The Fallacy of Excessive Bedrooms: A Reflection on African Home Building Practices

Following my recent post on a matter related to this, I have decided to write about the number of bedrooms some Africans go for when building a house.

Even if I was not a minimalist, I cannot still see any good reason why a person with a family size of 3 or 4 (wife and a child or two children) would build a 9-bedrooms house in African—leaving about 6 rooms empty all the time to be occupied, probably, by the ghosts of their ancestors.

Apart from the obvious wastage in having a 9 bedrooms family house that the rooms are never used by the family, the cost of maintenance is always a financial drain or another waste of resource. You wouldn’t go and buy 10 packs of Waakye in the morning and just eat 3 and throw away the 7–simply because you can afford. So why do the same with buildings?

I know someone who is building a 12 bedrooms house at Amasaman in Accra as his personal residence—and this has taken 9 years so far—he is still on it.

In the meantime, he is renting a small room in Holland—and he says he will one day leave to go to Ghana to live in his mansion.

Currently, the design of this mansion is even outdated—and he has at least 5 years more to complete based on the pace.

In 2018, a cousin of mine, 43 years, died in the USA from heart attack while asleep. It was 3 days after his death that he was found dead. He too was living in a small room, working 13 hours a day for 6 days and putting all his monies into building a 9 bedrooms house in Ghana.

When he died, his family (wife) sold the house—it was too big for them to even maintain if it was completed. This was not also completed.

It’s true that a lot of Africans based abroad build houses back home to create a certain impression of themselves or just to show off—and while doing so, they forget to live in the moments—thinking they will one day (when on pension or old) go and enjoy these houses.

How many people really live to enjoy anything beyond the pension age? At age 65 or 70, what would you be doing with a 12 bedrooms residential house? In fact, how are you going to climb the stairs at that age?

While we must plan for the future, we must do so prudently and with the wisdom that today is all we really have—the future is a probability. Don’t grossly neglect your now because of a probability, tomorrow.

Invest in your future but do so while living a meaningful and balanced life today.

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