DIRE STRAIGHTS

by Marian Mazi

Photo: ©PUBLIKACCESSNETWORK.COM

Photo: ©PUBLIKACCESSNETWORK.COM

Welcome to the land of Wastaki*! Where none of your dreams come true.. Sad… but a reality all the same. At this moment, I would like you to imagine throwing out of the window, everything that you have ever believed about growing up. Gone are the sweet old days where there was a formula for success... Steps which you had to follow if, you wanted to be a successful somebody. Go to school! This is what they told us.. this is what we believed.. this is what we saw and indeed this is what we did… and put all our hopes in this seemingly no-fail formula… Alas!! Things changed and unfortunately we did not get the memo. So… Welcome to your new reality, you sad graduate!

So what’s next? This is a question you may be asking yourself, or worse still.. this is the question that you encounter everyday… It is at the tip of everybody’s tongue.. if only they knew.. that with every reference to your elusive future, they deliver a slap so hard, it makes the mind reel. Nothing is set in stone! Who told you that just because you went to university (several times) you would find employment? Did you not know that there is a new law in the land? One that favours entitlement, and sadly if you are not of that blood line (whichever one you may wish to imagine) there is nothing for you here.

In my experience,forsakinga brighter future in a foreign land has turned out to be one rueful mistake. Myself said to me, what on earth could you possibly gain here? In this land without your ancestors? Go back to the land of your forebears, there you will find riches! Such promise I carried then.. also dreaming obtaining one A2 farm to till the land and set myself free from economic bondage. Elusive. Nobody told me I had to know somebody for that to happen. So here I am, bastardised in my own country. Where do I go now? 

Those of us who stayed here, must embrace our cowardice.. Too afraid we were to face the unknown… too naïve to see that if change will come it will be way past our time. The plight of the Wastakia youth will remain so.. soon this land will echo with the sounds that one can only find on the streets of Lagos. Degreed airtime vendors.. Articled clerks…PhD taxi drivers. The struggle for survival. If you are in Wastakia you will know exactly what I am referring to, the all too familiar streets looming with people desperate to make a dollar. Vegetable vendors who are actually drug pedlars at every corner, not caring what age they sell to.. all in a universal search for the green back. Those who know Wastakians well will tell you that this proud people used to be the friendliest group of citizens you could ever hope to find. Now?? You are lucky if after an encounter with one, you are left with all your belongings, and a smile, or even nonchalance. Our evolution, our struggle, has morphed us into a nation of Wastakians, that is to say, a nation of selfish bastards (you do not want to know the word I had in mind here), it is now rare and even a tad worrisome to meet a nice Wastakian (one without a very dark ulterior motive). What can be done to save Wastakia?

Innovation remains the key young person. If you are in college in Wastakia, studying for your undergraduate, masters, or PhD, you better be willing and ready to think outside the box. The world is fast paced.. and the kind of dynamism we are experiencing calls for superior solutions. Do not stand by or sit and wallow in your misery.. Find yourself and when you do.. make yourself such a unique entity there will be none to replace you. Dream bigger.. do not confine your dreams to the formulae of yesteryear for that does not work anymore. Wake up. Make your own means! Clearly nobody else will!!! 

*Wastaki is a street lingo term from Zimbabwe. It can loosely mean 'all hell break loose"