You are here: HomeWallOpinionsArticles2011 09 29Article 220209

Opinions of Thursday, 29 September 2011

Columnist: Appiah, Papa

Embassy Broni and the House Negro

On a warm sunny day in Accra, Kojo Boy shares the company of an American embassy official half his age and not nearly as educated. The official had opened what actually was the cheapest champagne on the market, and the two men interrupted their engaging conversation every now and again with sips from the champagne glass. Suddenly, Kojo Boy’s mobile phone rings.
“Excuse me Sir.” Kojo apologizes to his American friend as he picks up his phone and walks a few meters away to stand on the balcony
“Hello! Hello! Akua! What is the problem?” It was his wife.
“Kojo where are you? You haven’t called all afternoon. I don’t know whether to start the fufu or not,” said Akua.
‘Oh I told you I would be going to the American Embassy. I am with Embassy Broni. I am drinking Champaaaaagne!”
“Champagne! Is there a party going on there?” Akua asked
“Oh no! Your husband is mixing with the “rich and powerful” Akua. Embassy Broni calls me and serves me Champagne. Who in your family has ever had that honour? Just a minute darling…..”
“I won’t be a minute Sir.” he shouts across the room to the rather inpatient Whiteman sitting in the lounge.
“Akua I need to go. The guy is getting a bit inpatient.”
“What are you talking about that is so important?” Akua asked
“We are discussing eh…..the Kukrudu boss,” said Kojo Boy
“What? Are you talking about your own friend?” Akua asked
“Oh I need to go Akua……….”
“What has Kukrudu…….?
“Onom wee! He smokes marijuana” Kojo Boy said
“What?” Akua asked
“I need to go darling. See you later!”
Kojo Boy hung up and walked briskly back to Embassy Broni, beads of sweat gathering on his forehead.
“I must apologize, Sir. That was my wife,” said Kojo Boy
“You don’t have to call me Sir!” said Embassy Broni
“Don’t take it personally,” said Kojo Boy “It’s the way I was brought up”
“Well suit yourself then,” Embassy Broni said
“Yes Sir. Can I have some more champagne?” Asked Kojo Boy
“No you can’t” Embassy broni said
“Yes Sir”
“But you may”
“Oh thank you. This is good stuff you know,” said Kojo Boy
“Typical!” Embassy Broni said with a hint of sarcasm.
“Yes, Typical American Champagne!”
“Whatever!” said Embassy Broni
“Sure? Can I have some of the biscuits then Sir?” Kojo Boy asked unashamedly
“I think I will save the biscuits for my boy,” Embassy Broni said
“Ok ok you see, my dad used to say,that alcohol loosens the tongue”
“A chip off the old block then”
“Ha ha ha, a chip off the old block. I like that expression,” said Kojo Boy
“As you were saying before we were rudely interrupted…….” Embassy Broni could no longer disguise his impatience.
“Aha aha! Wee! He smokes wee. He has it for breakfast. That much I am sure. I don’t know about lunch and supper………..”
“I must thank you sincerely for honoring my invitation,” said Embassy Broni
“The honour is mine Sir. I am indeed humbled by your invitation. Please don’t forget the visa for my niece…..”
“As I said earlier, Kojo, I don’t work in the Visa Department. I would advise you to put in an official application”
“But you know, you are still involved……”
Embassy Broni slammed the door in his face
“Scumbag!!!” Embassy Broni whispered under his breath
Kojo Boy’s wife was waiting when he got home, furious that he had come in late
“You are drunk” she said
“No, only a little Typical American Champagne,” Kojo Boy said
“So you were drinking champagne and “slagging off” your countrymen?” the wife asked
“Just defending the truth darling, I am a man of principles,” said Kojo
“Good to hear. Do your principles include assassinating the character of others?”
“Look, I’m not going to talk about this any more. The man smokes wee and I said it.”
“Are you proud of yourself Kojo? Are you the kind of man who sees the need to lick the bottom of a white man and “slag” off his countrymen for a glass of champagne? There is a name for the likes of you. You are the kind of guy Malcolm X called the House Negro.
“You see, historically, the House Negro was the slave who lived in the Master’s house, either in the basement or in the attic, as opposed to the Field Negro who lived in huts on the farm. He was the guy the Slave master used to keep the Field Negros in check. He dressed really good and ate pretty well – what the master left. He loved the master more than the master loved himself. If the master’s house caught fire, he would risk every bone to put out the fire for the master. If the master got sick, he said “what boss, WE sick?”
He would gladly be killed to save the master. He identified himself more with the master than the master identified with himself. If you went to the House Negro and said “let’s escape, let’s run away,” he would say “are you crazy? Where can I get better food than here? Master is a good man. He takes care of me pretty good.”
“Slavery is long gone but there are still House Negros in our society. The modern House Negro will do anything to be associated with the “master”. They will pay three times the value of a house just to be able to live near him and brag about how “I am the only Blackman in the neighborhood. My kids attend a good school. They are the only black people in the school” They even complain when other black people move in about how “things are not what they used to be.
“The modern House Negro sees it an honour to be associated with the master. He is glad to be summoned to the master’s presence or be invited to tea. He wears that as a badge of honour. He will do anything to please the master, including betraying several years of friendship with his own kin.
“That’s what you are Kojo– a House Negro, and you should be ashamed of yourself.”

Papa Appiah
Lexeve1@yahoo.co.uk
www.papaappiah.blogspot.com