Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Let the minister keep his fridge!

Unlike today’s kids,┬á┬á most of my┬á generation grew up┬á in homes where┬á there┬á was no fridge.┬á That┬á is in contrast to┬á┬á nowadays ┬áwhere every home that┬á has electricity┬á also boasts this amazing┬á┬á appliance.

The fridge  is   so common that  even in homes  without electricity,  a generator  is used to   power the fridge.  Simply said,  every  home  worthy  of  being called  home  has to  have a fridge.

But  back then,   a home that   had a fridge  was the object of  much envy and admiration.  We  knew  when  in  a  certain home  a fridge had been acquired. 

All of a sudden  a class  mate who  had  long  been docile and  shy  would  become somewhat cocky.  In  conspiratorial  tones he would huddle  with his friends  to let them  onto some  big secret.   After school, the  cocky chap  would lead an entourage  of curious hangers  on  to his home. 
There  he  would  proudly show  off  the fridge that  his parents  had  bought on steep hire purchase terms.

The  cocky boy would  be a hero  at school  and join  an elite  few whose  homes had a fridge.  The teachers  would  even treat  him  nicely  because most of them  owned no  fridge. 

The  cocky hero would revel in his  new found status  by treating  his  hangers on to cold  water and  ice  cubes.  Because most of those  fridges  were bought for  bragging  rights,  they spent  the better  part of the month empty.

Despite this,  they   always contained a bottle  of  water  and  ice cubes. Holding pride of place  in the  kitchen, the  fridge would  be  lonely and forlorn,  with  its  only company  being  the water bottle and ice cubes.

To this, the  cocky boy would treat  his  friends everyday after school. 
The fridge was also community  property.

It was   quite common for  neighbours  who did not  own  the appliance to   store their  water bottles  at the home  that  had a fridge.  To enjoy  the   privileges, the poor neighbours had to  behave themselves.

Even then,  when their kids came to retrieve  the water bottle they  knew  they  were not entitled to  drink  its contents. The  water   from the bottle stored   in the  fridge  of the  proud neighbours  was strictly for adults. As for the kids they  had to drink water straight from the tap. 

You knew  neighbours had fallen  out  when  their water bottle  no longer  enjoyed storage rights.  The moment  they stopped  bringing their  water bottle  meant  there were  hostilities. 
But the fridge  did not come without  its  fair share of trauma.  Some  homes, with more pressing needs would fail to  keep up the hire purchase  payments.  Then the  van  that  had  majestically  pulled up in the yard  just a few  months ago to deliver the  gleaming  new  fridge would  make its return to  now repossess the  appliance. 

All of a sudden, the  cocky boy  would  return to  his  old docile  self, now  publicly humiliated because the whole  school would be abuzz with  news that their fridge had  been repossessed.
The teachers would resume their beatings. The hangers on would drift away to befriend  those  whose homes had taken delivery  of  a new fridge, abandoning their  erstwhile hero at whose  home they  used to  crunch  on ice cubes.

We,  who  had  no fridge in  our  homes, but  refused to  become  lackeys would celebrate the down fall of the  cocky boy and swap dramatic stories of how  his mum  wept  when the delivery  men loaded the fridge. 

So you see, the fridge  has a certain  history  in our society.  
A fridge   is about status  and just like back then,  those who  own a  fridge are different from  ordinary  mortals.

Unlike  white people,  for  us  a fridge is not an electronic appliance   with a functional purpose. No, it means  more than that. It  means   those who own it  are  special.  
I am reminded of this  because of  the  drama  around the   fridge  bought by one of our  ministers.

The  fridge in question is  the subject of much curiosity apparently because it cost a fortune  and there is fertile speculation about  what  it  does.

Some  say  it talks. 
There  are   those who swear  it contains  a television  set and  a  little  appendage that  can  be voice instructed to  bring the  minister his choice of  drink  whilst he  relaxes on the couch. 
I even┬á heard┬á from someone that┬á the minister’s ┬áfridge┬á is┬á so┬á palatial ┬áit contains a gymnasium where the man┬á can do his daily exercises. ┬á

I hear children are now singing  playground songs about the fridge  that  boils  water  and  has a stove in it. 

It is said  to  be so  big  it can  store a whole  elephant carcass, plus  two giraffes. 
Talking of the minister’s fridge, there is a┬á radio┬á programme in which kids┬á greet┬á their┬á families┬á and friends┬á live on air.┬á The show is ┬áso popular that┬á children, in open trucks,┬á arrive in the capital city from the villages ┬á┬áand queue┬á up all day long┬á at┬á the radio station┬á to┬á do┬á their greetings.┬á Afterwards, the┬á kids are ┬ágiven a tour of the┬á city.┬á

Dumbstruck they  gaze in awe  at the tall  buildings and marvel at the escalators. 
Now with┬á the minister’s fridge, I think┬á the┬á kids who come to do┬á┬á greetings at┬á the radio station┬á must┬á also be┬á given a tour to the minister’s villa ┬áto┬á view the famous┬á fridge. They┬á will then return to┬á their villages┬á and recount┬á stories of┬á the┬á fridge that┬á can talk.
I think  this is a  good idea to  get  the kids to  appreciate the good work  the ministers  of government  are doing  for the country. 

Look, we┬á are always talking about attracting more tourists┬á to our country. The problem is┬á we show them┬á the same old things. Surely this is boring.┬á If we don’t come up with new┬á attractions, the┬á tourists will drift away to more┬á interesting countries.┬á

With the┬á minister’s┬á fridge we have a good opportunity┬á to┬á bring and┬á lure more visitors.
How about  if the  folks in charge of  tourism   put out  brochures and  advertisements   all over the  world inviting  tourists  with pounds and dollars  to  come and view  the fridge that can store the carcasses  of a whole elephant   and two  giraffes?

I  bet you  there will  be planeloads  of  curious tourists  arriving  to  pose  for   snaps  next  to the   biggest  fridge in the world.

So, my view is that┬á the minister’s fridge┬á can bring┬á many benefits to┬á the country and he should be allowed to keep┬á it.

In fact, how about┬á changing┬á the man’s portfolio and┬á just┬á make┬á him minister responsible for tourism. There would be so many people, including school kids and foreign tourists,┬á coming to view the fridge that┬á he would simply┬á work from home!


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