It’s 6.20 pm this Saturday afternoon and I am sitting at the Amahoro Stadium waiting for an event I have come to attend to begin. Much as I love the good music being played and the festive atmosphere at this moment , I never thought that I will sit just like this for more than two hours without any hint that the cultural event is about to start.
I have been here since 4.00 pm in the afternoon as stipulated on the program for the opening ceremony of this FESPAD event. For those who do not know FESPAD this is the Pan-African Dancing Festival that is organized every two years in Rwanda.
It attracts many cultural groups from different parts of the world. This edition has more than eleven countries participating and many international media covering it.
For the past two hours, all we have seen are people still testing their microphones and setting up the place. There have been some young people wearing green sitting on the floor and in the sun for the last two hours waiting also for the event to kick off.
But thinking again about this, I wonder why events such as these never start on time. Well, if you are a frequent reader of this column, you surely know by now that your columnist has issues about people not respecting time. Time is so precious that I hate to have to waste it.
Friends keep on telling me to “relax” because we are in Africa but I must admit that I can’t get used to this idea.
Someone jokingly also told me that Africans wear the most expensive and branded watches yet they fail to look at the time. And this is true.
This issue of time respect is a serious one that affects all areas of our lives. Most public meetings, workshops, seminars, weddings, receptions, and even government conferences start late. It has become a common practice to never start on time and the unfortunate part of it is that this seems to be accepted by everyone.
In one of these big meetings last time, the MC kept on saying that they were waiting for the Guest of honor to show up. In some other cases; it is when people are already seated that the stage or the room are being fixed and decorated.
By the way, I always wonder why the technical aspects of events are not taken care of a day prior to these events. In this stadium now, there is this person who has been saying for the past thirty minutes “one, two, mic testing”.
If he knew he needed to test the microphones, why couldn’t he do that before guests arrive?
Dear reader, I am begging you in the name of God to consider the time of the people you have invited. Do make sure that you plan things ahead of time so as to avoid doing things at the last minute. Also, when you are invited, please try to respect the time so that people who come on time will not be punished by waiting for you.
Well; it’s now 6.50 PM and nothing has still started. I am thirsty and there is nowhere one can buy water. The excitement for this event is gradually fading away.
Customer service requires that even cultural events starts on time. Customer service is also the preparedness in organising all events may they be business, cultural or social. It is simply the respect we show to people we have invited to our events.
The author is a customer service consultant working in Rwanda and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org