Fortune News | Dec 21,2022
It was just a little while ago that I stood in front of my house to go out for a walk that an old man in his early 80s approached me. Surprisingly agile for his age, leaving his nose out and covering only his mouth with a face mask, he asked if I knew a friend of his that was supposed to be residing in the neighbourhood.
I courteously told him that I had no idea. Then he took out his mobile phone and made a call to someone to assist him. The person on the other line was put on loud speaker, and no matter the references he was talking about, I had no idea. It was not only that I could not locate any of the places he was mentioning, I could not even reference where my house is located with a place name he knew.
It was my own home, which I moved into over a decade ago!
It was unfortunate, but I was determined to help. The phone was open and on loud speaker. I led the old gentleman to persons well-versed in the nooks and crannies of our town. After a number of tries, we were able to find a man that knew of the resident in question and the location of his house. The Good Samaritan was elaborate, detailing the alleyways and turns and shifts. The old man had drifted too far off from his destination by that point and had to walk long to reach the place. It was a relief that, in the end, he found his path.
But the incident was a showcase of what is slipping from our hands, the sense of neighbourhood. Indeed, the old man was looking for his ex-neighbour and wanted to be by his side in his hour of bereavement.
I went back in time to the neighbourhood I hailed from, reminiscing about how closely I knew not only the houses and the inhabitants but the sense of community that existed. One could hear banter, humour and street slang. Of course, this old man would have never gotten lost had he walked into that neighbourhood in those good old days.
What was engaging about those neighbourhoods were the quirky characters that give colour to the community. These people are now endangered species. In fact, they are so hard to come by, they now live their twilight years as sensations on social media.
Emama Zinash comes to mind. She is the emblem of the new kind of neighbourhood our digital age has brought us. Just only some months back, she was all alone in a ramshackle dwelling, stricken by the loss of her only son.
Shriveled, toothless and feeble, with deep wrinkles carving a map of her life, she is now a sensation throughout the digital social media, including among the diaspora. Several videos of her, getting in kind support or just telling stories, are posted on YouTube and boast hundreds of thousands of views.
Her twinkling eyes, for her age-thick white hair with her beaming grins are loved, as are her complaints about her aches, which are her constant companions. Most of the times she draws a smile and has the same effect on viewers.
She is a gifted storyteller, with beginnings, middle and an end, with complex characters as well as a plot that pulls together a turnaround of fortune and memorable lessons of wisdom. Her stories are charming, visual and character-driven –getting viewers to become drawn into her narrative and the digital neighbourhood of today.
She is more importantly an icon of the many stories yet to be written or told through our global neighbourhood. With all the promises and the powers of digital social media to be a neighbourhood care home, to provide a sense of community that has been lost as towns were transformed. But the new neighbourhoods are broader, more inclusive and easier to get around.
Interestingly, they are also spaces where we share a great deal more about one another. Thanks to these digital conceptions, we are more than neighbours –an extended family.
PUBLISHED ON Nov 07,2020 [ VOL 21 , NO 1071]
Fortune News | Dec 21,2022
Radar | Dec 11,2021
View From Arada | Dec 04,2020
Radar | Apr 24,2023
Fortune News | Apr 24,2021
Fortune News | Nov 27,2022
Sponsored Contents | Jun 15,2022
Editorial | Apr 26,2019
Radar | Apr 08,2023
Dec 24 , 2022
Biniam Mikru heads the department of cabinet affairs under Mayor Adanech Abiebie. But...
Jul 2 , 2022 . By RUTH TAYE
On a rainy afternoon last week, a coffee processing facility in the capital's Akaki-Qality District was abuzz with activ...
Nov 27 , 2021
Against my will, I have witnessed the most terrible defeat of reason and the most sa...
Nov 13 , 2021
Plans and reality do not always gel. They rarely do in a fast-moving world. Every act...
In the animating landscape of Ethiopia's economic reality, an increasingly fervent tr...
Leaders of the National Election Board are in a charm offensive mood, of a sort. Last week, they organised a rare tour for members of the me...
When the country's most senior diplomats and envoys return back to their posts after two-week debriefings, they leave behind a point or two...
At the hub of Ethiopia's fiscal planning on King George VI Street, the country's budg...
May 27 , 2023
Tauted as a somnolent giant, Ethiopia's financial scene now stirs, roused by favourab...
May 20 , 2023
The pungent irony wafting from Pretoria last week was hard to miss. Cyril Ramaphosa,...
May 13 , 2023
In March this year, Kamala Harris, the United States Vice President, visited Ghana, T...
I am acquainted with several young parents who decided to adopt children from non-governmental institutions. The process involved a six-m...
I was in the front seat during a recent car ride and promptly fastened my seatbelt. I unbuckled it upon reaching the destination but th...
Or see contact page