It feels like such a long time ago that I used to read fiction from Nigerian authors who write extensively on the governance problems facing their country, and one of my biggest fascinations was the issue of frequent electricity power cuts. It was unfathomable to me how, in this day and age, people were expected to live without electricity for long periods of time.
My fascination would soon come to an end as our own power utility, Eskom, decided it would not be outdone by Nigeria and implemented its first load shedding in 2007. And 15 years later, load shedding is still a very big part of our lives.
We are learning, begrudgingly, to factor it in our everyday lives, to fit it into our schedules the way we do meetings and other significant events. We know better than to go to bed without ensuring that every chargeable electronic device is fully charged because like a thief in the night, load shedding might strike.
We have found ways to endure the long and bitter-cold hours of power cuts – some cook way ahead of their usual schedules, and others either buy takeaways or tweet ‘Sbwl KFC’ and hope some Good Samaritan will hear their growling stomach and send them UberEats in exchange for cuddles.
During the evening power cut schedules, some take forced naps and hope that by the time they wake up, the lights would have been turned back on. The ‘sapiosexuals’ utilise the time to reunite with the characters from half-read books on the bookshelves.
“Idle hands are the devil’s playground,” goes the wise proverb. I have, therefore, compiled a list of books I count among the devil’s very own tools you might, out of load-shedding-induced idleness, fall in the trap of reading. For personal security reasons, however, I shan’t name any names.
1. Think This Way, Act That Way
Personally, I am averse to anything that presents itself as a manual for how to navigate life or interpersonal relationships. Life, as it has proven itself to humanity more than enough times, has no manual. People are unpredictable and we want what we want. So, unless it’s korobela, the success rate of taming anyone is zero.
You can act like a lady until you fall off your stilettos but if a man isn’t ready to settle down with you, all you’re doing in enriching an already successful businessman by buying some book about trapping people into marrying you. Also, why o loya? Isn’t part of the thrill about love, authenticity, and gradually and organically falling for someone?
2. You are not going to be a billionaire, pls!
I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news but the only way to be a billionaire in this current climate is through ‘fraud and things’. There is no book in the world, unfortunately, that will turn you into an overnight billionaire.
The only billionaire in this story is the author of the book you bought for no less than R300. They scammed you into thinking you could become one of them because you’re gullible enough to believe a wealthy stranger from the internet has your best interests at heart just because they have ‘philanthropist’ on their bio.
3. The only spider-web doctrine there is, is colonialism
The idea that black people are lazy bums who invent nothing and consume everything is as ridiculous as the book on which it was written. The history of Africa is recorded for everyone’s easy access – thinking like a capitalist or building spider-web doctrines won’t erase the fact of colonisation. We aren’t lazy, we are impoverished.
It’s the middle of winter and my expert advice on how to better endure the cold nights, is to pack these books and their cousins in a heap, light a match and start a bonfire to keep yourself warm – real value for your money.