Wait a minute Mr. Postman!

I am a child of the Eighties, which means that I was around before the internet was the big deal that it is today and my first rudimentary strokes on a keyboard where on a typewriter. To this day I still hit the keys a bit harder than I should.

I am a child of the Eighties, which means that I was around before the internet was the big deal that it is today and my first rudimentary strokes on a keyboard where on a typewriter. To this day I still hit the keys a bit harder than I should.

Such is the pace of electronic technology in the last 20 years that it is more than likely a good number of readers have never heard of word perfect or lotus or MS-DOS, all of which were programmes in common usage at some point.

There are more than a few internet users who have never heard of Netscape or have never used an internet connection that started with a piercing whistle and a series of videogame beeps.

My intention is not to go down a trip of nostalgia [at a risk of betrayal to my decade, the eighties were a fashion disaster. The perm and the ‘wet look’? No thank you]. TVR does that all on its own with some of the shows its broadcasts.

Most progress is good progress although there will always be a few evil geniuses that find a way to create a few disadvantages for every invention and innovation.

This is to ne expected as its part of human nature, there will never be a time when there is no crime or conflict of some sort despite the best efforts of the idealists at the UN.

That said, the death of penmanship is still something to lament about. These days, even writing out a cheque has become a challenging affair with the handwriting going all spidery to be completed by a wavering signature.

Once upon a time, bad handwriting would fetch you a few solid raps on the fingers, the irony of that punishment having escaped our analog instructors. For all the convenience and speed of the typed word, it lacks the intimacy and character of the hand written one.

These were some of the thoughts that went through my mind as I read a story about how the Kigali City Council intended to lease the land that formerly held the post office to willing investors.

The email and courier services turned the postal system into little more than a hobby for those with a sentimental attachment to them.

A postal box number is something that a form from officialdom may ask for but will never use to contact you. Even banks have stopped sending client account statements there.

The Post Office has lost much of its former relevance so when there is no surprise in the City Council’s decision.

However, while my mind knows the city council is right, there is a bit of me that finds it offensive to relegate the national post office headquarters to a narrow corridor with one teller in the former ministry of health building.

At the previous site in Kacyiru, while the post office looked under-utilised, it still looked and felt like a post office.

The current version feels like the inside of one of those upcountry bus ticket offices, all gloom and confined spaces [small wonder, bus companies are also about to receive orders to quit their current premises].

It’s not a good look. Additionally, while leasing the land to an investor is a good idea from most perspectives, the article alluded to the fact that the Council was still looking for one.

I think the demolition and eviction of the Post Office could have been delayed, there’s a whole lot of empty space in the area formerly known as ‘poor’ Kiyovu, and while it may not bring in the large revenues that a large investor would, there are not many established cities that don’t have respectable facilities for the post office. It may be an anachronism but it’s also a reference point.

okabatende@gmail.com

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