Piracy might have good consequences but in the end a lot of people would be better of if there would be a better system of protecting consumers against these natural mechanisms of making income differences smaller in this continent. Such a system would at least contribute to the trust people would have in their own government their own systems. Trust is one of the most important things that a lot of African societies are lacking. It might even one of the main reasons that a lot of countries are still lacking a strong growth in development. In daily life one is all the time confronted with small and big lies, non-stop. If you want to bring a mobile phone to the repair shop you will get it back stripped from some parts: nobody in the shop is able to tell where the parts went. If you go to a shop people talk to you nicely to get you as a customer and after picking up the slides they have all sort of reasons why they did not deliver the quality what they promised. You want to talk about a discount. They call their uncle who works with the police and threaten to arrest you if you don’t pay the full amount al thought they didn’t deliver what they promised (which actually happened when I enjoyed a beer with a friend in a bar). The insurance company might come to see you and ask you to pay an extra amount of money because they have a police abstract that says you are guilty although you have a copy that says you are not. And as a climax you have to come to the police station to pay the ‘fine’ for your girlfriend who has been arrested for not wearing her belt in the matatu. Walking home she tells you that the police officer was suggesting other ways of lowering the fine when he took her to his office and proposed to remove your trousers. All cases are from real life and you pick up these stories daily fro the streets, from friends or I experience them myself. All cases have to do with a lack of trust or at least they contribute to trust in society. Trust from people in their governments, their police force and trust from people in their fellow citizen. For a lot of people on this continent it is daily reality. For me it explains a bit why people tend to behave selfish: if you don’t know who to trust, not even your own police force or government, then who could you? Then you are on your own. If people feel they are on their own and cannot have any influence on their circumstances, they will grab any one-minute of power where at least they can have the feeling they are in control of their live. In the West we have One Minute of Fame. In Africa a lot of people enjoy their One Minute of Power in those situations. Enjoy your day!
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Shelly Githonga is a Kenyan writer. Last year, her screenplay was selected from the catalog of the Kenyan Scriptwriters Guilt, to be produced. Days before the movies premieres, we talk to her. Who is the writer and what moves her to write about a serious subject as mental health?