My African Standard
So our organization won a project to renovate and upgrade a mini estate after the former occupants who had stayed there for 4 years moved out.
Excited about this new prospect, we set out to scout for the army of artisans we needed for the job.
Half way through the inspection process, we discovered that the armoured electrical cable supplying the estate with electricity from the state electrical feeder had been destroyed.
We had discovered (actually, heard neighborhood gossip) that the damage had been done a while back, and because we didn’t know who was responsible, there was no one to ask for compensation.
We proceeded to contact an electrician to give a quotation for repair and to our horror the electrician quoted an amount that would have completed the electrical wiring of three estates put together!
When questioned about his absurd quotation, the electrician went further to explain to us that he was going to deliver a foreign standard job and not an African standard one.
I was shocked!
My curiosity took over me and I had to find out what the African standard of craftsmanship was and the difference between a foreign standard and an African one!
He went on confidently to say that the foreign standard was superior and that he was going to make sure that his work would not be an inferior one.
I was livid but it made me reflect on a few things:
1) Here was a man openly admitting that he knew the
difference between standards.
2) He knew he had the ability to deliver both
3) He was openly admitting that the standard he represented was inferior and was offering me another country’s standard for an increase in price.
In my anger, I swiftly give him a tongue lashing -letting him know that my African standard was just as good as any foreign standard and that I expected nothing less from him for the regular price of work to be done. Why couldn’t our African standard be the superior one?
I read him the riot act on the presumption of standards and my belief that they were only as good as the people perfected and believed them to be.
After I had calmed down, I had to stop and analyze this situation:
Why did this man think his and his countries’ standards were inferior?
Was it because,:-
1. He had been so mentally compromised by media reports praising the achievements of the western world that he felt Africa could never catch up?
2. Or maybe it was because he still sees Africa (and himself) as a place of poverty, disease, illiteracy and corruption- a helpless continent that cannot help itself?
3. Maybe his inferiority complex was as a result of the confusion sometimes experienced by Africans who are aware but unconsciously fight the African renaissance – A new Africa experiencing a wave of change. Change in social consciousness, Ideologies and formats.
Whatever the case, I regretted giving him a piece of my angry mind.
Maybe if I had explained in detail that a country and continent is only as powerful and as mighty as the love her citizens drench her in- made clear to him that there is no place like home and it should never be put down or let down.
Just maybe, he would have understood – that no matter how inferior situations and circumstances are perceived to be, resignation and acceptance should never be the road most travelled.