“…if I did not believe that it matters, it matters, it always matters, to name rubbish as rubbish…to do otherwise is to legitimize it” (Salman Rushdie).
The chichidodo bird is not who she says she is
Realpolitik…lack of consciousness, of political realism…Machiavellianism…politricks…are her forte.
The chichidodo bird, an enemy of progress. The chichidodo bird, a metaphor for arrested development. The chichidodo bird, an expression of ubuntu. The chichidodo bird, a feminine symbol of paternal philanthropy. The chichidodo bird, a destructive flightless political animal.
Orwellian doublespeak…Orwellian doublethink…are her exotic political language of choice.
In the end, though, Armah and Ramose could be economically truthful with their descriptive metaphor.
For us the chichidodo bird is not a conveniently distant, out-of-the-ordinary experience of metaphor.
For us, the chichidodo evokes all the hallmarks of literal immediacy in the maggot-infested lavatory of moral excrement, where political expression is also a bold statement of endemic kleptomaniacal reality, a damning symbol of leadership crisis, of bystander apathy, of moral decay.
And yet the chichidodo bird is unambiguously, also a bold, colorful status statement of Orwellian metaphor:
“Time alone, oh, time will tell:
“Think you're in heaven, but ya living in hell;
“Think you're in heaven, but ya living in hell;
“Think you're in heaven, but ya living in hell.
“Time alone, oh, time will tell…
Says Bob Marley’s “Time Will Tell.”
Time will tell?
Which time? And when?
Time is of no essence in this maggot-infested lavatory of human existence…for the chichidodo bird has broken the fragile hands of time, thus giving Bob Marley’s prophetic statement a gloss of literal factualness.
Just look at the anthropogenic galamsey-oriented polluted minds of the children of the chichidodo bird!
Extinction! Drunken Dead!
In this claustrophobic maggot-infested lavatory of moral excrement…“heaven” becomes “hell”…lies and falsehoods replace truth…public pornography takes over public decency…law becomes social disorder…cronyism and nepotism and political patronage usurp the majestic throne of meritocracy and hard work…murderers thieves and rapists become holy pastors and Men of God…
Thus Spoke Zarathustra, of Friedrich Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil…
It is toward such an Orwellian world of maggot-infested lavatory of moral excrement that, Wole Soyinka directs his polemic jeremiad…his eulogy, his funeral speech…The Open Sore of a Continent!
Political maggots…zombie political demagogues…political incubi with their poisonous rhetoric proboscis hanging over The Open Sore of a Continent. The genocidal rhetoric of Montie 3, of the judicial dictatorship of Daddy Lumba’s Yentie Obia…all in the Chichidodo bird’s Open Sore of a Continent!
Dear Mama Africa, a wounded vagina…Dear Mother Ghana, a wounded vagina, can you fly over there, to the other side, otherism, and tell it like it is to the mountain, cry your heart out to the mountain, pour out your lamentations to James Baldwin’s “Go Tell in on the Mountain”?
Dear Mama Africa…Dear Mother Ghana…What has become of the incubus of the poisonous male penis in the paradoxical beak of the chichidodo bird?
The chichidodo bird’s poisonous penis has risen yet again from the vaginal depths of extinction, from the vaginal mysteries of the dead…and is in a helter-skelter killing spree snuffing out the life of every living cell of the body politic of Africa, of Ghana!
The flightless chichidodo bird is in flight and throwing stones in all directions at her person, her shadows, others from her glasshouse!
Where…where is the mother of Africa, of Ghana…Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah?
Flightless extinction of the human intellect…killer hunger in the midst of plenty…Oh, “in the abundance of water, the fool is thirsty,” says Bob Marley’s crying yet conscious chichidodo bird.
Human intellect dead and extinct, the chichidodo bird asks? If not why the universal hopelessness and helplessness in the maggot-infested lavatory of moral excrement, in the land of plenty…?
Rapper Tupac’s “Life Goes On” gave the following eulogy at the funeral of the chichidodo bird:
“I don’t wanna die alone
“Be a lie, if I told ya that I never thought of death
“Bury me smiling…have a party at my funeral
“Kiss me from my head to my toe
“Give me a paper and a pen so I can write about my life of sin
“Nobody cries when we die
“How long we mourn…life goes on
The famished, undernourished…malnourished avian mourners at the chichidodo bird’s funeral sing the following song, “My Master’s Will,” by roots reggae Israel Vibration:
“Of my missal master, I should thankfully receive; ain't gonna sit down here crying, worrying going on free.
“It's my master's will... I see the sun shining today; don’t know what is going to bring. You see I give thanks come what may
“Never see the breeze behind the air, you couldn't hold who you calling for and there's nothing you can do; everything is a one world's often view.
“I give a little here, I give a little there and keep a little for myself. Life is so unfair, yet is good to share, and it's nice to help someone else.
The deeply religious chichidodo bird was not one to share the booty she stole from the people during her unending tenure as a political and social juggernaut.
In her stinking maggot-infested lavatory of a coffin which she imported from without after her death, she had the booty carefully packaged and preserved, to accompany her to the underworld, the other world reserved exclusively for a cabal of heinous political criminals unknown to humanity.
The undeniable fact is that political animals, such as the chichidodo bird, have become more irrevocably wicked than human beings. For this reason, the famished mourners’ cries were not for the dead chichidodo bird per se, no.
They always saw her as the unyielding anonymous subject of Israel Vibration’s “Back Stabber.” She was also the same Machiavellian character Bob Marley snag about on the track “Who the Cap Fit”:
“Some will eat and drink with you, then behind them su-su 'pon you, yeah!”
Their cries only produced running tears of joy for the providence-sanctioned passage of the stiff-necked fool, the chichidodo bird, from this wicked life. Their most pressing worry was why and where the dead chichidodo bird was taking all that booty to!
The other fact is that the same day the chichidodo bird’s funeral took place, was the same day the chichidodo bird gave birth many times to its itself. The same day the chichidodo bird gave birth to Ghana, was the same day the chichidodo bird collaborated with the CIA to destroy that corporate body politic, Ghana.
There are even salacious making rounds that the American CIA contracted the chichidodo bird to memorialize…to inscribe “the beautyful ones are not yet born” in the national conscience, to spite Africa’s most respected and influential anti-chichidodo bird, the world’s “Africa’s Man of the Millennium.”
Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!:
From a distance the coffin looks like the Ghanaian map. However the benefit of proximity tells an entirely different story, that of the coffin being the map of Ghana wrapped up in the national flag. Interestingly, Fela Kuti aptly called this weird funeral arrangement “Coffin for Head of State.”
The coffin inexplicably unroofs and there appears an unnerving resurrection of the chichidodo bird, a vampire-snake in a tailored wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing Western suit…a dinosaurian vampire-snake with wings. Then, having regained her aeronautic freedom from her onetime clipped wings it flies away singing, leaving the famished mourners in a state of static awe:
“Do-do…chi…chi…do-do nothing for the people and their country, a pimper’s paradise of cronyism, nepotism!
“Do-do…chi…chi…do-do virtually nothing for the people and their country, a gigolo’s paradise of political corruption!
“Do-do…chi…chi...chi…do-do deceive the people and their country, that dinosaurian vampire-snake in a wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing is a chichidodo bird, which is extinct, dead, which is no more…
Do-do…chi…chi…do-do because that is exactly what the people and their wounded country like, are addicted to…blatant political lies which Bob Marley appropriately described as follows:
“The biggest coward of a man is to awaken the love of a woman without the intention of loving her.”
The political animal in the Ghanaian…in the African…setting becomes “the biggest coward of a man”…and so too when “a woman” becomes the masses. Where is the love that the chichidodo bird professed to the people, the masses, when she wanted their votes?
Yet the chichidodo bird, a dinosaurian vampire-snake was a woman, a she, according to South African philosopher Ramose! More to the point, if we should add, Fela Kuti, on the other hand, complicated the chichidodo bird’s crisis of identity when he once referred to her as “Mr. Follow Follow.”
A she? Or a he? No one seems to know for certain. What is rather certain is that her or his entire political career was one of a sad funeral satire, a political dirge even while he or she thought he or she was enjoying his or her political tenure. Heaven is rather hell for these kinds of politicians.
It also turned out that her tactical approach to traditional and postmodern feminism was a mask, a subtle disguise for male chauvinism. Others, however, thought of the whole thing as a Janus-faced exercise in androgynous chauvinism. Whatever the true story was, and is even supposed to be today, is a layered question that is hidden deep down in the Pandora’s box of natural evolution, namely in the complex mythological hybrid of human psychology. Such a world!
Oh, what a great joy of paralyzing sadness? Oh, what a killjoy in the form of the dead chichidodo bird?
Oh…Oh…Oh…Oh…Ayi Kwei Armah’s intellectually stunted chichidodo bird is indeed flightless, so too are all post-Nkrumah Ghanaian leaders…no imagination…no strategic and tactical creativity in statesmanship…no vision…no foresight…are clueless…wicked…heartless!
The chichidodo bird sporadically surrounds itself—a better or more fitting pronoun since the bird’s gender remains uncertain—with a conniving cabal of clerics, mostly male humanoid-avian men who like to cover themselves in chichidodo-bird-in-human-clothing Western suits, as its advisors.
This conniving cabal is a major component of the contributing causes of the arrested development of the chichidodo bird’s Animal Farm.
To begin with, members of this cabal have their faculties locked under a Sisyphean juggernaut of arrested development.
And they have also, in the second place, caused the arrested development of the faculties of many of their mostly gullible followers. This is realized mainly through tactical subversion of these followers’ uncritical faculties and that, in turn, through a self-serving clerical mechanism of scriptural indoctrination.
That is to say, the dead-men-walking subjects of the chichidodo bird have become more religious than the God of the Bible, of the Torah, and of the Quran himself…to say the least.
Add to these the arrested faculties of many a secular Ghanaian male and female by the nation’s humanoid-avian politicians and political theologians and the colonial-neocolonial educational system. The end result is a maggot-infested lavatory of automatons who worship Zombie Apocalypse.
These gullible followers who inhabit the world of Zombie Apocalypse constitute a sizable portion of the electorate. These Zombie Apocalypse worshipers are the very same automatons that Bob Marley dedicated his “Redemption Song.” Fela Kuti also sang about them in “Zombie,” “Mr. Follow Follow” and “Colonial Mentality.” In fact Fela dedicated his album “Sorrow Tears and Blood” to them.
The fact is that these automatons will rather turn over their popular sovereignty to the chichidodo bird on the cheap through mostly ethno-regional solidarity channels than through issues-based politicking.
And Zombie Apocalypse?
It came about when the conniving cabal of clerics subverted the divine authority and moral essence of the God it claims to worship, all in the sacred name of its members’ self-aggrandizing proclivity for mammonism and social relevance and kleptomania, and their wanting so bad to be part and parcel of the rampant corruption of the secular world, of the secular establishment.
In this narrow sense, the clerics are not dissimilar to these wicked, hypocritical political leaders who royally and majestically refer to themselves as chichidodo birds. This is no breaking news.
For, it is public knowledge that these chichidodo-like clerics are more likely to back their divine prophecies regarding which chichidodo bird is going to win the next presidential elections, with highly selective citations of scripture, for instance, rather than invoke the prime example of Joseph, one of the faces of the institution of the vizier in the Classical African Civilization of Ancient Egypt, to provide pragmatic, testable answers to existential or material problems.
Like the chichidodo bird, the average humanoid-avian cleric does not view pragmatism as a choice pathway to the secrets of existential conundrums. Pragmatism, to these humanoid-avian clerics, is when a chichidodo bird showers buckets of droppings on a church-going hypocrite.
This concludes the series “Ayi Kwei Armah’s Chichidodo Bird Is A Deadly Political Animal.”
For the Salman Rushdie quote, see “Outside the Whale” at http://web.archive.org/web/20110618004653/http://www.granta.com/Magazine/11/Outside-the-Whale/Page-2
Ayi Kwei Armah. “The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born.” Heinemann, UK: 1968/1969.
Mogobe B. Ramose. (1999). “But the Chichidodo Feeds on Cocoa.” Journal on African Philosophy, p. 1533-1067.
For the Bob Marley quote, see https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/four-lessons-for-men-lal/