It’s hard to satirise something that has at its heart so many crazy ideas. If I tell a real story about how for most of my life I have been scared shitless of cats as they are featured prominently in the folk of my childhood and in media. The bizarre nature of the situation had puzzled me for a while because even though I have worked very hard to pull from myself every superstition I was born with, some have attached themselves like tumours that removing them would be fatal.
One way I have tried to free myself from my repressed past has been making fun of these notions, to the effect of about 3 poems of which only one is published because it seemed clear that it was contradictory in nature. I am unsure if the post was taken seriously or not but it did surprise me that there are indeed times when it is hard to distinguish a truth from a conflation as those types of statements have been made in the past by ideologues. It was interesting for me to explore those especially crazy truths I had come across in the past. I would, if I could only talk about precolonial Africa to show how the cultures had developed concurrently with the rest of the world some aspects of democracy, voting and such. But the colonial influx resulted in my ancestors being painted savage while they were offered a God to fix their problems. It is actually something that I would like to write a whole article on anytime soon as essentially Christianity was the vehicle for colonialism in at least the realm of the Royal Niger Company. Along with that came literacy and civilisation which may or may not be as great as it seems, and it retconned my past as well.
When missionaries visited my home from America, whether or not they went toward any of the more rural places in Nigeria or not is not within my range of amazing memory. It changed as now I have seen and met and sort of experienced the way my house will probably look to someone from the ‘first world’ and such. The thickest of jungles in Africa were nowhere in sight, in the LGA of Surulere where I lived for those years, there’s many things that are incongruous with that safari view. I remember how eager to please we were, as members of the choir we offered Americanised versions of songs we’d learned. It was such that my younger self had switched into his pleasing mode, desperate and frantic and trying to get the applause of the white women missionaries. Little boy danced like there was something to be gained and dinner arrived too soon, a meal of white rice with boiled chicken and tomato stew (which I call stew). There they were my parents, convincing me that these people would help whoever it was they had come to help. The following Sunday I excitedly told my friends that we had missionaries over and they would be coming over. They had Jesus based magic tricks which are more awesome than they sound, these involved colouring an image with random colours provided by the audience and ‘colouring’ with a handkerchief. The method to this magic has not been researched by myself, neither has it peaked my curiosity again since that day. I have in recent years revisited this and other such events to try to protract a positive from the event as I now view these people with such disdain and malcontent that they might as well have had a terrible thing happen to them without my concern.
Interesting though is the fact that not all missionaries are bad and maybe some of them genuinely feel like they have not been total dick holes in their history however ancient. The advantages will be noted thus, maybe they helped a kid from the brink of self harm in this unforgiving world by teaching him whatever biblical doctrine it was they subscribed to as well as offering them some actual help by way of food, water and education. That is I believe the main argument to be had about whether or not they do any good in the world, but the cynic in me looks at it and sees
“I’ll give you food and water and education if you agree to subscribe to my belief system wholeheartedly including but not exclusive to:
Leaving your home and family if Christ requires it
Giving away a tenth of your allowance because God has a credit cash back deal he has set up
Maybe cut off the foreskin of your penis
Also abandon your culture and your people’s way of making sense of the world
Strive as well to convert others to the belief you are still getting into
Eventually, hand on every word of some intangible being that has vague means of discerning his presence and don’t forget to always bring your money to pay the man who gives a live adaptation of the fiction on which your entire life is based”
I have ended my argument for the necessity or lack thereof of missionaries in my experience.
Disclaimer: I don’t speak for anyone but me at this time, future me may disagree.
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