Sunday, 27 March 2011

Demystifying The African Time!

I got this inspiration to write about this from Ginger's blog. 

I don't know if it's an African thing/Theme but the most prevalent perpetrators are the people around me. Nigerians and their attitude towards time. Other people's time. A complete oblivion or disregard for what other people hold dear. TIME. I believe this topic has been mauled to death....but this is my own take on it.

Ever wondered why you invite someone for your birthday party and they show up 2 hours later with no valid excuse but the usual "I didn't want to be first here"? I think it reeks of insecurity.

Ever wondered why you show up for a 12pm flight to Lagos from Abuja and you don't take off until 4 hours later? Oh, the real reason is because they don't have enough planes and the ones available need working on. But of course no one has the balls to tell you that.

Ever showed up for an interview and waited 5 hours only to be told the boss decided to leave last minute to deal with some issues.? When the real reason is that the person really couldn't be arsed. *this happened to me 3 years ago when I just returned from the UK. I was so livid that I didn't return for the rescheduled interview*

Ever noticed how some people (including myself) habitually go to church late....? And in most cases never stay till the end of Service. I am
only ever interested in the Sermon. Which shouldn't be so. *the service actually goes on longer that they say it would, I believe your word should your bond. Even in Church*

Ever wondered why you go to a concert and they artist doesn't show up until 3 hours later and when 'it' mounts the stage, the fans are still up in a frenzy when the artist should in fact be pelted with bricks. :)

In all of this I remain eternally mortified as to why (unless something grave happens) I haven't met anyone who was deliberately late to the American Embassy? Deliberately late for a BA flight to Heathrow. Or in Abuja where people sit in waiting rooms for 8 hours waiting to see a minister and the people wait gladly. I am yet to meet the individual who would saunter leisurely to a visa interview. It doesn't happen. In fact
some people pay money to be first in line....until the new restructured visa application process. Which makes me come to the conclusion that no one has 'lateness' in them, it just boils down to how much regard they have for your time as a friend, lover, job seeker, fan, customer, employer, visa applicant and overall GOD! It boggles your mind, doesn't it?



Lara said...

It really is sad the way we as humans regard time...I hate waiting, so most time, i arrive early at places of appointment.

But this lack if regard for time is something which is worse here in India...and my friends and I have dubbed the IST as Indian Streachable Time.

Ginger said...

I like how you clarified this phenomena. It's a measure of our regard for others especially if there's something to be gained. I've been guilty of it sometimes but thankfully UK is helpin me shed myself of the evil habit.

Ginger said...

I like how you clarified this phenomena. It's a measure of our regard for others (especially if there's something to be gained or not). I've been guilty of it sometimes but thankfully UK is helpin me shed myself of the evil habit.

There's something humbling about having an appointment with your HOD and when you arrive, she is seated, waiting for you with a clean diary page open. Contrast that with Naija where you beg for the appointment, still come and s/he wont be there even.

Mena UkodoisReady said...

I, Mena, recommend that those who are perpetual late comers should be pelted with bricks on arrival, except those whose names starts with M, E, or D, Chikena

Mena endorses this!!

Ibhade said...

#gbam!#..dunno..but dem no born monkey well to late for a visa interview ooo!.. hahahhahaa. receptions at weddings are the worst! People troop in late when most times the refreshment is finished!

Am guilty of going to church late becox i want to miss the sunday school & meet praise & worship...but i stay till closing time.

@ilola said...

It all boils down to what we consider important, and much we will lose, should we miss those things. We lack the discipline to get to some places on time because we think we have nothing to lose, or there are no dire consequences. Add these two and the story changes.
The truth is that lots of Africans lack discipline and it shows in various aspects of our lives.

Tega said...

Punctuality is a huge deal...It really boils down to mutual regard...

People just generally need re-conditioning

I like this post jare...Spread the word!

Mamuje said...

Lara- waiting makes me jittery. I don't like waiting for anyone.

Ginger- to be honest I don't know how I was before I lived in the west but walking to an appointment and seeing the person waiting for you makes you feel good.

Mena- you no well oh.

Ibhade- on my 21st birthday I told guests to show up at 8pm, most of them showed up at 10pm, well at 11pm I told the DJ to pack up as I had my curfew to observe. They were disappointed, I was happy. Those that cared enjoyed themselves.

@tilola- you couldn't have said it any better.

Tega- lovely to have you on here. The mindset needs to change for us to move forward.

Prism of an immigrant said...

Okay, I just got here from Ginger's blog where I commented on an African church I attended that didn't have a start time or end time. Service started when people were in the room and ended as the spirit led.

But your post just called me out on my own latest. I'm one of those people who deliberately goes late to church to avoid sunday school...hehe.

I try to keep to time on other things.

kitkat said...

omg african time cn be really annoying!!..but it has its positives sha. i remember when i wntd to go see a show at oriental hotel in lagos, the thing was to start by 4pm and i got there by 7pm thinkin they'll be rounding off..only to realize it hadnt started...ayeeeee!! :p

Good Naija Girl said...

Oooh, well said. You're absolutely right that we are not late when we really value the thing. My dad has often asked me why I'll be late for church but rarely late for work (though now I'm late for work much more than for church).

"Ever wondered why you go to a concert and they artist doesn't show up until 3 hours later and when 'it' mounts the stage, the fans are still up in a frenzy when the artist should in fact be pelted with bricks. :)"

Well said! I've blogged on this before...I was so angry and trust me, I wasn't cheering for eLDee when he finally decided to show up. Argh! I was so angry.

LadyNgo said...

I can't stand being late- mostly because there's usually no reason and because i don't like wasting people's time. I think that is so rude. You don't know what else that person has to do besides waiting on you to stop twiddling your thumbs and arrive to do what you need to do. ugh.

itsjustmedaringtodream said...

I hear you girl - you've said a mouthful. And I am on the same page with you: Do what you say-Period. People should be people of their word - regardless of th situation.

Mamuje said...

Prism of an Immigrant- my dear I feel you on the Sunday school. The matter get as e be. :-)

Kitkat- that's what African time has turned us to. Perpetual late comers.... If 70 percent of people come late, there isn't a chance the event will start at the scheduled time.

GNG- I feel you. That's when pelting them with frozen pure water comes handy. Heheheheheheehe

LadyNgo- I give my friends a hard time for showing up late so now they show up rather too early just to prove a point to me :-)

Daring to dream- well said. Thanks babe.

SHE said...

I show up late to events I don't really want to attend. I keep hoping they'd be wrapping up by the time I arrive. But everyone else seems to have the same plan!

Of course we wouldn't dare saunter to the American embassy! or to a job interview for that matter!

Amy said...

This post is the truth! Africans show up to things on time depending on how important it is to them. No Nigerian in their right mind would show up late to their Visa interview because of the high regard that is placed on going overseas. I knew that African time may be a problem at my wedding but I did not let that stop me because starting my wedding on time was a priority. Those who cared about me and my husband were there on time and got to celebrate with us. Those who strolled in hours late didn't have anywhere to sit and missed out on a great time ;-)

LucidLilith said...

Oh Don't get me started!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I actually had to give my sister a lecture on respecting other people's time. When I send Turtle to go pick them up they end up wasting his time and making him wait for them. I put my foot down and told them the next time, they were taking a cab. Somehow they manage never to miss their flight or miss an appointment with the USCIS people. Shio.

Vera Ezimora said...

LOL! I totally agree. Me, I'm time conscious, but when it comes to Naija events, I don't bother going on time. Not wanting to be the first isn't really my motivation for deliberately coming late, but rather knowing that the person sef that invited me would not be there at the time he/she said I should be there. So why must I bother? Na ma dey do parry? It's really annoying, that said ...

Yankeenaijababe said...

first time here, loving the blog...will be back

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