Dear South Africa: Consider this a loving gesture for us all, but especially those looking for good cheer in these trying times.
The Wakanda effect, exceptionalism, whatever you are comfortable calling it, just roll. You have had an excellent couple of weeks with two particular highlights and it is only fair to share with the rest of Africa neh?
I am talking about that superb win by the Springboks over England in the Rugby World Cup as well as comedian Trevor Noah’s honours from the National Democratic Institute in the US.
Please do not feel unfairly targeted by this gesture. This is your time to shine. Sometimes, the focus is on the exquisite Kenyan Rugby Sevens team and their lovely uniform. Other times it is on Lupita Nyongo’s inexplicable luminosity that bathes the world with gentle glow of wholesomeness.
Occasionally it is even a Nigerian billionaire doing philanthropy stuff. What I am trying to say is that we are primed for a post-territorial sort of modernism that doesn’t consider fake lines on maps as an excuse not to simply enjoy being excellent. As in, your achievement is definitely my right to boast about it.
Especially when that excellence can be claimed as “continental.” Hush now, let us all just enjoy the final score of the Rugby World Cup.
As for Trevor, only the best export to America since Tony Stark whose human alias is Elon Musk. Well, not the only or necessarily the best because there are so many African Americans to be praised but if we keep it within “contemporary” times then yes: Nice.
As a comedy aficionado, it is warming to see his adoptive-slash-professional country appreciate what Trevor is doing for the art of laughter.
I won’t go into his acceptance speech because honestly, use your free YouTube package so Google can spy on you better. It is worth listening to for the philosophy behind why people dedicate their lives to making other people laugh, cry, and thereby commune.
Joy, however transient, is a basic right. It is also the missing indicator of a society’s freedom. And I quote: “The ability to laugh at a leader who does not want to be laughed at is one of the core pillars of freedom.” – TreyNoh, 2019, online or something.
He followed up that nugget of wisdom by reminding us it is precisely the same freedom of choice in democracy that can lead to very undemocratic regimes being voted in. A fairly compelling idea, but a flawed one.
Laughing at and being laughed at by others can be mean in spirit but more often than not it is a sweet and healing thing. When you can make others laugh in compassion or commiseration of through cleverness something happens in that moment.
A communality. Something above and beyond the selfishness of demanding modern life. When we laugh together we also remember that everyone has to use the bog and put their shoes on one at a time and somehow all the differences disappear.
So this week I want to tip my hat to Saffrika and thank them for reminding us we’re all very strange but just human in the end. We needed that smile.
Elsie Eyakuze is a consultant and blogger for The Mikocheni Report. E-mail: [email protected]