What a breath of fresh air to watch an African show, based in Africa, and about what we can all relate to, be returnees or not – most importantly entertaining with lots of laughs and a bit of ‘take home’ lesson to implement.
In episode 2 Sexual Real Estate at 11.31, when Nana commented on the guy doing his business against a metal gate, I was very pleased that this side of us that needed attention is out in the open as it is long overdue. Lacking proper bathroom etiquette is no ones culture, it is a learned disgusting habit and just not cool.
What is most annoying though was the fact that Africans do not only do this at home, this disgusting habits followed us everywhere. I am aware of the fact that landlords at home, Nigeria for example would rather spend money on celebrating 10th year anniversary of their fathers passing than build toilets in their homes or shops however, if you lived in a civilised country, you do not have any excuse to not conform to the law of the land especially when the benefits is for everyone.
A few years ago, I lived in Peckham just off Rye Lane where at least twice a day I passed by Rye Lane market to and from work. For the whole year that I lived in this area, no matter how cheerful my mood was when I set out to work, 3 minutes to my journey, I always get a huge knot in the pit of my stomach just as I turned behind Iceland grocery store to get to the train station, because behind Iceland was a little area with foul smell of urine and sometimes especially on the weekends and evenings it turned to a puddle. And this is not from the usual suspects, the people that I have seen were not gangsters, they are men dressed up nicely in shirts and sometimes suits. Within 50 metres of Iceland alone were McDonald’s, KFC and a sizeable shopping mall with big Morrisons grocery supermarket with toilets that could be used by anyone. After a couple of months I decided to put a laminated message that says it is not cool to damage public property with their disgusting habits when there were lots of places within easy reach. A friend warned I might be a target but did it anyways. My message stayed up for a couple of weeks before someone get pissed and ripped it off the wall. According to 2001 census, Peckham in London UK has about 36% of residents are Black Africans
My experience at home (Nigeria) was very similar only that it is a large scale, everywhere is a bathroom. We are so used to the disgusting habit that we don’t see any issue with it. And even in a house with a bathroom, people would still pee on the walls in the open.
I know the issue of bathroom etiquette can not be properly addressed in isolation as the problem is deep rooted and connected to other social issues around non existence of proper amenities such as decent sewer and water system. We will get there eventually, however, as our situation is today we could learn that some habits need to be put in the forbidding pile.
While this could not be left with government alone however they could be a positive driving force making it mandatory for all home owners to have enough bathrooms in accordance to the number of the occupants of the house/office/market and religious centres.
Big thank you to The African City team for an entertaining show. Hope Nigerians will watch this and feel uncomfortable with the lack of toilet etiquette.