we are a council of fools that need external intervention to solve their issues.

We are a bunch of fools who believe more in pleasing the word of the outsider and its suggestions that are more often foreign concepts we hardly understand. It does not make sense that one would understand the word of the foreign man if they do not understand themselves; rather he will fumble and stumble until he breaks and loses the most important thing they have in their hand: their self, their soul, and their spirit of righteous judgement. In Africa, foreign policies make the gist of what governs the governments; it is wrong.

Hadrian’s Wall is a tourist attraction and a UNESCO World Heritage site, and it was built by the emperor Hadrian to defend the Roman Empire against the barbarian tribes from the north.

The size of the wall (just about 118 kilometres) however, does not justify the stated purpose; its location is in a sparsely populated region.

This brings one to agree with the conclusion that it was built more as a symbol of the Roman Empire’s power than to be a fortification; this could be one of the reasons why the emperor had it covered in plaster and then whitewashed so that its white surface could reflect the sunlight and be seen for miles.

The picture it presented created an image of a powerful empire to whoever saw it, and this maintained some semblance of control in the minds of the outsiders.

The image our Africa presents is of malnourishment, weakness, endless infighting, and power hunger: and we have the vile tendency of discussing core issues that affect us with buccaneering pirates that soon see the benefit of bringing more arms so we can knock each other down.

I believe not in the concept of foreign aid with conditions; I believe that if you want to help, just help without telling me what to do with the aid I get: if you do tell me how to run my house because you gave me salt, I can see through your blackmail. That the Chinese built the 22 000 km long wall is a mark of true unity.

That we build houses only to have them knocked down by some stranger or outsider is a sign of mental weakness. We build houses only to fight in them, and we forget that the paint on the house’s walls will be stained by the blood from the fisticuffs and the brawls is not given the consideration it deserves.

Parliaments come, and parliaments go, and a larger part of the African population still roils in the devil’s brew of poverty, starvation, social unrest, and disease.

It is a sad anthem whose lines often declare “that’s just the way it is . . .  things will never change”, as if the listeners are content with hearing that there is no change envisioned in the minds of the leaders they choose to follow. Pointing accusing fingers at a mate who is in the same ship as you are is just plain hypocrisy, because if you declare that he is punching holes in the hull, you are most likely a part of the chain of people handing him or her the rod used to make holes in the hull.

I have heard politicians accuse each other of corruption, and meanwhile, they go to the same dinners together, sit in the same parliament together, attend the same conferences together.

Then one day, part of the group has the audacity to declare the other part as corrupt and I sarcastically wonder; who is fooling who? Stop doing your laundry in the street dimwit, stop confusing us out here; we have poverty and unemployment to deal with out here. If you do come, be good enough to tell us when we will be employed, instead of telling us what size your mate’s underpants are, or how many consorts he has so far been in bed with.

Let it stay within your walls, and if it comes to a fisticuffs let the blood spatters not stain the country.   The Berlin Wall was a symbol of separation, a “wall of shame” that prevented cooperation between the peoples of one state, Germany, from 1961 to 1989.
Built to prevent the citizens’ migration to opportunity in the West, this wall became a symbol of how powers that be sometimes oppress the minds of the people through the use of visible and virtual walls.

Democracy has in itself become a wall through which people exploit others for the sole purpose of personal gain.

Parties are formed, parties are deconstructed, and parties come back in 666 different forms whose sole purpose seems to be the confusion of the gullible who do not know whether they are communist or conservative, capitalist or socialist. If one enters the ballot booth and there is 600 parties on the ballot paper in a country of 2000 people, it means that the confusion of the people begins the moment they have to exercise their right to choose; because in every essence, where there are too many choices, confusion is sure to ensue.

I am sure some numb skull that has spaghetti for brains will disagree with the simple analogy that we are today “spoiled for choice”, that we do not err because we are ignorant: we err because we do not know what to choose.

Rather than paint the walls of some house in one or two colours that are effective, the men and the women of today choose to take all the colours and paint one wall with it, instead of sharing them with the rest of the community. Democracy stands in the way of progress, because it is a wall whose creators believed they could control the world with perceived freedom.

We think we are free in a democracy, we fail to realise that the responsibility it comes with is a chain.

What needs to be preserved has to be maintained for it to be effective, but not in a state where the engineers and the architects conclude their arguments in disagreement.
A house can never be put in order if all the residents believe in separation as a solution. Build the wall, watch the paint dry, live in the house in peace.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Copyright © 2022. The Post Newspaper. All Rights Reserved