A group of siblings,about 107 of them inherited a seven storey building from their patriarch when they were young.
There was a lot of squabbles about how to handle this antiquity. Some were inclined to outright sale while others thought sharing it in rooms was best.
The proponents of sharing won the argument because the others saw the merit in their argument. They did not have any other abode to habit. So they made do with the one they had.

Fifty three years forward and so many grand- and great grand children, it was no more in dispute that the house they inherited had faulty foundation. And over the years, their fathers and grand fathers have done everything within their capacity to repair the house, especially the foundation. Every reputable civil engineer had worked in this house that was a land mark and beacon in their city, to no avail.
The house had threatened to collapse on several occasions, but a hurriedly packed and dramatic repairs would always bring stability to the lower floors, which were mostly affected.
A lot of the occupants have contemplated packing out and the financially solvent did ( usually after marriage).

I am privy to the last family meeting called on this issue (and a lot has been called. One is currently on going). And it is amazing the staccato of opinions displayed in that meeting.

  1. Everybody was in agreement that the foundation of this building has always been and has remained faulty. And that their patriarch used a fundamentally wrong engineering approach while building the house.
    And that all attempts to repair has failed and any further attempt will be at best palliative and not definitive.

  2. The descendants of the 2nd and 3rd wives were insistent on a total repair which will entail bringing down the whole structure and starting from the foundation, craft a befitting edifice for their family name. This was received with suspicion by every other sub set of the family. Were they about to sell the house? They wondered. Or were they about to change the sharing pattern of the rooms? God forbid! Status quo must be maintained as it is more favorable.

  3. Descendants of the 1st family…well…were of the opinion that the house be maintained at present cost, emergency repairs to be carried out on a need-to-do basis. When they were reminded of the clear and resident danger of collapse and attendant damages, they all chorused ” it is not our potion” and “our God won’t allow that”.

It was still a stalemate as at when I left the boring meeting. I will save the other family dynamics, intricacies and politics for another day. It is your typical African family, so you must have an idea of what I’m on about.

In the end I mused on how interests (selfish?) rule and ruin the collective aspiration of any group. How this band of siblings who were in agreement that their house has faulty foundation and knowing that the Only way out was to pull down the house and do an overhaul, but resists it while taking the risk of the house collapsing on them.


#StayTrue to #MyCountry.



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