WHAT’S THE BIG FUSS ABOUT THE NEW YEAR?

We are thirty days into the new year, 2014, and little seems to have changed, and little will.

Christmas came and went, and I am yet to understand all the commotion about it — poor people getting into debt buying ill-afforded presents, simply greasing the capitalist machine.

What’s the big deal about Christmas, anyway? Jesus, the man from Nazareth wasn’t it even born on December 25. And even if he had been, why should christians wish those of us non-believers a “Merry Christmas”?

Then comes the new year. Why is December 31 any more important than January 1? It is just another different day. And it has been like this for two thousand and fourteen years, or longer, depending on which calendar you adhere to.

I am sick and tired of people asking me if I have made resolutions for the new year, like it will make a difference. And what business of theirs is it anyway? Whenever the question is put to me, I am not sure if it is a trick question or people are simply being parrotic.

The number 14, according to the Chinese, is the unluckiest number. Go figure. And for Africa, 2014 sure promises same challenges and destruction. Look at what is happening in Egypt, South Sudan, the DRC and CAR.

In the words of that old Sage, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, “what Africans are doing to each other is terrible.”

Here is trivia to ponder: the last time the number 14 appeared on a calendar was 100 years ago in 1914. And that was not a good year as the world tittered on extinction. It was not particularly a good year for Africa as greedy Europeans sought to devour our continent, like hungry hyenas.

The next time the number 14 appears on the calendar will be 2114. Few of you, if any, reading this will not be alive. And nobody will give a hoot, I am sorry.

Alas! for Africa 2014 does not promise much that is positive. Africa’s “Big Men” will continue to talk much and deliver little, and masses of Africans will perish in endless wars, curable diseases and hunger.

Many African countries will hold elections and declare them “free and fair”. What a fuss. And we will watch our dictators’ stomachs get bigger and bigger while our national treasuries get smaller and our infrastructures crumble, and the lot of our people gets more and more desperate.

2014 will not be any different, and may in fact be more disastrous on our continent than years gone by. We will not survive unless we change, but we cannot change unless we survive.

For what it is worth, if I have not done so, lest I be accused of being one angry bold man, Happy New Year.

About Willis Shalita

I am a writer who is very impassioned about Rwanda and its remarkable journey from the barbaric carnage of Genocide against Tutsi. I am an avid photographer. I believe the African story should be told through African lenses. Our time has come. If not now, when?
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