So I’ve told you about my boss, Francis. No more than 30 years old, was taken into the company straight out of university as a management trainee and then promoted to Category Manager. As luck would have it, when our manager was promoted he too was promoted, why wouldn’t he, that’s the aim of being a management trainee, that one day you will manage. Now technically I think that he is good, he can tell you every line of every machine in every factory and how many of each product makes one case. If he gets 1000 emails in a day, he will make sure he reads every one before he leaves the office and remembers every bit of content in each of them. Me on the other hand am lousy when it comes to these things, if an email is not addressed directly more often than not it gets filed away for tomorrow which never comes. The ones that I do read, it is more like a gloss over, yeah if you need anything urgent from me, it’s best you pick up a phone.
But I digress.
Technically he is good, but do I expect him to stand up for my rights, hell no, in fact if the head of the region told us he was going to slash our salary to save on costs, he’d slash it in half. You know I always say, although slavery was abolished over 200 years ago, we continue to enslave ourselves. Francis is your typical ‘yes sir boss’ man. The one who sees the white man as a God, if it were druing the slave trade he would be the one that sold you to the white masters.
Today for example, we were in our monthly review meeting, the last one of the year. The head of the region asks a question. You mr black man are the head of the Regions Demand and Supply Planning, that is not just Ghana but the whole of Central and West Africa. 23 countries, yet when Oyibo asks a very simple question, he just stares.
Another example, I mentioned the cost cutting exercise. We have cancelled our workshop, our monthly lunches have also been cancelled, travel plans cancelled. Meanwhile the other departments (headed by mainly white males in their late 30s early 40s) are travelling to Switzerland, going out for random dinners and still having their workshops. hmmmm
Last example, there is a head freeze count. Meanwhile two of the guys in our department have finished their term here and our going back to their countries. Which means they will need to be replaced somehow. Guess who’s scared to ask for extra staff.
The unfortunate thing is, this my boss is not alone. A country of 27 million Ghanaians and you throw one Oyibo man into the mix and the Oyibo man is hailed as a king. It’s not because them having lived outside Ghana/Africa gives the impression that more educated or more worldly. If that was the case my British accent would have opened a lot more doors than it has. It is purely because of the white skin. It is purely because they have sensortized themselves since slavery times that what the white man says is right. This is regardless of their educational background, experience or even their country of origin. Ghanaians bow down to the Indians, Lebanese, South Americans, in fact any colour skin which is lighter than brown. The guy could be from a ghetto in Hackney or Calcutta, but if he’s an Oyibo then he is put right on that pedestal.
Their fellow black man, he wouldn’t even give you the time of day.
For this reason I love the Nigerians, their way of thinking is “you get money, well so do I”. “You have a house, well so do I”. “Furthermore you’re in my country mate”. I heard a story once where a white factory manager started insulting one of the factory hands for a small reason, where the factory hand gave him a slap. Incessant the manager went to make a complaint to the MD that this is what has happened and demanded the man be sacked. When they went to get the other side of the story, the man said “I don’t know what you are talking about, this is victimization”, the so-called witnesses were called and their was a chorus of “Oga, the manager was insulting the man for I don’t know what, but me I no see anyone slap anyone”. In the end the factory manager ended up apologising to the guy.
A bit extreme yes, but illustrates my point. We here in Ghana complain that we are not moving forward. Until we start believing in ourselves and showing solidarity in our fellow country man it will be like that. Instead of looking to the government to sort out every single problem in our life, why don’t we start with ourselves and looking out for each other.
Well I’ll get down off my soap box now.