“My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh my friends-
It gives a lovely light”.
EDNA ST. VINCENT MILLAY
(“first fig” A few figs from thistles)
Change is hard but it happens. What is even harder to believe is that it has happened and adapt accordingly. If you’ve spent some time with any history book, you’d agree with me how things and people can change, and dramatically so. While you might have been stylish and ‘happening’ in the 70’s if you had worn an afro wig and a pair of palazzo trousers, that depression of style will only be called upon only if it’s old school day, a costume party or for some puzzling reason you just want to look awkward. No doubt, every jot of advancement comes with a price. Sometimes it is dumping your sentimental first love Nokia 5310 for a more recent and progressive Tecno Phantom 9, at other times it is debunking a safe but backward idea for a more progressive one. Any way you look at it, progress ousts degeneration and it comes at a price.
Now, society seems to have accepted the consequences that have ensued as a result of the evolution of everything else, except my generation’s. They say we are in a hurry. They say we are too lazy, that in their days they walked several miles without breaking sweat, but they somehow forget to add that in their time too, there was little access to any means of transportation or at the least they couldn’t afford it. I know what has been said about me and my generation; how we do only Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat but never read. Our sickening spread of get quick rich syndrome and our distressful dexterity to cheat our way through anything. Our boys’ pitiable tendency to embrace low-waist like a religion and the ease with which girls adorn Zara and leave nothing to the imagination, and the many other woes that has been preached about us. Some would have even blamed us for the missing moon.
Trust me, I’m not here to change your mind. I’m only here to save you from this partisan discourse about my generation. There’s another side to our coin. The side they hold back or mutilate when they sell their incomplete story.
I don’t particularly subscribe to the blame ludo; it cuts a swath through progress. But in your next nah-this-generation-be-the-problem conversation, do me a favour and ask these questions: whose generation were the headmasters and parents who suggested malpractice to my generation as early as Primary 6 with the hypocritical excuses? Whose generation are those police who for no justifiable reason, embarrassed my friends sometime last month who because of their style, were suspected to be cyber fraudsters? Which generation raised our generation? I could go on and on, but this isn’t a questionnaire. Charley, my friend will always say, “our fathers have failed!” Well, maybe not all, but most. Oh dear blame-blinded older generation, if you’re to feel anything towards us, it should not be disgust (no right!), but enormous shame because we inherited much rot from you.
Let me be the one to tell you the truth, my generation frightens them. We scare every lily-livered one of them who for the lazy excuse of normality subscribes to the old grip of conventionalism. Our courage has grown fat, even our silences now have sound. They can’t just phantom how we are no longer loyal to their fogeyish script and that’s why they call us stubborn. We are always on the lookout for the fastest and easiest way to do things, so they call us lazy. We like to experiment, hence the many mistakes we leave in our wake, so they call us oversabi. We simply understand that lizards don’t do well in swimming and fishes don’t climb trees; so we don’t go buying the same box for everyone.
I know my generation; we may be many things, but not perfect. We try. We’ve evolved and we are not sorry.
Osamu Ekhator is a farmer and he writes. He’s @samuhub on social media