HISTORY AND NAKED HOUSES

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Some persons can relate to recollections of some Hollywood movies in the seventies and eighties. They angle on large American houses with lone or non-occupants. These movies soundtrack and effects tickle the head as shivers and goose pimples run over. This contrivance of fearsome things in empty houses are made to linger in youthful minds for days and weeks.

It compels some wonder. Why are artworks on walls trembling without a tremor? Strident Tom-Tom and dances without a bandstand. Why are empty houses inside the city inflicting horror?  Often, it is a puzzle.
In retrospect, it is simply a meeting of creativity and ingenuity- a rendezvous. But matching it with the reality of a young viewer from the village is a different thing. He is left with ugly images of empty houses not being a good place to live. It is horrifying and unsavory!
As it were in the villages, hardly could one see houses without occupants. Vacant houses do not last for long before getting new occupants. Absentee house owners were few. Our people known to own unoccupied houses in capital cities of the world were business men. Among them was a public relations guru. Another was a controversial arms sales personality. They were in their own class. Their exploits are found in news magazines. Often, these are glowingly repeated by local teachers. It leaves many young ones with envy. At that time, you can determine the size and beauty of a house by the name of the location. It has now changed!
But what has this got to do with empty and naked houses?
Empty  and naked houses in villages are also known where ‘there is a curse on a household.’ The fear and belief that any member of the household who eventually dies was “killed” by the curse leads to empty houses. You can hear people say in low tones, “that house has a curse.” Many in the communities accept such prevalent notion.
 Empty and naked houses are found in communities where question of identity and origin of a family are raised.
Such family cannot take  their position of seniority if unable to  give a genealogy of their maternal forebears. What quarters of the village or nearby community their mother hails? Where do they celebrate traditional Mother’s Day?  A critical identity and social index in the community.
Unsatisfactory answers would turn them to scums at village meetings. When it is apparent that they are “a cutlass with single face” – “slaves”, the matter ends. Now, openly pasted with a social tag, some would quietly embarked on the ‘search’ for their root in the cities. Many never returned. Their household nay houses become empty and naked houses.
Empty houses are abandoned houses – uncommon word in our local lexicon until a turn of events in the nations history. Its mention or recall usually fill living spaces with sighs and harsh responses. “Don’t talk about it.” That’s what you hear from those affected by this ‘episode of history’.
Empty houses are without occupants. Naked houses could be with occupants too.  They could have some furnishing. Even in this furnished state, there may be no paintings or pictures on the walls. Naked houses are without history on their walls. No paintings that tell their stories. Most of the time no art works. Spaces are lost in time and space. It is a void. This is exactly the epicenter of naked houses.
Houses tell stories. But that is not the case here. They say it is not our culture to have art work on our walls. But their naked houses with art works on their walls tell the story of other places. They relish in stories of America, European cities and the grandmaster of the arts. The Picasso, Handel, Westminster, White House, Danube. Ancient and modern squares, bridges and historical sites are what you find on the walls of these naked houses.
Africans tell stories.
Tell your history on the walls of your naked houses.
The streams that have dried up because of environmental degradation. The hill, forest, locations that have lost their identity and history. Capture them in commissioned arts and painting projects. When your children born in U.S., Europe, Lagos and Abuja who have never visited your community and country ask you what is this, you can recount your history through art work on the walls.
You can explain what happened to all these locations in the Niger Delta basin – Omasianyali,  iyi  Enyi, Iyi Ochichi, Iyi Uga, Iyi Ugbo, Iyi Agba, Jakosu, Adugbee, Mkpitime, Iyi Ukwu, Iyi Nta, Akpuyaoo, Uzo Ikono, Ajoo Ofia. Abu Ano,  Obobo Nmo and Iga?
After a while nobody will tell the story. Imagine the loss.
It is said that if you keep away from your family or community in the village for too long, you will end up asking of dead relatives as if they are alive? You have lost touch. You are also at a loss having lost your history.
Use naked and empty houses to deal with unemployment. Make sense and gain out of naked houses. Great ideas that count. It is also rich  in monetary terms. Naked and Empty houses must be filled.
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7 COMMENTS

  1. This is a good write- up, I believe. “Make life practical & worth relishing, through those naked houses” is the message I get here.

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