Rent a Londoner

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Rent a Londoner

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Rent a Londoner

(a satire)


My keeping Sunday as a Sabbath has no religious significance whatsoever. It’s just that human biology dictates that the body must be rested once in a while. As the Nigerians are wont to put it: ‘Body no be stone.’

It was like your average June morning in Kasoa – the heavens had opened up at dawn with a heavy downpour that slashed through the early morning, with sizzling lightning punctuated by staccato bursts of thunder that threatened to uproot the house.

Predictably, the electricity people had switched off the power. I have difficulty sleeping in darkness, so I took my morning ablutions, came out and sat under the mango tree, where I watched the dawn turned into morning and the majestic sun starts its leisurely stroll across the vast expanse of space. Little birds chirp happily as they swing from their perches into the air to catch a fly. Wings of termites littered the ground – attracted by the lights, they had flown out of their termite-hills yesternight. I took time trying to figure out why some genes will order these creatures to come out of the comfy of their subterranean abode, only for them to perish as food for man or birds or toads. Molds of fluffy clouds still race across the sky, nothing threatening, though.

The power had been restored but I busied myself admiring nature’s mysteries. I made myself a cup of herbal drink and came back to continue my meditation under the mango tree.

I was still engrossed in my estimation of nature when the clang of the gate bell shook me up. I cursed silently. I had a feeling it was one of those Jehovah Witnesses Bible-peddlers. I always resent the unsolicited visits of the colporteurs of alien faiths who believe that MY CREATOR will be talking to ME through THEM. There is no driving them away, though. They came every Sunday without fail. They are a persistent pest – always pushing their version of piety. I have made it abudantly clear that I am fully prepared to face my ‘creator,’ and my benevolent father in heaven and account for my actions, if that’s called for. No, still, they won’t let me be.

I opened the gate, a deep frown pasted on my face. Kodjo pushed himself into the house smiling like a sweepstakes winner. He was carrying a small attache case. In his tow was a copiously-backyarded, massively-hipped, enormously-breasted, small-nosed, petty-mouthed, heavily-made-up and attractive lady with a small head, that gave her the appearance of a mannequin. Kodjo knows his ways around, so he walked straight and sat under the tree. The lady flounces around like they do in the movies – her heavy-duty backyard vibrating vigorously. She waited until a chair was fetched and dragged for her. She poured herself into the chair with a flourish.

“This is my current affairs,” Kodjo said without a hint of irony.

He certainly must rank among the greatest womanizers since Casanova. It is difficult to see Kodjo with the same girl twice. He tools around town in an ancient jalopy, inherited from an elder brother, now deceased, which he believes is his license to mess up the lives of unfortunate girls looking for ‘lifts.’

“Doesn’t she has a name?” I wanted to know.


“My name is Portialita.” The lady corrected.

My friend shrugged his shoulder as though he couldn’t care less. “Abena or Politila, who cares?

Surprising the lady found this enormously funny as she smiled coquettishly at Kodjo’s put-down.

My friend shouted me down when I asked what to offer them.

“Anago, we no come here for a drink,” he said and smiles at his ‘latest- catch,’ “what drink do you have here that I don’t have in my house?”

He was obviously posing for the lady. I did nothing to discourage him. The lady also declined my offer of a drink.

“To what do I owe the pleasure of your eminent presence?” I was been sarcastic, but my friend was too much in love to notice.

“Can you wake up a decent card for me?” Kodjo asked, grinning wolfishly.

My friend is a film-, especially American film-, addict. He loves nothing better than to use patois and American-slangs. Little wonder the ladies are falling over themselves for him.

“Wake up a card?” I wondered.

He gave me a disdainful glance and, rubbing the fleshy thigh of his girlfriend, he shouted, “Yes, what’s wrong with that? I thought you’re in the business card design business. Can’t you wake up a decent card for a friend? Look, if money is your problem.” My suave friend said, fished out his design wallet, showed it to me and promptly put it back. Kodjo was grandstanding and the lady loves it. She smiles like a Quean

“If only you’ll speak English.”

Kodjo finds my assertion hilarious, he laughed uproariously. The lady giggled with him.

“Not only that, Anago. You have to rejuvenate some posters for me.” He declared and opened his attache case. From it, he extracted some folded papers. He put my tea unceremoniously on the ground and unfolded his papers on the table. They were obituary posters. Some were in color, the rest in black and white. “Do you think that you can put some life into some of these posters here, Anago?” He kept teasing me.

“You’re not making any sense to me, Omo Ghana,” I ribbed him. “You wanted a card woken up for you, now you are carrying obituary posters like prized-possessions and wanted me to ‘rejuvenate’ and put ‘life’ into them.”

Kodjo smiled maliciously at my lack of comprehension and told him his latest scheme (scam is more appropriate).

Like most young men whose jobs have been wiped out by market forces, Kodjo spends his days daydreaming about how to make it big. Going abroad is out of the question. He has already been deported from the U.S. of A. twice, and also from a host of European countries – he’s wanted by the police in a couple of them.

Pointing to the posters, Kodjo demanded of me, “Omo Nigeria, what’s the only constant among these posters here? Take your time to study them, I’m not rushing you.” I glanced through them anew but I couldn’t make a head or tail of what Kodjo was trying to tell me. They’re your everyday type of posters. Sensing my confusion, Kodjo smiled and collected his posters, he laid them neatly on the table. “Look,” he bellowed with confidence, “I’m going into the consultancy business. I am now a Funeral Consultant.” He beamed. “Your job is to wake up a decent card for me, rejuvenate some of these posters for me, give me an appropriate letter-head, envelops and things and I am in business. If that’s too much for you to handle, I’ll take my business elsewhere.”

God knows that Kodjo has never paid me a pesewa for all the jobs I’ve done for him. Whenever he’d a brain-wave, it’s to me he usually ran. I’d designed cards making him a Pastor, a Freelance Journalist and a host of other titles that caught his fancy. I’ve also polished CVs upon CVs for him. “What is a Funeral Consultant?” I wanted to know.

Baring his strong, white teeth in a toothy smile, Kodjo fingered his macho mustache and declared, “What do we have in common, I mean you Anagos and we Ghanaians?”

“Our inability to get straight to any point?”

Both Kodjo and his girl find me humorous. “Very funny,” Kodjo declared. “You forget that you Anagos love titles.” He paused to wink at his girl and rub her massive thigh. “It was in Nigeria I saw people call themselves: ‘Professor Alhaji Doctor Engineer Chief Sheikh.’ You guys are crazy plenty. We in Ghana are more modest. Our aspiration doesn’t go beyond having a family member outside Ghana and boasting about it. An Uncle in Togo, an aunt in Cote d’Ivoire, even a third-cousin in Nigeria will do. I asked you what you saw as the only constant among these posters here. You didn’t notice a thing. Look here.” Kodjo cried and re-spread the posters. On the top poster, he traced his fingers to the section on children, it reads:

Albert Kudzo (Canada), Emmanuel Kudzo (Germany), Elizabeth Boham (The Netherlands), Ebenezer Kudzo (Nigeria), Isaac Kudzo (U.S.A.) The section on grand-children reads: Samuel Kudzo (Kumasi), Matthew Kudzo ( U.S.A.), John Kudzo (Germany), Jude Kudzo (U.S.A.) Philip Kudzo (Germany), Kingsley Kudzo (Holland), Charles Kudzo (Kumasi).

“You see, Anago, there was a great man whose funeral will attract the well-heeled. The funeral of any man or woman with a child overseas will command more respect and more money than those whose children are all locals. My investigations and analyses revealed that this is a great worry to many of our folks. Funerals have become big business in Ghana. Some are losing out, but I’m not in the losers’ league. To those without a child abroad, I say, “Your worry days are over.” He handed me a leaf of paper on which he’s written the name of his business, it reads: ‘Khodjosons Rent A Londoner Enterprise.’ “What we intend doing is to take the anguish out of those whose bad luck it is not to have a relative abroad. You know that I am the globe-trotter par excellence. There’s hardly a country in the world that I’ve seen with my own eyes. You don’t think that I wasted my time in all those business trips, do you? No, I didn’t. I engaged my time in cultivating contacts, business contacts. What I intend doing now is to collect all my IOUs. As soon as you can wake up my card and letter-heads, Mylove here will word-processed some business letters and we are in business.”

“What is going to be the nature of your business?” I asked him.

“Our business is to take to take the worries out of the lives of those without relatives abroad. We charge a flat fee for those who want to rent the name of our contacts. Princess here has helped compile a database of my contacts. Everything is legit. You have a funeral and would like to impress folks with relatives abroad, we come in. No problems for us. For a fee, you can have your pick from our database of over ten thousand names and addresses divided into four sub-sections viz, U.S. of A. and Canada; Europe and Japan; Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa; the rest of Africa and other Third World countries. If you make it worth my while, I’ll remember you when it is good for me. Make me look good with a nice complimentary card, and I’ll be pushing obituary and funeral posters design jobs to you. Can you fire up the computers, I haven’t got the whole day?”

“Not unless you can persuade them to work without electricity.”

“Do you mean to tell me that you don’t have electricity?”

“You are mantic.”

“Let’s get the hell out of here,” Kodjo said and dragged himself and his lady out my house.



About the Author

Femi Akomolafe is a passionate Pan-Africanist. A columnist for the Accra-based Daily Dispatch newspaper and ModernGhana, and Correspondent for the New African magazine, Femi lives in both Europe and Africa and writes regularly on Africa-related issues for various newspapers and magazines.

Femi was the producer of the FOCUS ON AFRICANS TV Interview programme for the MultiTV Station.

He is also the Man and Machine Coordinator at Alaye Dot Biz Limited, a Kasoa-based Multimedia organization that specializes in Audio and Video Production. He loves to shoot and edit video documentaries.

His highly-acclaimed books (“Africa: Destroyed by the gods,” “Africa: It shall be well,” “18 African Fables & Moonlight Stories” and “Ghana: Basic Facts + More”) are available for sales at the following bookshops/offices:

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