[With Explanations] 5 Quotes That Explain The Behaviours or Situations of Some African Leaders - 'The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born'

[With Explanations] 5 Quotes That Explain The Behaviours or Situations of Some African Leaders - 'The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born'

1. "Through the windows their sounds came; old songs with the words changed from the old praise for Nkrumah to insults for him." 
- "The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born" (1968) 

At first, the people of Ghana praised Nkrumah, their leader. But when he led the country badly, the same people became frustrated with his bad leadership and started to insult him. They changed the songs of praise to insulting songs for him.

2. "...But since you must kill to eat, And rob the newly born of its mother's milk to quench your thirst, let it then be an act of worship..." (p. 48) 

There are human beings who are cruel to fellow human beings. For example, some evil people kill others in order to succeed. In some African societies, people superstitiously think that killing people with albinism can make them rich. The author expresses the aspect by showing how people can be cruel to the extent that they are ready to 'rob the newly born of its mother's milk' in order to quench their thirsty. This is an exaggeration. But some evil actions of the people can be compared to these unjustifiable acts.

3. "Old harsh distresses are now merely pictures and tastes which hurt no more, like itching scars which can only give pleasure now." (p. 63) 

The prevailing problems have become normal to people. The problems have become part and parcel of the their lives. Now, people are used to the problems. For instance, if people have been living in poverty-stricken situation for a long time, they just accept the situation and get ready to live with it until death. Instead of hurting people, these problems have become like tastes or scars which give more pleasure than the pain.
However, these people may decide to stand up and stop the situation. They can say 'we don't want this anymore'. They can change the situation. Or the government and the leaders can decide to be the first to change the situation. They can listen to people and try to improve their lives and meet their demands. In some society, if the government fails, people decide to take the actions themselves. Still there are some societies which accept the situation, but in the end any force from within or outside their community can come around and change the situation.
To avoid further confrontations, the government can change the situation by starting to listen to people and use their opinions to improve the undesirable situations.

4. "Those who are blessed with power
And the soaring swiftness of the eagle
And have flown before,
Let them go.
I will travel slowly,
And I too will arrive."
(p. 51) 

These lines are from the certain song in Radio Ghana. The song talks about someone who travels slowly. This man encourages himself that he too will arrive at the destination. He says let them travel fast those who are blessed with the speed. These lines mean that someone prefer to use slow but lawful methods of achievement, but others prefer to use the fast and illegal methods of achieving success. In the novel, Mr. Koomson, and others have chosen to use fast and illegal means of success.

5. "How were these leaders to know that while they were climbing up to shit in their people's faces, their people had seen their arseholes and drawn in disgusted laughter." ( p. 82) 

Sometimes the leaders forget who they are when they get in power. They make promises. Some of these promises are just in words and they don't mean they will meet them but they are the techniques to help them get in the office. However, it turns out that people realise that they choose a wrong person. It's when they start laughing at him and want him to get out of the office.

Ayi Kwei Armah (1968)The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born

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Emmanuel Kachele

Emmanuel Kachele is a founder and Blogger of KACHELE ONLINE Blog, an educational blog where 'O' Level English - 'OLE', 'A' Level English (ALE) and other related teaching and life skills are shared extensively. This is an online center for all Tanzanian Secondary School English Language students and teachers (Forms I-VI) and all interested English Language learners and teachers worldwide.

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