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┬á is┬á┬á so common that┬á even in homes┬á without electricity,┬á a generator┬á is used to┬á┬á power the fridge.┬á Simply said,┬á every┬á home┬á worthy┬á of┬á being called┬á home┬á has to┬á have a fridge.
But┬á back then,┬á┬á a home that┬á┬á had a fridge┬á was the object of┬á much envy and admiration.┬á We┬á knew┬á when┬á in┬á a┬á certain home┬á a fridge had been acquired.┬á
All of a sudden┬á a class ┬ámate who┬á had┬á long┬á been docile and┬á shy┬á would┬á become somewhat cocky.┬á In┬á conspiratorial┬á tones he would huddle┬á with his friends┬á to let them┬á onto some┬á big secret.┬á┬á After school, the┬á cocky chap┬á would lead an entourage┬á of curious hangers┬á on┬á to his home.┬á
There┬á he┬á would┬á proudly show┬á off┬á the fridge that┬á his parents┬á had┬á bought on steep hire purchase terms.
The┬á cocky boy would┬á be a hero┬á at school┬á and join┬á an elite┬á few whose┬á homes had a fridge.┬á The teachers┬á would┬á even treat┬á him┬á nicely ┬ábecause most of them┬á owned no┬á fridge.┬á
The┬á cocky hero would revel in his┬á new found status┬á by treating┬á his┬á hangers on to cold┬á water and┬á ice┬á cubes.┬á Because most of those┬á fridges┬á were bought for┬á bragging┬á rights,┬á they spent┬á the better┬á part of the month empty.
Despite this,┬á they┬á┬á always contained a bottle┬á of┬á water┬á and┬á ice cubes. Holding pride of place┬á in the┬á kitchen, the┬á fridge would┬á be┬á lonely and forlorn,┬á with┬á its┬á only company┬á being┬á the water bottle and ice cubes.
To this, the┬á cocky boy would treat┬á his┬á friends everyday after school.┬á
The fridge was also community┬á property.
It was┬á┬á quite common for┬á neighbours┬á who did not┬á own┬á the appliance to┬á┬á store their┬á water bottles┬á at the home┬á that┬á had a fridge.┬á To enjoy┬á the┬á┬á privileges, the poor neighbours had to┬á behave themselves.
Even then,┬á when their kids came to retrieve┬á the water bottle they┬á knew┬á they┬á were not entitled to┬á drink┬á its contents. The┬á water┬á┬á from the bottle stored┬á┬á in the┬á fridge┬á of the┬á proud neighbours┬á was strictly for adults. As for the kids they┬á had to drink water straight from the tap.┬á
You knew┬á neighbours had fallen┬á out┬á when┬á their water bottle┬á no longer┬á enjoyed storage rights.┬á The moment┬á they stopped┬á bringing their┬á water bottle┬á meant┬á there were┬á hostilities.┬á
But the fridge┬á did not come without┬á its┬á fair share of trauma.┬á Some┬á homes, with more pressing needs would fail to┬á keep up the hire purchase┬á payments.┬á Then the┬á van┬á that┬á had┬á majestically┬á pulled up in the yard┬á just a few┬á months ago to deliver the┬á gleaming┬á new┬á fridge would┬á make its return to┬á now repossess the┬á appliance.┬á
All of a sudden, the┬á cocky boy┬á would┬á return to┬á his┬á old docile┬á self, now┬á publicly humiliated because the whole┬á school would be abuzz with┬á news that their fridge had┬á been repossessed.
The teachers would resume their beatings. The hangers on would drift away to befriend┬á those┬á whose homes had taken delivery┬á of┬á a new fridge, abandoning their┬á erstwhile hero at whose┬á home they┬á used to┬á crunch┬á on ice cubes.
We,┬á who┬á had┬á no fridge in┬á our┬á homes, but┬á refused to┬á become┬á lackeys would celebrate the down fall of the┬á cocky boy and swap dramatic stories of how┬á his mum┬á wept┬á when the delivery┬á men loaded the fridge.┬á
So you see, the fridge┬á has a certain┬á history┬á in our society.┬á┬á
A fridge ┬á┬áis about status┬á and just like back then, ┬áthose who┬á own a┬á fridge are different from┬á ordinary┬á mortals.
Unlike┬á white people,┬á for┬á us┬á a fridge is not an electronic appliance┬á┬á with a functional purpose. No, it means┬á more than that. It┬á means┬á┬á those who own it┬á are┬á special. ┬á
I am reminded of this┬á because of┬á the┬á drama┬á around the┬á┬á fridge┬á bought by one of our┬á ministers.
The┬á fridge in question is┬á the subject of much curiosity apparently because it cost a fortune ┬áand there is fertile speculation about┬á what┬á it┬á does.
Some┬á say┬á it talks.┬á
There┬á are┬á┬á those who swear┬á it contains┬á a television┬á set and┬á a┬á little┬á appendage that┬á can┬á be voice instructed to┬á bring the┬á minister his choice of┬á drink┬á whilst he┬á relaxes on the couch.┬á
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┬á playground songs about the fridge┬á that┬á boils┬á water┬á and┬á has a stove in it.┬á
It is said┬á to┬á be so┬á big┬á it can┬á store a whole┬á elephant carcass, plus┬á two giraffes.┬á
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┬á gaze in awe┬á at the tall┬á buildings and marvel at the escalators.┬á
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┬á this is a┬á good idea to┬á get┬á the kids to┬á appreciate the good work┬á the ministers┬á of government┬á are doing┬á for the country.┬á
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┬á if the┬á folks in charge of┬á tourism┬á┬á put out┬á brochures and┬á advertisements┬á┬á all over the┬á world inviting┬á tourists┬á with pounds and dollars ┬áto┬á come and view┬á the fridge that can store the carcasses┬á of a whole elephant┬á┬á and two┬á giraffes?
I┬á bet you┬á there will┬á be planeloads┬á of┬á curious tourists┬á arriving┬á to┬á pose┬á for┬á┬á snaps┬á next┬á to the┬á┬á biggest┬á 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!