At the beginning of the year I gave myself a new challenge – to read at least 20 books through the year. I know Sam Potollichio advised us to read three books a week, or did he say three a day… well, maybe in the next challenge after I get the hang of always reading. With no particular types or genre of books in mind, I resolved to read, any book, as long as at any given opportunity I’d be glued to a text of some sort.

I posted about this venture on social media and received recommendations by so many people and ended up with more more than 40 book titles to choose from. So I set on a journey into literature. As I write, I am about to conclude book choice number 7 and I must say I am well on course and totally loving the journey thus far.

Among the 7 books I have read two were penned by one author – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, entitled “Americanah,” and “Purple Hibiscus.” Having read ‘Things Fall Apart,’ by Chinua Achebe some years ago I had not come across any other African write who could capture my imagination the way he did. Well, Chimamanda did just that and while I felt Americanah had a variety of themes as compared to Purple Hibiscus, I felt I’d do a short literature review of the latter.

Set in Nigeria, the story is told through the eyes of a 15 year old girl, who lives with her rich parents and older brother. The family is Christian by religion with extreme Catholicism being practiced by the father who almost single handedly funds the church, sits in the front row in church taking note of who is doing what during Mass so as to report to the parish priest who he visits every single Sunday. He says such lengthy prayers before meals, and also praying for all who do not go to church, like his father, labeling them as heathens who will burn in eternal fire.

However, the same man is physically abusive to his family, beating his wife on several occasions until¬† she can no longer count the number or times she miscarries or spends nights in hospital due to injuries sustained.The story takes a twist when the siblings visit their aunt, the first time for them to leave their home without their parents. It is at their aunt’s home that they discover a whole new world of prayer coupled with happiness, fun and laughter, which their father had dismissed as the work of sinners. In essence the father taught his children to live in fear of him rather than for the love of God. He failed to teach them what love really was or better still what joy meant.

Many times in the world we have seen people being consumed in religion and becoming victims of what they believe in instead of going back to ask why they believe what they actually believe. It is not only limited to religion but even in everyday life and especially in ventures that we lead, such as organizations. In the beginning it is a great feeling to be able to fulfill one’s passion and work tirelessly towards desired results. However, along the way the passion and the why degenerates into what and ultimately the purpose is lost.

I believe employees are even abused when their employers lose sight of the ‘why’ of the organization and instead become focused on the ‘what.’ May we never become victims of our beliefs and cause the unhappiness and discomfort of those around us, but to remain focused on why we are actually doing what we are doing, lest we be the ones to ‘burn in hell.”

 

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