And so there you are, squealing at the sight of a slithering snake and yelling a frightened “Help!” Transfixed with fear, you can only pray that somebody comes to your rescue by crushing its head. If only you knew that you owe your very existence to that consanguineous serpent! And that it is the confirmation that Olduvai Gorge is the cradle of woman/man, meaning that the haughty aid-doling powers of the North are the progeny of our begetter, villager of the African ridges. Somebody better tell them: they owe us more than the cost of enslavement and colonialism. Uti how? “Creative destruction”, that’s how. The other day, in the ‘Nature Communications’ journal, scientists revealed that snakes, those you know and those you don’t, trace their lineage back “to a few surviving species that emerged from the dust of the asteroid that devastated Earth 66 million years ago”. Those many years ago, the asteroid hit Earth and created the massive Chicxulub crater. The impact produced dust that covered the whole earth such that hardly any other species survived. And, indeed, I remember reading about this crater in my secondary school studies, in the 1970s. It is an impact crater said to be buried underneath the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico and the asteroid that formed it was so big that it measured 10 kilometres in diameter. So, all ye creatures of the Good Lord who sprang from Adam and Eve after they’d sinned, partaking of the forbidden fruit, thank your stars, or your asteroid, for your regeneration into new saintly souls after that ‘big bang’. For, as the scientists assure us, only snakes survived that asteroid impact and the killer dust it enveloped the world in. Snakes, for their ability to burrow into the ground and go for long periods without food, going about their business in the dark, managed to wait out the dust and evade mass extinction before venturing abroad. I can imagine heavy rains washing off the dust and the resultant clean atmosphere that’d be the Heaven environmentalists always dream of. Well, that time only snakes could savour the bliss. As the scientists assure us, what happened after the asteroid fall is known as “creative destruction”. When that destruction happens, it “spurs creativity in evolution”. From there, snakes freely roamed the earth as no other being imposed any obstruction to them. Then they began to multiply and also diversify into masses of other types of snakes as we see them today. However, “creative destruction” doesn’t end there. When things are reset, life begets life and evolution goes off “in strange new directions, producing odd things like human beings[!],” say the scientists. That’s how evolution went in different directions until it reached Olduvai Gorge. Whereupon, lo and behold! Your ancestors embarked on the ‘industry’ of evolution. And from there sprang other reptiles, mammals, amphibians, fish and birds. Which, together with forests, lakes, rivers, etc., unfortunately, man/woman is in a violent effort to eat, drink or pollute out of existence again through environmental degradation. But before we get there, how are we kindred to these innocent but maligned reptiles? Particularly here in Rwanda, you may recall a patchwork of divisionism that slandered other governments by calling itself one. The regime’s vision for its future was to wipe out a section of its citizens, sometimes calling them crushable “snakes”, other times insignificant “cockroaches”. From 1959 to 1993, it was hard at work and in 1994 embarked on totally burying these innocents. The regime well-nigh succeeded but what it hadn’t bargained for was that “we were seeds”, in the words of the sage of our time. Indeed, those innocents proved to be the ultimate survivors of the era as they have seemed to enter what we could as well call “creative evolution”. From the Genocide against the Tutsi to today when Rwanda is seen as an exemplar in many fields for many countries, not only in Africa but also on the globe, we wouldn’t be far from the mark calling the process a ‘from “creative destruction” to “creative evolution” turnaround’. A “turnaround” with a difference. The difference being that this country will do all in her power to halt climate change and push against any man/woman “eating”, “drinking” or “polluting” our biodiversity dead. The sanctity of environmental protection will always be upheld. So, all ye humans, don’t fear or hate the simple slithering serpent, the ultimate survivor whose journey we here in Rwanda mutually identify with. It’s part of the reptiles, amphibians, fish, mammals, lakes, rivers, swamps, valleys, mountains and others that sustain our biodiversity. Our duty as conscious humans is to protect them lest we are sent spinning into “sterile destruction”. For that’s sure to happen when the next ‘big bang’ finds emaciated species on bare, parched land. Otherwise, three cheers to our snakes for surviving the asteroid ‘bang’! As per these scientists, it’s thanks to them that we all, as living ‘things’, are here to live in harmony with this, our earth.