Gerd Meuer mit Nobelpreisträger Wole Soyinka
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Mr. Froehlich is NOT amused


           In my four years in Houston, Texas, Wole came to visit once when he had a secret political meeting there with Tony Enahoro (better known as ‘Fugitive Offender’ in the early sixties) in his stubborn fight against the Abacha regime. I arrange an intimate dinner with just four friends, and in the course of the dinner conversation we somehow come to talk about ‘our’ Yoruba deities, ‘one for each imaginable purpose’.

As chance wills it, next day I have to call my computer repairman, one Mr. Froehlich (which in German literally means happy, good-humoured!). This being Texas (where at the time the governor was one George W. Bush), Mr. Froehlich starts pestering me – and this for the umpteenth time – about whether ‘I am born again?” I tell him truthfully that there is absolutely no need for this, recounting the conversation from the evening before and Wole’s crowd of Yoruba deities:

“You see, John: we Yorubas have 201 deities, and if someone comes along and tells me that his own deity is Christ or Allah or Jahwe, we simply add them up to our conclave, make them deity Nr. 202, 203 and 204. They thus join our happy family of deities.”

John immediately goes red in the face:

”Those must all be Satans. And this being so: from now on I shall never ever set foot in your house again! And when you bring your computer to my house, ring me before and deposit it far from my house on the lawn!”

We parted company then, and from then on my computer was taken care of by a Texan German of Lebanese origin, who had no problem whatsoever with ‘my’
201 deities.