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Opinions of Friday, 4 May 2012

Columnist: Badu, K.

“Africans are not intelligent”-Impolitic driver

Following the conclusion of a lengthy seminar at City University (London), I hired this indiscreet minicab driver (Taxi driver). Realising that I hail from Ghana, he hypocritically remarked, “I admire Ghanaians, they are nice and modest”. “I used to work with Ghanaians, South Africans and Nigerians”, “but throughout my affiliation, I found Ghanaians very pleasant”. The injudicious Turkish minicab driver euphemistically went ahead and asserted, “Africans are not intelligent”. I was extremely livid to hear such preposterous statement, albeit, I reflected summarily and composed myself. I tried to show deference to the uncouth supremacist, but it was not easy to contain my emotional intelligence.

I queried the driver: what do you mean? Are you serious? “Explain yourself please”. At this juncture, the impolitic taxi driver turned apologetic. He offered flimsy explanation:” You see my friend, Europeans have researched and invented a lot for humanity”; “North Americans have done their bit”;”Asians are currently catching up with the Europeans and the North Americans”. I quizzed the Turkish taxi driver further: What about the other continents? Driver: “Oh yes, the South Americans and the Australians are doing their utmost best”. I put it to the driver once again: Do you know the number of countries in Africa? Driver:”No”. At this point, I realised his ignorance. Thus, I vehemently repudiated his assertion on Africa and challenged him to retract his obtuse statement.

He accentuated that he had been reading and watched the panorama of Africa ills on Television. He explained further that he is cognisant of corruption, tribal conflicts, poverty, squalor, etc, in Africa. Upon hearing such invective statement, I stopped him and vigorously defended Africa and my country-Ghana. I began my lecture by informing the misinformed driver that Africa has about fifty four countries with copious intelligent men and women. You see, this driver is not privy to the intelligence of some Africans like our own Apostle Kojo Sarfo. Unfortunately, before I could begin my narration on Apostle Sarfo’s ingenuities, the journey ended. Albeit, I solemnly promised to gauge the pugnacious driver next time on my travels.

I reflected on the minicab driver’s unguided statement a second time when I reached home. Upon reflection, I became infuriated this time with the intelligent and knowledgeable men and women on the continent-Africa. Inasmuch as I do not acquiesce to the unlearned minicab driver’s crude caricature, I put the blame squarely on the doorsteps of the elitist, who claim perquisite to politics in Africa. Of course, we have abundant intelligent and knowledgeable men and women, needless to say, some of them refuse to apply wisdom in their endeavours. Interestingly, intelligence, knowledge and wisdom have distinctions or dichotomies.

For example, Oxford English dictionary defines intelligence as “the faculty of thought and reason” or”the capacity to acquire knowledge”. On the other hand, knowledge is defined as “familiarity, awareness or understanding gain through experience or study”. Conversely, wisdom is “the ability to discern or judge what is true, right or lasting”. Based on the preceding dichotomies within intelligence, knowledge and wisdom, we can conclude that the minicab driver was ignorant. We have intelligent and knowledgeable individuals, but the problem is they refuse to apply wisdom in their day-to-day activities. What is going on in Ghana is a clear indication of intelligent and knowledgeable men and women refusing to apply wisdom. We can all attest to the shenanigans marring the ongoing voters’ registration exercise. Patently, some intelligent and knowledgeable individuals are not applying wisdom. If some individuals are preventing true Ghanaians from exercise their democratic rights, then the people involved are not applying wisdom. In actual fact, we spend most of our time on unnecessary issues, instead of focusing on important issues that can move the nation forward. For example, helping people like Apostle Kojo Sarfo to improve on his ingenuities may result in positive outcome, and thereby silencing supremacists like the clumsy minicab driver.

If our politicians keep on hurling tempestuous insults at each other, instead of coming up with advantageous policies that may improve the socio-economic standard of living, they are not applying wisdom. If our politicians are hiring macho men to terrorise the populace, they are not applying wisdom. If behemoth or gargantuan sums of money are being given to individuals who don’t deserve such payments, then the politicians involved are not applying wisdom. You see, our problems will forever remain, if our intelligent and knowledgeable men and women refuse to apply wisdom. If I meet the impolitic minicab driver next time, I will challenge him to retract his unguided statement, because “Africans are intelligent”; but the problem is some of us do not apply wisdom in our day-to-day living activities.

K. Badu, UK.