Africa, Summed Up In An Anecdote…

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie relates a plane incident:

The pilot came out of his cabin. A tall man with an easy air, the kind of pilot whose aura suggests competence. He told us it was a baby boy, and both mother and baby were fine. His American humour emerged. “Been flying a long time and this is a first for me!”

Rhe passengers – who were almost all Nigerian – laughed with a shared sense of delight, as though by being present we had somehow shared in bringing this baby into the world.

Awww. How heartwarming! Right?

Wait a minute, though…

“The mother said she was 24 weeks gone but that baby looked full-term. Why would anybody take the risk?” An American flight attendant was baffled. We, the Nigerian passengers, were not. We did not ask why.


She probably had visa problems, got her visa later than she’d planned, or perhaps she had not planned it early enough, or perhaps the American option emerged late in her pregnancy, and she’d chosen to do what she had to do because the sparkling worthwhile end was an American-born baby. I thought of her expression as she exited the plane, more frustration than worry, a lament for the American baby that would now not be.

And that is why Africa will remain behind in the race. Because rather than stay and improve their country, they just want to leave for another.

5 comments for “Africa, Summed Up In An Anecdote…

  1. December 26, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    Damned rum lot those fuzzy wuzzies. We Anglo-sorts ( in the new argot) spent several hundred years going into their lands and teaching/leading/changing them into half-way English-sensible people and what do they do? They want to come to English-speaking places and change us into fuzzy-wuzzies.

    • December 28, 2013 at 7:00 am


  2. December 26, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    German immigration law (this was way past WW2) was once big on ancestry. Ours should be, too.

    • Furor Teutonicus
      December 27, 2013 at 10:47 am


      It still is. Although it is, today, no bar, we still have the system whereby a person is, even after generations here, described as “German born citizen of XYZ roots.”

      But then, most, if not ALL of the rest of Europe is the same. From Nordkapp to Genoa.

      For example one T.V presenter (There are many, but one will do), has a Greek name, and is always described as “German from Greek roots.”

      Her family arived in Germany, and never left, in the 1600s!!!

      • December 28, 2013 at 7:03 am

        Sounds like a lot of English villages… 😉

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