4-15-2014 10-56-50 AM
Epitome of Suffering and Smiling

It appears the song, Shuffering & Shimiling by Fela Kutiwas first released in 1978, 36 years ago!! And as I listened to the lyrics a few days back, I thought to myself “Wow, not much has changed”. See lyrics below…from 36 years ago!!! I’ve highlighted the sections I find to be so true in Nigeria today…

You Africans, please listen to me as Africans
And you non-Africans, listen to me with open mind
Suffer, suffer, suffer, suffer, suffer
Suffer for world
Na your fault be that
Me I say: na your fault be that

I want you all to please take your minds

Out of this musical contraption

And put your minds into any goddamn church

Any goddamn mosque

Any goddamn Celestical

Including Seraphoom and Cheruboom

Now, we are all there now

Our minds are in those places

Here we go

[Chorus] Amen!

Suffer, suffer for world

Enjoy for Heaven

Christians go dey yab “In Spiritum Heavinus”

Muslims go dey call “Allahu Akbar”

Open you eye everywhere

Archbishop na miliki

Pope na enjoyment

Imam na gbaladun

[Chorus] Archbishop dey enjoy

Pope self dey enjoy

Imam self dey enjoy

My brother wetin you say? My brother wetin you say?

My sister wetin you go hear? My sister wetin you go hear?

Archbishop dey for London

Pope dey for Rome

Imam dey for Mecca

Archbishop dey for London

Pope dey for Rome

Imam dey for Mecca

[Chorus] Amen!

My people them go dey follow Bishop

Them go follow Pope

Them go follow Imam

Them go go for London

Them go go for Rome

Them go go for Mecca

Them go carry all the money

Them go juba Bishop Juba Pope Juba Imam

Then them go start to yab themselves: [Fela starts chanting in mock-Latin/Arabic]

Every day, for house

Every day, for road

Every day, for bus

Every day, for work

My people, my people

My people, my people

We now have to carry our minds

Out of those goddamn places

Back into this musical contraption

Right opposite you

Now we are back here

This is what happens to we Africans every day

Now wetin I want tell you now

Na secret o

Na confidential matter

Don’t tell anybody outside

Na between me and you Now listen

As I dey say before

E dey happen to all of us every day

We Africans all over the world

Now listen

[Chorus] Suffering and smiling!

Every day my people dey inside bus

Every day my people dey inside bus

Forty-nine sitting, ninety-nine standing

Them go pack themselves in like sardine

Them dey faint, them dey wake like cock

Them go reach house, water no dey

Them go reach bed, power no dey

Them go reach road, go-slow go come

Them go reach road, police go slap

Them go reach road, army go whip

Them go look pocket, money no dey

Them go reach work, query ready

Every day na the same thing

Every day na the same thing

Every day na the same thing

Every day na the same thing

Suffer, suffer for world…

How many, many a many you go make?

Many, many… How many, many a many you go make?

Many, many… How many, many a many you go make?

Many, many… How many, many a many you go make? Many, many…

Lyrics courtesy of SongMeanings.com

Suffering & Smiling: Every day na the same thing yesterday and today..but not forever. I’m just so saddened with the situation in Nigeria, but not sure what we can and should do at this stage. What needs to be done? And realistically speaking, what can or can’t we do to get things moving in the right direction? Welcome your thoughts on this topic…

  1. For the life of me, I can’t tell you. The Nigerian psyche is a special one. It has been conditioned by several factors such as colonial humiliation and a resultant inferiority complex, 3 decades of autocratic military rule, lack of exposure, outdated social norms and belief systems, lack of quality infrastructure and electricity, large population competing with each other for few resources and a general race to the bottom in terms of what is allowed to become “acceptable” in the face of adversity. In short, Nigerians have been specially trained to accept all manner of brutal treatment and suffering without even entertaining the thought of rebellion. Anyone who bucks the trend is very quickly singled out by Nigerian society as an outcast. The emergence of social media has actually WORSENED this trend as the upcoming generation now finds it emotionally cathartic and convenient to tweet and retweet their social consciousness instead of getting out on the streets of Maitama and Asokoro to demand for the things they want. It is my hope that eventually, at some point, this generation will put their Blackberries and Tecnos in the pockets and go out to meet those holding them hostage and demand accountability. I only hope that point doesn’t come too late (I.e when the country is on the verge of a breakup or a civil war). This generation is the country’s last hope. If we don’t get it together, that’s it for Nigeria, and by extension that’s it for Africa and for Black people in general. I remain cautiously optimistic.

    1. but people have gotten on the streets on various occasions and nothing happened. i don’t think we are ready to die for change…we want it but don’t want to put our lives on the line…

  2. lol….interesting.

    Thank you for sharing.

Leave a Reply