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Can It Be African Time And Still Effective?

I have often heard announcement of programs, where when it got to the scheduled time, the announcer goes like “ the program shall commence at 10:00 AM, not African time, “obroni de3no bi”.

Sometimes we laugh over it but considering the fact that this has become a canker in our fabric, it necessitates a cause of worry. It   seems  our  counterparts   in   the   Western   world   have   a   different  culture   when   it   comes   to managing   their   time.  

Most   of   our  Western   friends   will   keep   to   time   for   appointments   and programs. This undoubtedly has contributed immensely to their great rate of development. It has gained for them the niche “the White man’s time”.

In our part of the world, most organizers of programs will schedule programs to start for example at 9:00 AM, whereas in their minds, they actually intend to start at 10:00 AM. The effect of this new strategy to purportedly deal with the “African time” menace is flawed and discouraging.

The issue gets more worrying when a program scheduled to last for 2 hours end up being 5 hours. When this happens, it distorts the plans and activities of serious minded and productive people.This contributes to the reason why some people would want to wait and turn up for programs late, knowing that the program or meeting will be prolonged anyway.

The effect of this strategy of not starting programs at scheduled times is to rather punish people who make effort to be punctual and rather reward late comers by comfortably waiting for them. Building on the example I cited earlier, if a punctual person gets to the venue at 9:00 AM, he or she will be punished to sit and wait an hour more (if you are lucky), waiting for late comers,before the program  eventually starts at 10:00 AM. By so doing, late comers are not deterred and build an attitude of turning up for programs and meetings late.

It’s interesting how people feel very normal and comfortable even when they are late for programs and meetings.This disrespect for time spans all sectors of our society, from our churches, to public service, to social gatherings. The punctual minority only complain and suffer since they are almost always the   victims.

This   “African   time”   menace   is   worrying,   unfortunate,   discouraging  and unproductive.

However, all hope  is not lost.  Like many others, I  believe there can  still  be  a new  crop of Africans who will not kowtow to this menace and rather respect and keep their integrity to time. In tackling this “African time” issue, I believe we need, as a people, a collective change of mentality, perception and attitude to time. We need to appreciate time as a valuable resource God has endowed mankind with.Program organizers must start defying the fear of not getting enough people at their programs and rather stick to the scheduled time they give in their invites, posters, letters, among others.The mentality that in Africa, we don’t respect time must be done away with.

The perception that when they say 9:00 AM they actually mean 10:00AM must stop.If this will be enforced, then Pastors, Ministers of State, Directors, Managers, Heads of various institutions and Departments, including everyone in leadership must be willing to set the pace by beginning scheduled programs and meetings on time. If this happens, gradually, a deterrent will be served.Every person in any form of leadership position must take responsibility and ensure that time is respected and adhered to at every level.

We all wield a certain extent of influence in one way or the other from the home, to the offices, to the church, among others. Within our small corners,lets enforce punctuality by being examples ourselves, and ensuring that we keep our integrity to time.

I humbly appeal to you, my distinguished reader, to join me, as we renew our commitment to creating a new Africa, where time is respected and maximized to increase productivity in our nation and continent.

My hope is that our announcers of programs will be able to say “the program commences at10:00 AM, and it is AFRICAN TIME”.

Philip Otchere Darko

(podarko2012@gmail.com)

ahotoronline.com| Ghana

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