We in Africa lend great credence to the saying that new converts make the worst zealots. We appear to do nothing but take foreign ideas we barely understood, copy them blindly, use and abuse them, and turn ourselves into grotesque caricatures. Little wonder we are the laughing stock of the world.
Let us take this Christianity thing as an example. Starving Europeans, escaping hunger, left their desolate, god-forsaken icy abodes to invade our land. They brought with them their brand of religion and the book they claim their god wrote for them. Although we find their notion of god at variance with our own conception, they managed to persuade some of our folks to embrace their faith.
After much struggle, political agitation, and open warfare, the Europeans finally left for their shores.
Fifty some years later, a European visiting our land will barely recognize the Christianity that our people practice as the same one that he introduced to us.
In his country, the European knows that people go to church only on Sundays. And on that day, they spend only about one hour in service and go back to their homes until the following Sunday. Even on that day of worship, the churches in Europe are quiet, the service a somber affair to afford people the opportunity to commune silently and directly with their god.
A European that went to the streets of Europe to make noise about his god would be deemed insane and consigned to a lunatic asylum. No European, in his right senses, would disturb his neighbor because he wants to praise his god.
The European will be confounded to see that in Africa we practically live in churches nowadays. There is a church of one description or the other in every square meter of Africa.
African Christians believe that national laws are of no significance when it comes to worshipping their new god. Laws on not establishing churches in residential areas are flouted with impunity. Ordinances against street worship or conducting religious services in public transport are broken with abandon. Church services in Africa have become giant noise-making affairs where laws and orders are broken willfully as men and women profess their version of piety.
Christianity is everywhere on our beloved continent -- in the churches, homes, streets, markets, farms. No place is spared in the new business of Christian evangelism sweeping across Africa.
No bus leaves a station until a Christian prayer is said. Shouts of "Thank you, Jesus," fill the air as planes touch down on our tarmacs. Today, no state occasion takes place until a Christian priest invokes the blessings of his god.