As a writer, I am condemned to a life of observing. As I move around…walk, drive, interact with my environment and people, I take all I can in. I am inspired by the things I see every day – the waste collector who sits on the pile of garbage from different homes without covering or turning up his nose. The gala and pure water sellers who can give Usain Bolt a run for his money when they chase after cars in a bid to make a sale. The traffic warden who stands under the scorching sun for hours to ensure free flow of traffic for a paltry salary at the end of the month, and the conductor who shouts himself hoarse as he “hustles” passengers for his bus.
It’s at the top of our prayer point list – Failure be gone! Nobody wants to be associated with failure. A word that is synonymous for everything bad, everything that spells defeat and rejection and an inability to succeed. No one likes to fail. I certainly don’t. However, I strongly believe that failure can prove to be an ally contrary to what we think.
She had gradually become a regular face in that social space. A convivial setting where old members were expected to be friendly with new ones. On this day I had walked up to her, introduced myself and asked for her name. “Just call me Mummy Ade she replied with something between a sheepish smile and a chuckle.” I was tempted to ask her if Mummy Ade was her real name, the name her parents had given her when she was born, but I held back. I returned her smile and nodded in acknowledgement of her preferred nomenclature.
As a kid, there were not too many entertaining moments that beat the time spent watching a James Bond movie in the company of my siblings, particularly one played by Roger Moore. It was a staple of our developmental years. Not much different from us eating a meal of rice every other day or playing a game of hide and seek.
“Yoruba men are demons”
“Short people have an inferiority complex”
“Feminists don’t make good wives”
“Ijebu people are stingy”
“Northerners are dirty”
“Whites hate Blacks”
…and now “Men are scum/trash”
All of the above statements are only a few of the popular generalizations many of us are familiar with. They probably started as a product of one person’s personal experience(s), but have somehow gained traction and have now sadly become a fundamental part of our thinking. They are stereotypes which like many other fixed notions discourage an independent assessment of a situation.
Over the last couple of months, the #MenAreScum has become a regular hashtag on the streets of Twitter. It started as some sort of curious joke – A typical social media reaction to the endless tales of how men continue to “play” and mistreat women especially in romantic relationships. However, things escalated quickly, and what started as a joke has morphed into a man hating campaign.
The year was 2015. The date was 31st of August. I had traveled to the United Kingdom to spend my vacation and had just one day left before I was due back in Nigeria. So when a friend offered to take me to see the annual Notting Hill carnival, I was excited as I figured it would most likely be the highlight of my holiday. I had heard about the carnival, and watched it a couple of times on TV, so I was quite enthusiastic about finally being able to experience it firsthand. We set out, and two trains later we were joined by four of his other friends, consisting of three guys and a lady.
Familiarity breeds contempt. We tend to despise and underrate that which is readily available to us. This is the summary of the history of new world heavy weight champion Anthony Joshua with Nigeria, his parent’s country of birth. Since the young man gained more prominence following his latest and biggest title win yet, after defeating Ukranian, Vladimir Klistchko, there has been some debate about his country of origin, and who really has the right to claim him. It is befuddling and amusing, as one would have assumed the answer was a no-brainer. Joshua is British born. He is a citizen of Britain, and represents the country every time he steps into the ring. But how did this needless debate even come about in the first place?
I was watching the clip of the interview of a young lady who was responding to the unfortunate electrocution and subsequent death of 30 young men who had gone to see the Europa League Quarter Final match between Manchester United and Anderlecht at a viewing center in Calabar. A high tension electricity cable had fallen on the roof of the building, and sadly many of the football faithfuls lost their lost lives before they could be rushed to the hospital due to the lack of first aid treatment and equipment that could forestall or at least reduce such fatality. But that’s a topic for another day.
It is stale gist that the most attractive and lucrative career in this part of the world right now is the whistle-blowing profession. Since the government at the center made the whistle-blowing policy that would see anyone who has authentic information regarding where stolen monies are hidden receive 5 percent of the recovered sum last December, there has been an increasing number of discoveries of unbelievable amounts of looted cash by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
“How rewarding has writing been for you?” he asked. “Do you make money from blogging?” She wanted to know. These are the sort of questions I get fairly regularly. While the perception of what a typical career should look like is changing in this part of the world, there’s still a significant level of cynicism about certain vocations and how lucrative they are or aren’t. Writing falls in the category of such professions.