AfricaAlvin was reading the morning paper, and the rest of us–Jabo, Leroy, and me–were drinking our coffee. I was thinking about what we might talk about. Alvin solved my problem.

“Any of you think bout was goin on in Africa?” he asked.

In concert, we answered “No.”

“Well, you should cause we Black folks ought to keep up with what is happening to the mother country.”

“Alvin,” I said, “Africa is a continent not a country.”

He answered, “that is neither here nor there. I was reading bout how that dude Mugabe done made a deal with the other dude, what’s his name….”

“Tsvangirai,” I said.

“Yeah, that’s the one. He supposed to be prime minister and Mugabe gon still be president. Do any of you believe Mugabe gon share power with anybody? I mean get real, the dude loves power, loves telling folks what to do.”

“Is he the president of Africa?” asked Leroy.

“Leroy,” Jabo answered, “didn’t you here Louis say Africa ain’t no country, so it ain’t go no president. It’s made up of a whole lotta countries.”

“I knew that, I just wanted to see if you knew,” Leroy came back. Then Leroy said something that seemed profound to us, which he does occasionally. “Youall member that song about ‘you have to pay the cost to be the boss’?”

We nodded that we did.

“Well, in that African country where Mugabe is, the citizens paying the cost for him to be the boss.”

“Leroy,” I said, “you hit the nail on the head. The man too old and senile to see what he doing to his people. Or maybe those thugs around him, you know, the military and security thugs, won’t let him see.”

“That is why I don’t believe he gon share power with nobody. In the deal he made with Morgan Tsvangirai, Mugabe still controls the military and security forces.” Alvin shook the newspaper for emphasis.

“Man, the person who controls the guns is always gonna be the boss,” I observed.

Alvin got in the last word: “All I got to say is we Black folks in the U. S. of A. don’t pay enough attention to what’s happening in Africa.”


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