Friday 17 August 2007

Introducing the Apes Obey! Series

We had a few things to move and though we had not perfected lifting techniques we had a rallying call to get hands under, the knees bent and ready to heave and lift.
Heysh-O-Bay! We all said and the goods moved, possibly of their own volition, but this a corruption of something that was common place some 86 years ago when in fact that rallying call was given by our colonial masters – then, it was derogatively – Apes Obey!
Not knowing the etymology; the phrase is in common use today just as many other observations would not have left a writer out of sorts today either.
That morning quote
Just over a week ago Chxta posted an excerpt from The Dual Mandate in British Tropical Africa (See References for all attributions) by the Lord Lugard [Source: Frederick Lugard: Biography and Much More from], the first Governor General of Nigeria, since then I have agonised about how to write about the views expressed then and comparing those with situations and events in contemporary Nigeria.
I have had some difficulty obtaining a full attributable source for the excerpts that I would write about, but as soon as I get the full details, I would post the information and update this blog.
Lord Frederick John Dealty Lugard
Lord Lugard was probably the greatest protagonist of British colonial rule, having lived and held office in Nigeria, Hong Kong and Nyasaland, he probably possessed the wealth of knowledge and experience to express views which today might appear blatantly racist and politically incorrect.
The Dual Mandate with regards to colonial Africa “stemmed from a doctrine that a colonial power had a double responsibility, on the one hand to the colonial peoples under its rule and on the other hand to the outside world. To the colonial peoples it owed material and moral advancement leading ultimately to self-government. To the outside world it had the obligation to see that the natural resources of its colonies were developed and that they found their way on to the world market” [Source: Dual mandate - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia].
A new blog series
The excerpt lifted from Chxta’s World appears below and it would form the basis of a number of blogs to be written with the view of highlighting how the sense of history has been lost, how observations made 86 years ago still find true, how we need to view these old assessments which are very much like report cards and work to improve, ditching the bad elements.
Without malice, controversy or prejudice, the blogs would be named after that marshalling call, the call to duty, the view people had of us because they did not believe we could organise ourselves properly without their guiding hand, the view that still dogs many in their everyday lives today.
It would be called the Apes Obey! Series – I would take a phrase out of the excerpt and develop it around a contemporary event in Nigeria and see how it all pans out, the beginning of discourse or a readiness for battle - Who knows?
A character assessment
This is the excerpt I have talked about.
In character and temperament, the typical African of this race-type is a happy, thriftless, excitable person; lacking in self control, discipline, and foresight; naturally courteous and polite, full of personal vanity, with little sense of veracity, fond of music and loving weapons as an oriental loves jewellery.
His thoughts are concentrated on the events and feelings of the moment, and he suffers little from the apprehension for the future or grief for the past; his mind is far nearer to the animal world than that of the European or Asiatic, and exhibits something of the animals’ placidity and want of desire to rise beyond the State he has reached.
Through the ages the African appears to have evolved no organized religious creed, and though some tribes appear to believe in a deity, the religious sense seldom rises above pantheistic animalism and seems more often to take the form of a vague dread of the supernatural.
He lacks the power of organization, and is conspicuously deficient in the management and control alike of men or business; he loves the display of power, but fails to realize its responsibility; he will work hard with a less incentive than most races.
He has the courage of the fighting animal, an instinct rather than a moral virtue; in brief, the virtues and defects of this race-type are those of attractive children, whose confidence when it is won is given ungrudgingly as to an older and wiser superior and without envy.
Perhaps the two traits which have impressed me as those most characteristic of the African native are his lack of apprehension and his lack of ability to visualize the future.
References for editions of The Dual Mandate in British Tropical Africa
First Edition (1922) [Source: Lugard Frederick John Dealtry Lugard 1st Baron: Free Encyclopedia Articles at Online Library]
Third Edition (1926) W. Blackwood and Sons – Out of Print – ASIN B00089EJBO [Source:]
Fourth Edition (1929) W. Blackwood – ASIN B00088N5OW [Source:]
Routledge First Edition (1965) Routledge - ISBN-10: 0714616907; ISBN-13: 978-0714616902 [Source:]
Links to the Apes Obey! Series

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