Wednesday, 3 October 2018

THE MOVING FINGER. By Agatha Christie

Reading this work, as an African it struck me that though the pertinent society depicted here in this Christie work is supposed to be rural, impressionable, half baked, it is nevertheless a fairly literate society. Apparently, everybody here can write, appreciate basic correspondence via simple letters (though in the case here) such letters actually fan malice and wreak havoc. But the point is that letter-writing is somewhat treasured and appreciated even in this rural ambience

And in Africa here? Over the decades, the average man hardly ever basked in the joys of letter writing, though a very few great literary figures (Zimbabwe's Yvonne Vera for one) were known to exult in letters. One would expect an efflorescence of letters to be the norm in urban centres at least, but this has never been the case...indeed letters have been regarded with something like suspicion for ages!

Of course it can be argued that even in Africa now, with modern technology people are writing more via social media - especially ‘you-know-what’. On the surface there is some truth in this, but in reality things remain bleak. People on social media here rejoice in half-truths, gossip, fictitious or fake news et al, and most 'contributions' are hardly inspiring, if not downright garbage. Our use of social media is largely self-centred, trivial and quite irritating. Certainly there is little evidence to show that general literate correspondence has improved, among the educated. Anyway, give me old-fashioned letter-writing anytime...
-         - P. Lothane

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