By Winston LEBGA
In Nelson Mandela’s ‘Long Walk to Freedom’, the South African statesman writes, ‘It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails’. Have you ever been inside the buildings that pass for the penitentiary in this land of glory? Someone referred to them as human garbage cans. Places were criminals are dumped to rot within the confines of slimy walls and putrid smells. How can anyone come out of such a pit and be expected to integrate with the mainstream of society as well as to behave with punctiliousness? The Bohemian wishes he could talk only about those things that gladden his heart. When he thinks of the happenings he wonders what can gladden anyone’s heart these days with many people having difficulty remembering any sweet moments.
We are yoked and shackled by bribery. So much has been said about bribery, so much has been written against it, even those who take it most, condemn it and in spite of all this condemnation the thing goes on with unabated fury. Bribery and its twin brother corruption. Maybe that is the reason the prisons remain monuments to the general state of putrefaction. You stay in a room, eat in the room where there is a bucket for inmates to relieve themselves. The occupants of the dung pit get used to the filth to the point of finding the rot normal. That is why many find their way back to the place they have come to recognize as home, shortly after their release. Who really is in charge of building prisons and making sure the existing ones are capable of sending out reformed criminals? Some of those big people are now housemates to criminals and must be regretting why they did not do something about the dung pit prisons.
Those who are to do right by the people are the very ones who regularly talk the Christian lingo but seemingly, they have no experience of God. Why? Why? Why? Why is it that many people in our community seem not to be toilet-trained? It seems we are all preparing for the eventuality of being incarcerated in one of the country’s institutions of putrefaction also known as the penitentiary. Graduates from these centres of corrosion are everything but penitent. Ours is a society of prisoners. Some are more innocent than others. Some guilty ones are enjoying themselves as free men while continuing in the perpetration of heinous white collar crimes while many innocent ones are behind bars. The big fish eat up the smaller ones: that is the law of nature. The doctors of penology surely have better explanations.
This matter about filth and people who seem not to have been toilet-trained is giving the Bohemian sleepless nights. When you go to any office, any house, any facility in this country, check the toilets. If they are sparkling clean, then you are in a place where you should be at ease with the environment and at peace with yourself. The Bohemian has observed with disgusted curiosity how some high offices in this land are so very low in toilet manners. Brethren, there are times in all our lives when it is difficult to be positive. “Na weti sef?” One gentleman questioned the Bohemian. “Man di worry about dis crisis, ya own na for di tok anyday about dotty toilet, you di stay for toilet?” This suit wearing dandy is one of those who cannot afford the luxury of flushing the toilet after he has emptied the contents of his bowels. At times he would stand on the toilet bowl and acrobatically dump his lump into the bowl, usually messing the water closet.
The sad news is that men are not the only guilty ones. The Bohemian peeked through the window of the ladies room of one of the high offices, in the quest to understand the poor toilet manners of beautiful people. This pretty woman in a well-tailored designer gown popularly called kabbah, long enough to cover the knees, found herself in a difficult situation. It seems she was suffering from the worst case of diarrhoea. She rushed into the toilet, closed the door and stood just behind it. Surprisingly she had no knickers. She lifted her gown, bent forward with her backside targeting the toilet pot, and then a greenish putrid liquid gushed out of her anal pore amidst thunderous anal blasts. Of course, only a few lumps that came out of the gusher made it into the toilet bowl. Most of the rich greenery of the slime enveloped the pot, almost covering the entire toilet in a mess of green slime. We Africans have a saying, wrong doing is a hill; everyone climbs his own and decries that of another.
After observing that many toilets in this land of promise are not meant for ladies and gentlemen but for the type of villains who have graduated from the criminal dung pit institution, I, the Bohemian of Abakwa, born on the last day of the month in the land of the proud people, by the shores of the Atlantic, this day declare: on every wall and door of the toilet should be written the following words which are written at the Shisong Cardiac Centre; ‘If you sprinkle while you twinkle, please be neat and wipe the seat. If your packet missed the target, use the brush and then you flush.’