The Donald Trump of Africa
By Baba Galleh Jallow
The Donald Trump of Africa, chief executive officer and managing director of Fankele Fanfadi Kunda Enterprises was a famous guy in our little town. He was so famous because he held himself to be the ultimate guru of profound practical wisdom and the repository of knowledge on all subjects under the face of the earth. He boasted particular expertise in the violent science of fighting and the humble art of begging. He was quick to quarrel when anyone doubted his opinion, whether his opinion was well-considered or not. The Donald Trump of Africa did not give a damn: if it was his opinion, it must be the truth and nothing but the truth; full stop; period; no more questions; and no answers.
So when it came to the question of truth and lies at Fankele Fanfadi Kunda Enterprises, the buck stopped dead at the muscular lips of The Donald Trump of Africa. He stoutly insisted that whatever he said or did was the absolute and inviolable truth and that in fact, he knew what was best for everyone and that everyone must follow his every footstep, foot for foot, and abide by his every prescription on how they must live, what they can do, and what they must not say. He was particularly passionate when he publicly insisted that he was appointed by the ancestors to serve as the unquestionable lord and master of everyone and everything at Fankele Fanfadi Kunda Enterprises. And he went all out - all engines ablaze! - to make sure that everyone both inside and outside Fankele Fanfadi Kunda visibly acknowledged his presence and affirmed his unquestionable right to do and say as he wished with everybody’s lives and destinies.
The Donald Trump of Africa was particularly famous for the groundbreaking length of his names and titles. He was especially famous for his insistence that everyone at Fankele Fanfadi Kunda Enterprises must mention all his names and titles when they addressed him. So the people at Fankele Fanfadi were required to say “Chief the Honorable Executive Officer and Managing Director of Fankele Fanfadi Kunda Enterprises, The Donald Trump of Africa, Pabi di Mastah” whenever they addressed him. He particularly enjoyed hearing people pronounce the ringing tail of his names and titles – Pabi di Mastah: it made him feel like a real hero who will stay around for a million years then choose his successor.
The Donald Trump of Africa liked to brag. Our common townsfolk were amazed that he bragged not only about ordinary things in life which he perhaps understood, but also about extraordinary things in life some of which he could not possibly understand. They were befuddled that The Donald Trump of Africa often publicly and loudly bragged that he owned some really fearful devils that inhabited the airs of our little town and were always there for him, ready to do his bidding, whatever that was. They were amazed that one day, he stood right there and loudly bragged that one of his devils had escaped and that our common townsfolk must not leave their homes after sunset on that fearful day. They felt offended that he could say to them “I warn you that Sikundika is not a friendly devil. So for your own sakes and if you don’t want to die, stay indoors after sunset; especially because today is Friday. But if you want to die you can ignore my warning. And then later you will come and say The Donald Trump of Africa did not tell me so. But you will know that you are lying if you say that.” Our common townsfolk were even more amazed when one day The Donald Trump of Africa bragged that he chose when he was born and knows exactly when he would die: “I was born after independence because I did not want to be born under colonial rule. And I know when I will die. I will be the sole and only owner of Fankele Fanfadi Kunda Enterprises for a million years. And if you don’t like it you can go to hell.” He had squeezed his face and squinted at his audience and tightly pursed his lips and sucked them in, daring anyone to disagree with him.
One of The Donald Trump of Africa’s favorite brags was that he was a reincarnation of the famous black hero Malgumis. Loudly encouraged by his hyper-faithful innermost circle, The Donald Trump of Africa often pretended to walk and talk like Malgumis himself. When he walked like Malgumis, The Donald Trump of Africa would wiggle his waist and puff his hands and throw sober glances this way and that, this way and that in the manner he imagined Malgumis would have done. When he spoke like Malgumis, he would stiffen his neck, cast a distant glance at the skies, loudly suck his cheeks and twist his tongue to make the necessary vocal inflections, just like the famous Malgumis. But our common townsfolk never bought that particular brag; they simply would have none of it. His only support for the Malgumis brag came from his strangely dedicated innermost circle. For them, whatever The Donald Trump of Africa Pabi di Mastah said or did was the truth and nothing but the total and absolute truth, even if they knew it was not so.
The Donald Trump of Africa went so far as to brag that he could be water when he liked and fire when he liked. “Who do you think will win the fight, water or fire?” he would ask with a threatening flick of the finger and a hard munching of the cheeks, expecting a chorus of the answer he gave them not long ago and expected them never to forget. “That is why I can be fire when I want and water when I want. Fire and water do not control me. I control them. If I did not control them, you would not be calling me Pabi di Mastah today.” “Nay, nay”, his innermost circle would loudly wail. They would gently coo and shriek and throw their arms to heaven to emphasize their agreement with Pabi di Mastah. Some of them in fact knew that The Donald Trump of Africa was not always right. But they kept their faces well-oiled and shiny, their teeth well-polished, their smiles well-practiced and bright, and their tongues well sharpened and ready to go positive all the time in praise of whatever The Donald Trump of Africa said or did. They gently cooed and stooped in awe, and often dropped to their knees in effusive praise of whatever The Donald Trump of Africa said or did. “Hear, hear!” they would squeal. “Sah you really must write a book so that future generations can benefit from your diamond wisdom!” The Donald Trump of Africa would shake his face at them with his famous peer and do the gentle chuckle, the one that said you know I’m always right, now we’ll party.
Our common townsfolk were amazed that at Fankele Fanfadi Kunda Enterprises, the boundaries between right and wrong, between truth and lies dissolved into oblivion. Here was a space of unusual exception, where the sole object of every conversation, every word, every thought, every gesture and every action was for the sole pleasure of The Donald Trump of Africa. When he breathed fire in the room and almost fried everyone alive, everyone loudly confessed their guilt in regrettable tones and wished he breathed even more fire more often so that they could be healed of their mortal follies. And when The Donald Trump of Africa turned to ice and froze everyone in the room, they hailed his magnificent cooling powers and wished he would freeze them even more often. “Sah you really are as constant as the local star,” they would hail. The Donald Trump of Africa liked the idea of the local star. He would tilt his head, squeeze his face, wear a distant look in his eyes, and look this way and that, this way and that to express his delight at being so referenced. He would take particular note of everyone’s humility and gratitude for being in his presence and particularly watched out for those smart enough to repeatedly hail him Fankele Fanfadi Bossiba, Pabi di Mastah!
Often buoyed by their amazing pliability and the certainty with which his innermost circle affirmed the infallibility of his words and actions, The Donald Trump of Africa would often launch into a lengthy tirade on why he would never tolerate colonial things: “I will not tolerate any colonial things in my head or at Fankele Fanfadi Kunda Enterprises. In fact from now Fankele Fanfadi Kunda Enterprises is a local company that is now called Fankele Fanfadi Kunda Pabi di Mastah. The word Enterprises is a colonial word and is henceforth banned expelled from Fankele Fanfadi Kunda. Anyone coming into this company will be severely screened and if they have anything to do with the word Enterprises, they will be banned from coming into the company. Even the words Fankele Fanfadi Kunda will no longer be spelt in a colonial language. I will spell it in my own language. And if you don’t like it you can go to hell.” And since The Donald Trump of Africa was a rich and muscular man, those who disagreed with him were mercilessly struck down and out of Fankele Fanfadi Kunda soil. As far as The Donald Trump of Africa was concerned, colonial things were the greatest evils in the world and he, their ultimate nemesis. No wonder he is sometimes heard shouting in his sleep, “I am the Donald Trump of Africa! No colonial things in my head!”