Let your eyes caress these words carefully as I paint on a tattered canvas called EDUCATION.

The African child is underprivileged.’ This is not a hypothesis. Its generational phenomenon is theorized by the excessive presence of being without and the compulsive need to impress.

People to impress:

  1. Himself/herself
  2. His ideologies
  3. Whoever puts food on his table during dependency.

Seeping through life like a pulsating blood flow is relative. We are raised with literal iron rods and flexible animal hide kissing our juvenile skin when we are still malleable, void and obscure about the world.

The form we possess makes us brittle fledglings reveling in the dogma of unilateral existence and reasoning. There was a motive to be taught – everything ranging from manners, respect, obedience and reaction to your name being called.

These were the tenets of absolute parenthood with constant echoing of the ‘charity begins at home’ mantra. Custom pushes us to churches, mosques and later primary school to complete the never-wavering cycle of seemingly ‘cultured’ kids who have been forced to learn the acceptable norms of the utopia which the society projects.

‘For education is not absolute but only a stepping stone.’

The fervid desire coerce the society into validating education, not as a cameo, but as a pertinent spoke in the cycling wheel of relevance which has left many turning to degrees or titles instead of value, morals and purpose.

The society has channeled the fine irregularities of education and sieved only degree and self-appraisal as resolute. My father said ‘As long as you’re in my house, you must play by my rules and prove yourself’. These words keep clawing at my purpose leaving a void large enough for a love-child of doubt and fear to creep in. ‘What will become of me if I fail?

Education has been our only escape as a people because we need to prove ‘everybody’ wrong – foreigners too. The self-admiration for the medal on your chest, while your house goes up in flames. Don’t get me wrong! Religion and forced morals is not the enemy.

Our foe is simply a lack of innovation and appreciation for ourselves and our struggle as a people. The society throws stones at those who failed at school. A younger generation witnessing the rot from within has valued moves to societies built with sweat, commitment and sacrifice. These morals are a sham and they only ever preach respect – not love, selflessness or service.

Intelligence should not (not ever) be confused with innovation. Education is different from progression. In truth, they should be in the same mental pond to birth ideas suited to the realization of Africanism.

It’s a shame that with so much education, we do not seem educated. A people may only be as good as its leader. We have shown that we are more prone to being swayed than taking a stand for ourselves.

We may be only alumni of great varsities in several countries but beyond that no end product. We splatter the ink without precision in judgment and consideration of expansion – grave mistakes of a growing population.

This stagnancy has plunged us deeper into the wanton depths of binge eating and textile swank while other youths break new grounds on artificial intelligence and electric cars. We talk of Jollof rice and they talk of robotics and ongoing research on Ebola – a disease endemic in our home, Africa.

The African child has been taught to fold his inabilities, lay them across his chest and may think: ‘It’s not my fault. Even my predecessors lived with this problem.’ Individuality is the concept that breeds the duality of underachievement and stagnation.

The will to ‘succeed for one’s self and the immediate family’ breaks us apart like wind in the forest. We lose the pollen (dreams) in the process and see no need for collective goals because ‘we were not shaped by the society, so what are we supposed to give back?’ Besides, collective goals are harder to mine.

Oh Dear African child…

You were born underprivileged, poked in the chest and slapped in the face. You saw standard systems crumble – governments, offshore accounts, taxes, finances. You watched your crestfallen fathers cry themselves to sleep in the basement because his salary has not been paid.

You’ve seen leaders sharing stale rice at polling booths in exchange for four years of suffering, treachery and corruption. You’ve caught the flu, almost died from malaria. You’ve seen talents buried in the grave and the wildest dreams caged by survival, sacrifice and a premeditated (albeit forceful) purpose.

You’ve been forced to stop school at some point so your siblings can continue. People, systems, governments have failed you and poked at your balloons mid-air but these burns don’t heal quickly. A renewed mind can set the tone for a new course of progress. ‘Nothing easy will be handed to us if our hands are weak from idleness or brains dead to ingenuity.’

Expectation impedes the struggle but motivation fuels the drive. The weight of societal expectation creates sinkholes laced with mines that would blow you up and swallow you whole. Nobody owes you anything. Your society needs to be done right by you. Build the change you want to see.

Earthly thrones need new kings. Become it.

Biola Olanrewaju


© All rights reserved. Dec. 2017.

TARKAA, Moses Kator

Writer and Student of Law, Benue State University.

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