In America, they call it ‘Black People Time’ or ‘Coloured People Time’ – so well known is it that it even has its own Wikipedia page although I hear tell our Indian and Latino brethren and sistren are also as guilty. Africa Man Timing is what we call it in Nigeria though, and it is so endemic that we do not stop to think about the damage anymore.
Look, it’s fine if you’re going to a house party. It is probably a lot of effort for some people to get to work on time everyday (running out the house, putting make-up on in the car or train, changing to heels once you get to the office), so it might be a ball ache to then set alarm for common party as well. I get it. If it’s a social event, the “I’ll get there when I get there” attitude is probably fine although don’t blame me if you get there and the jollof rice is gone.
When it comes to an event or a show though, it hurts everyone involved.
We’d heard that the Bovi Man On Fire show at the Indigo2 last night was sold out, so when our press got there at 18.30 (doors open time) and there were only a handful of people, we thought it must have been Africa Man Timing. When the hall was still mostly empty at 20.30 though, we started to feel sorry for Bovi and his entourage that had come all the way from Nigeria.
Nigerians and time-keeping. Chai! You people should try and change your ways naaaa! Finally turning up at 21.30 for a show that was slated for 7pm affects everyone – the performers, the venue, the people who arrived on time…the list is endless.
Some of these performers are coming to the UK for the first time, and when they peep through the curtains, they don’t particularly fancy playing to empty seats, so the show start time keeps getting dragged back.
When the performance does start, some of the young talents have to cut their slots short because the venue says “Na una know o, we go off light by 23.30” and you know the British don’t play about their time-keeping. There’s nobody to even beg sef; the place just starts to shut down automatically at a given time. You know it won’t be the headline act’s time that will be cut, so these young guns don’t get the full flavour of what they came to do.
The punters who come early will start fussing because they’ve probably made childcare arrangements for a specific time slot and will now have to leave the show halfway through (or sometimes even before the main performer comes out!) because they have to rush home. Or what about the people who have to leave because the tubes close at a certain time?
The venue is loathe to rent their space out to Nigerians next time because we cannot keep to time and the whole thing is just anyhow.
Nigerians need to borrow themselves brain on this matter. It’s grating to see the same scenario play out over and over again.
Meanwhile, small time, we will start to shout for change.
It starts with us.
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