Punctuality can be defined as the act of something happening or being arranged at the correct time. It is not being late in whatever you do. Cameroonians are notorious for being late in whatever they do or organise. The act of coming late to occassions and appointments is so rampant that it has become the norm. It is not uncommon to be invited to a birthday or marriage that is said to start at 1600 hours but that would actually start at 2200 hours. Cameroonians call this late coming , ” african time”.
I remember while still resident abroad, that i was invited to a wedding to be a witness. My friend from a south American country was getting married to a danish woman and i had to be at the mayor’s office at 1200 noon which was when the occassion was scheduled to begin. Being a Cameroonian with my “african time” in my head i suspected the occassion was going to start at 1400 hours.
To my utter surprise, when i called my friend at 1330 hours that i was on my way coming, my friend told me the occassion was already over and that they had already returned home. I wondered in disbelieve how this could be possible. Instead of going to the mayor’s office, i went to my friend’s home and found him and the wife preparing the reception hall. I then, understood, that i was in a different society where time is respected. This was a different society where being on time was the norm.
I have since made punctuality a habit in my daily routine. Not only when i go to church but wherever else i am invited, I go there in time in total disregard of the “african time” syndrome. I have come to realise that we can only change our society by doing things on time because time is money. What do you think about this? Are you punctual? Write your comments below.