14 September 2021, Afrik
I thought about Auntie Alberta lately. At length. How sad! She's dead... So at times I think of the great woman she was. She was a fanatic believer who had single-handedly achieved the ecumenism towards which the great religions of mankind tend.
Catholic, she did not hesitate to accompany her religious practices with fetishistic rites, she colored her religiosity with animist mores, brought to her home “effuses” and other shamans, offered clairvoyance sessions dearly paid to all those she welcomed. , and knew the tracks that lead to the most popular wizard in Douala. Crosses, icons, bark, talismans, candles, incense went hand in hand on the altar she had erected to the Virgin Mary in her upscale living room in Bonapriso. Religious sentiment and superstition harmoniously shared his personality; he was a kind of spiritual schizophrenic.
Auntie Alberta was the most beautiful, and there is no need to say the most refined, the most educated, the richest, her husband the best party that we had ever seen in the tribe, in short, Auntie was the reference, the most cited, even when we wanted to console ourselves for having and being nothing. In fact, Auntie might have done, be, and have, but she did not achieve happiness. Especially since a disease called "slow poison" (understand who can!) Decimated her ... and that her happiness also consisted in the happiness of the family, provided that it contributed to it. If she knew the price, she would have acquired a store of happiness for all those close to her for a while. But "to succeed" was to succeed according to her, congratulations were only deserved if she had said them first, she was the censor of what was good and fair for all, suddenly she trained the whole family, in an illusion that lasts after his death: studies, generosity, and wealth are nothing, since they were of no use to him.
Dear friend “loser”...
There are those who, having made a career out of failure, drag everyone into their rout, so narrow and definitive are their views. They pose as role models to women and children who have no alternative role models. And, sometimes, these Tarzan homes put into perspective any success, any performance, recorded by their neighbors. They do not dry up on the miseries of happy people; deny success of any significance other than social, and go so far as to arouse vocations to resign from their offspring. Their arguments are of unstoppable wisdom:
“Who succeeded to the point of not failing again afterwards?
Will he not die? Everything that rises under the sun is called to descend.
We each have our domestic miseries, strange things happen to happy people, look; such who seems happy to a Mongolian child (Down's syndrome), another's wife gets robbed by her barefoot cousin who serves him driver! What happiness is it all about, young man?
We are all dust and our common destiny is to hear, one day, the footsteps of our enemies trample with joy on our graves.
Studies are useless because graduates so far are getting nowhere: scrolls confer no rights, they are mere assets.
The very experience, which closes so many doors to those who, thanks to their academic successes, thought they had accomplished the hardest part, is but a credit. What matters is being. But what is being, if not for the most part his assets?...”
It is a certain Cameroonian mentality that must be decontaminated, by telling everyone that there are really some who are happy and that the personal or family miseries of those who paint everything in black are far from being shared by all mankind.
We live in love, we exercise professions, we enjoy wealth, and we have things in which we are not legitimate. It is when we lose them that we realize that the possession or enjoyment of them was neither legitimate nor linked to intrinsic merit. That they were due less to objective causes than to the intervention of more or less invisible hands: bouncing back, moving on, successfully reconverting, what scientists call reproducibility, prove to be mission impossible. Everything seems to be due to chance and luck, what believers call providence, the good Lord! The recognition of talent in any case is also due to this luck or this chance. Who is qualified to determine this talent? Yourself? Absurd! Or those who before us have failed made a career of mediocrity and adorn themselves with attributes they never had? Improbable! Tell us, professor, when all the games are rigged, when benchmarks are absent and values trampled on, on what bases are we going to build a society of merit?
Here, poverty is a protected heritage, a culture that is transmitted like a heritage, and misfortune is an art, a whole art of living, by mimicking plants and animals. It is clear, we are not living the golden age of political heroism, of literary and artistic genius, of flamboyant thought, of science with or "without conscience", it is hardly so in Cameroon. We live, we see life pass, the world is made and unmade before our eyes; we only accompany it with our presence.
Auntie Alberta is dead; everyone now talks about her as a "successful" woman. She's dead: hell, it's not being a great lord to grant her this posthumous recognition! She had a lot of merit, a lot of worth, but was often unsuccessful. The new boss is Uncle Marco; he solves all the tribe's problems from Paris with a noisy western union, but never fails to be insulted, heckled, by those who find that Auntie Alberta is, ultimately, the only one who has ever "succeeded".
Have we succeeded when the mass of needy people we have helped have grown, day after day, until their final hour? Those who succeed are stars for those around them, they lead all those who are in their wake towards the light, and they do not keep them in dependence: as long as the judges of success are the recipients of this success, the very notion of success will be overused... The richest will be the one who spends the most, the one who spends the most, the happiest, the happiest he who has been decreed as such, with our little eyes of connoisseurs of happiness.
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