Dear Africana Woman,

I recently had the strangest encounter with someone. We had agreed to an appointment on a certain day at a certain time. On said day the person received three reminders. One via WhatsApp, another via email and the last via calendar. Which said person acknowledged. So to my surprise when the hour came up there I sat by myself. This is not an unusual occurrence. It’s normal to run late, so I check my WhatsApp to see if there is a running late message and nothing. 15 minutes in I call said person and they are surprised that I am waiting for them. But they promise to link up. Another 15 minutes pass. No explanation. In the end I decide to leave the appointment and told the person to let me know when they want to reschedule and to have a blessed day. They have not rescheduled.

Way back in a former life, I worked as a manager for different establishments. In two establishments the Directors / CEO’s would curse out their staff at the top of their voices and throw dangerous objects at their staff. In another organisation, the Director was subtler and used other people to carry out their dirty work. 90% of the time that was me. They would insult everyone in private. There was one instance where a supplier came to the office and the Director was on the phone where they decided to loudly explain how all suppliers were some animal desperately trying to exploit them. Said supplier exited the building. Days later I was told to go engage the same supplier just to have my head bitten off.

We like to think that we are a Respectful nation, dolling out honorifics in the way we speak. Ba, Bana, Bosses, Honorable… However, the under belly of our words are much more sinister, because most people have no regard for the humanity in others. The truth is we only suck up to those who we think can give us something or improve our social standing by association. To the rest of the world we look down on them and abuse them with our words, physical actions and power over their money. We like to complain that Chinese businesses are abusive to our people and yet no one is talking about how toxic our very own African owned businesses are. Just because you have given yourself a title does not give you the right to strip away the humanity of the people who choose to do life with you in the work space. Then we wonder why there is a high turnover in most companies. I’ll tell you why, you treat people like trash. Most people work with one foot in and one foot out always on the look out for another mutatu they can jump on if a space opens up. The workforce is miserable and yet they feel trapped so they don’t leave. To think we exchanged apartheid for this.