Friday, 12 October 2012

Generation Y Africa

I remember growing up in Nigeria, there was not one thing I didn't think I would be able to do, I was ready to conquer the world, not like Adolf Hitler as history suggests but more in a way that I could be a leader in whatever field I choose. I was a smart kid, I still am a smart kid ;) but the courage I had back then had no boundaries. Nigeria was a country, not a continent, I was stack sure that other people from everywhere else knew a country existed called Nigeria, albeit a third world country, but not a place of resentment, spite and dupes. I was already a teenager when I left the shores. In the last 10 years, I have lived in three different continents, Asia, Europe and America, Nigeria makes it the fourth one. I have been well immersed into different cultures and if I have the chance I won't stop until I see the rest of the world. One of the first things I noticed was the way Nigeria is portrayed in the media outside of Nigeria. Within the country, we all watch the wishy-washy NTA news 9pm at night and never wonder if all the things that come up on TV as news ever reach the outside world. No it doesn't, if it does, it rarely does with a limited view and that's only for people who have African channel subscriptions on SKY, who care enough to tune HITV instead of Eastenders or Hollyoaks in the UK or TelAFric TV in America and Canada. In Asia, I do not know of any of such cable networks. That answers the question of who tells our story to the outside world, we do not tell our own stories to the world. CNN, BBC and AlJazeera does. And do they really care enough to exhibit our day - to day lives? Kid yourselves not, they care more about catastrophes and Boko Haram bombings, about removal of fuel subsidy and the protests, they are interested in stories of oil prices. Well, you would already know that bad news is news anyway. There is hardly news in good occurrences except occasional heroic incidents.

According to the 2008 American Community Survey, an ongoing statistical sample survey conducted by U.S. Census Bureau, more than 200,000 Nigerian-born residents live in the U.S. Wikipedia puts that figure at 266,204. The Office for National Statistics put the figure of Nigerian-born people resident in the UK at 174,000 in 2011. 20 million people of Nigerian descent are estimated to reside outside Nigeria. Let's just say millions of other people like me are scattered around the world. The world has come to a point where everyone is expressive of their views. The highlight of this generation is not being the smartest human generation, not homosexuality and sexual perversions, not being good or bad or worse than previous generations. Correct me if I'm wrong but it's not even in terms of moral degradation, there are still good people in our generation, but we above people before us are more expressive of who we are and do not care what anyone thinks about us. All or most of the things we experience in our generation have always been in existence, but we are a generation that is more expressive. We have views and opinions about everything and we are ready to let it out. We do not just conform, we are able to speak up at the right time and not let anyone put us down. We recognize the power of human rights and we make use of it. I think the problem with Nigerians in this age is having little or no opinion about who they really are which makes us less expressive about 'Africa'. Notice I said about 'Africa' because a lot of us are smart about everything else. We know world history, we know world war stories, but we do not know about our own civil war stories and African history.

In our history lies values, values that make us who we truly are deep on the inside. Values that we can hold on to and not allow anybody take away from us, values that could form the basis of our own opinion. A lot of Nigerians overseas need to go back home and experience Africa. I have cousins in their late twenties who have never been back home. They have been everywhere else in the world but not to their own home. African parents could take their kids on holidays to Jamaica or Puerto Rico, but shy away from Motherland. However bad it is, we all need to experience Africa. Why do we always have to dress like other people, talk like other people, embrace the culture of other people and forget that there is so much good within us. I see a generation fading away, youth that have no clue about their own language and are not proud of it. You find most Asians raised anywhere in the world and they are still able to speak their own language. I love how Myne Whitman is able to tell African stories to the world and you see everyone wanting to read and experience it saying they have never encountered an African romance novel before. It simply means that a lot of good things exist but if not well communicated, nobody would have an idea of it's existence. Three years ago, we all saw Chimamanda Adichie on TED talk. That is an example of being expressive about who we truly are. It also explains the popularity of Afrobeats in recent times, even though it has always been there, expressing it to the world will make everyone aware of it. We need to express Africa of this generation, that is the one gift we have as young people. Go back and know your home, go back, know your roots. This post couldn't be shorter but I hope it drives home the point.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Lost at the golden gate

The day turns dark, bleak. All you can see now is no end in sight. There's a black tunnel a stream of black colored water flowing down, paints you a picture of oil so crude. Thunder shatters, frightens and goose pimples, shivers of the cold night, even a thick jacket can feel this, warm on the inside but wet on the outside. Lonely jungle quiet habitation. The road is clumsy, sloppy down a path of narrow breeze. And there are hills all around you, slopes and hills, rivers on the side, prison in the middle of the water. Iconic bridge giant in front of you, like a pave-way to millions on a daily path. It reminds you of several deaths to make the million pass through, a chain of lost souls, holding hands to thread a path for millions coming after them. The gates are locked, the dungeons are empty, the abode is ancient, it holds lots history. Caves are carved above you like a door entrance in its natural form. The bush is scary, wet puddles all around you. You want to run and scream, but all you have left in your lungs won't take you a rather long time, you are exhausted. Its a twisted feeling, amidst being lost, helpless and freedom. How can freedom be found in a solitary mountain? Whistles of the nights start to blow, the song it brings to mind 'May it be' - Enya. Sounds can reach even solitary places where words are absent.

p.s: video credit:
photo credit:

Monday, 1 October 2012

Proudly Nigerian

Within a lot of us
There is a lot of flaws
False evidence appearing real
Fear of nothing within us
Coming from a humble crib
We grew to be rather blessed
Luxury of life blew a soulful wind
Looking dapper fresh today
We clean cut and swagged out
We got the right definition of car key
And that gives us the right to be cocky?
Remember the green where home is
A good combination of metaphor
Since I met her before
Its both good and bad
A trendy and worrying place
I found solace in the darkness
A right to know where my soul is
It's the hope that made me strong
She is a true friend and hero
I would not trade her for lust
But now a lot of us
In spite of all our falls
We try to cover up our source
Forgetting it's what made us strong
Let us embrace our flaws
And form one mighty force
It shows us who we are
And cast all our fears away.
Happy Independence Nigeria.