On Tuesday, July 19 Categories:

Benjamin Franklin said time is money and for his western mind it made sense. As a westerner it makes sense to me to, but as an African I can also understand it in the opposite sense; Money consumes time. An African friend of mine once said: "The West owns Watches; Africa owns Time".

One day I ran like hell to get to a shop that I knew would close within minutes and as I ran I saw an African standing against a wall looking at absolutely nothing. An hour later I passed him again and still he gazed into heaven knows what. I went to a restaurant with friends that afternoon and two hours later the man was still standing in the exact same position looking at exactly the same black hole. This time I couldn't leave it at that so I went to him and asked him about his stare: "What are you looking at?" He replied that he wasn't looking at anything, he was enjoying his time.

I had no idea what he meant by that, but today I think it has something to do with the opposite perspective that Africa has on time. Franklin saw time as something that is passing you by at the speed of light and therefore you have to make haste or you will lose the chance of making money, doing something, creating stuff. Africa says: "Life is flying past you so beware that you are not creating and creating without enjoying the fact that you are alive."

Maybe that is why Africa is poor in possessions, but rich in culture, family, community and relationships. I am used to deadlines so everyday I get up, run around, do my thing, create stuff and go to sleep so that I could have energy for tomorrow's deadlines on things and stuff and....

Running around from one side of town to the next, without standing still, to enjoy the fact that I am alive. Creating and creating because when will I have enough, money, possessions, cars, houses and a chain of broken relationships brought about by not having time for me, for others, for live itself.

Perspective on time that is money might be our problem in finding happiness. Why else would the richest countries have the most sufferers of depression and Africa, South Africa excluded, have none. Sometimes we really need to be irresponsible with time in order to be responsible with our ourselves.

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