Entry 16 – Struggles of a 21st Century Nigerian Youth

It is 2018, and I am the future. I am here to lead and I am certainly not too young to run. Alas! It is but a dream, a nightmare if you would. I am a leader with no tribe. I am a leader with no power. I am a youth. I have been sold a dream. I bought into the idea of an egalitarian society but I’m jolted to reality with words that say “I am the leader of tomorrow”, backed by actions that shout, “don’t hope too much, don’t dream too high, fight for me and I’ll give you rice”. Like flies around a carcass, we are surrounded by vices. We have been ensnared by the deceitful, yet sweet lies and distraction. A youth today is seen as just another fraudster, just another “g-boy”, and everyone carries on casually. We resort to distractions. We seek solace in music, but it is depressing, and the music videos are unwatchable. It’s a morbid distraction and there is a lot of wrong that needs fixing, yet the only fix we seem to get is a cocktail of meaningless drug fuelled lyrics and lewd images. How about you grow your mind? How about books then? It would be nice to read those, but it’s hard to grow here surrounded by many vices.

Social media should be a tool, but that’s all I seem to spend my time on. I have become a slave to this tool. A cog in the wheel, just another statistic in someone’s data analytics. I haven’t made many healthy connections, and I am constantly comparing my journey to the snapshots of others. And just when I seem to be making progress, I scroll through my feed to find a fellow youth in a fancy Mercedes. What is the point anyway? Why do I try so hard? And with that I sink into another episode of depression.

My friend just got back from rehab. It’s his third time this year. He pushed himself too hard and started abusing drugs. From cough syrup to marijuana, and now the occasional cocaine. Even worse, he adopted more vices in order to feed these vices. It’s a vicious cycle of depression drugs and soberness. His parents are constantly wearing faces that scream disappointment. Their bright star has fallen. It’s almost painful to watch. I’m not much better anyway. I’m on the verge of a nervous breakdown. All this pressure from within and without leaves me in a constant state of anxiety and depression. I don’t delight in my wins, because sure enough there’s an instagram picture to remind me of how horrible my life is. Our image of success is tainted. We’re torn between making money and getting an education. There don’t seem to be enough jobs, and they say “anybody can blow”, so we don’t even try anymore. The word around town is “if we don’t make money wetin we gain”, like that’s all there is to living. Surely there must be more to life.

 

This article was written by Rodney Sowunmi; connect with him on Instagram here

Post Comment