“Long live the rose that grew from concrete when no one else even cared.” Tupac Shakur.

Though the life of every man and woman be coloured with uncertainty, the life of a Nigerian youth is steeped in it. You try to take nature out of the equation and all you are left with is a dysfunctional system riddled with landmines out to blow you up if you take the wrong step. It is no wonder people turn to the spiritual for answers. Life then becomes a game of chance. Every morning when you wake up, you roll your dice and hope the numbers are in your favour.

The land is fertile. It is ready to receive your seeds but the “power that be” decides to scatter the seeds on concrete only planting their precious ones on fertile soil. We are left to struggle and compete. We take advantage of any crack that appears in the concrete and grow. You pass your SSCE with distinction but you struggle to get into the university; only those connected to the “higher ups” get admitted even if they had worse result than you. When you finally get admitted after years of staying at home, ASUU decides to go on strike. A four year course becomes five or more. Frustrated and tired from school struggles you finally graduate but even you know that employment opportunity is slim. You studied petroleum and gas engineering but your country leaves the extraction of its crude oil to foreigners and imports petroleum products leaving its refineries redundant. You wake up every day knowing you are not first choice. So, you have to learn a trade because even your minister of education tells you on national television that, ‘whether you study medicine or law, you will still end up as a hairdresser or tailor.’

We are all roses growing in concrete. Our lifestyle is to struggle to survive where others thrive. We are kicked, battered and bruised without apology. We water ourselves with social media. We live through the eyes of others; through the picture we see of them on Instagram. It gives us something to yearn for. We remonstrate on Twitter hoping our grievances would be heard but hide behind anonymous usernames. We attend art shows and look a million bucks to remind ourselves we are roses but when we are back home, our empty account reminds us of the concrete we are growing from.

Quoting the late rapper TuPac, “we wouldn’t ask why a rose that grew from concrete has damaged petals. We would all celebrate its tenacity. We would all love its will to reach the sun. We are the roses, this is the concrete and these are my damaged petals…long live the rose that grew from concrete when no one else even cared.”

We are roses growing in concrete and we are going to survive; even if the future seems bleak and we look behind hoping the past don’t get us.

This article was written by Modupe Apoeso; connect with her on IG here

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