A lesson from the palm wine tapper

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A public intellectual who was successful at attracting the attention of a large global audience from several African Diaspora communities once wrote an article about visiting his family’s homestead in Nigeria. He missed the taste of freshly tapped palm wine – it is rare to find anything like this in Europe or North America, so he wanted to make up for lost time during his visit.

He contacted a local palm wine tapper, who was only too happy to sell him fresh gourds of the beverage on a regular basis. There was a moment when things didn’t go according to plan, however.

For one reason or another, the palm wine tapper was unable to deliver his wares on this occasion. The scholar received a phone call. The tapper explained the situation to him, also revealing that he was perched on top of a palm tree as he was making the call.

This conversation led the scholar to reflect on the fact that mobile phones have given Africans of any background or walk of life the agency to tell their own stories without the aid of book educated middle men or women.

Since this is the case, perhaps it is sensible for book educated Africans to focus on speaking for themselves. Isn’t it about time for the world to know more about the diversity of lifestyles in African countries and its Diaspora communities?