Have you ever asked yourself why you do things the way you do? or subconsciously you just do them? Let’s take the example of religion. Do you go to church or the mosque because you want to go or do you go because you grew up going to the madrasa? Do you have a personal relationship with God? do you read the bible? well, that’s food for thought.
Most of us do things without ever having an “I” imprint in them, following blindly. We go to work (because we have to pay bills), have to get kids, and married by a certain age (because that’s how my parents and uncles told me). Without ever truly being ourselves. There is always a driving force that is behind us. Not disputing guidance but then, if you rely on others to be you, then at what point do you express yourself? Can’t you say that you are not prepared to get married and you want to keep searching till you find your partner? when prepared? people will be angry but in the end, you will have lived your truth.
I like what Big Ted said recently in his CTA (Cleaning The Airvawes) episode. He said despite his father being a bishop, his personal relationship with God has nothing to do with him. It’s all about him. His experiences and what God has done for him in his life, have made him strong in faith. Well, are there any more Big Ted’s in our society? I believe so and for things to change, we first need to analyze the past, what worked and didn’t so that we know what needs to be left and what needs to be kept. When a society is consciously aware, individuals are personally improved.
There are four vital things that I believe need to be addressed. First, it’s sex, second alcoholism, third education, and fourth success. Let us begin with sex. For so long sex (esp in the African setting and black American setting) has been viewed as a taboo and a topic of rare conversation. Most of us growing up viewed sex either as a “gift during marriage” or that “sex before marriage being a sin.” But has anyone ever told you why it is a sin? No. That’s why the highest number of sex, sexual workers, and sex-related complications in America is prevalent among the black community. And one of the biggest flaws of Mr. Mandela’s government was the HIV epidemic. Not because he couldn’t tackle it, but because his government refused to speak about it.
The second is alcoholism. In most cases, most of us growing up have either looked at alcohol as a “bad thing” or “something that is consumed by those who are smart in our society.” Either because our parents drank it or because we saw it as a cool thing from our favorite movies. But no one tells you of its dangers. No one tells you of responsible drinking. And I remember last year a government official telling me that the highest number of drinkers in Kenya are aged between 18 -40. She was worried because Kenya’s population is made up of the youth and if the youth are wasting themselves, then who will build the future?
The third is education. Growing up I remember the four main careers that seemed “successful” were law, medicine, engineering, and architecture. You had to aspire to be one of those. And extracurricular activities were seen as of “no importance” value and if you dared say you wanted to be a musician, you were seen as a bad person. And fourth success. Success in our society from time immemorial has always been viewed on the lens of money, prestige and status. The more money you have, the more successful you are thought to be. But again, we forget that money comes and goes away. What if today you get bankrupt or you get fired? Does it mean you become unsuccessful?
Like Obama writes in his book “Dreams from my father”. Where he says that at one point his father got so broke that he sent his sister (Auma) to buy him cigarettes with no money but a mere word “tell him you’re Obama’s daughter. The one who helped shape Kenya’s government.” She did so and the shopkeeper replied saying with no money, no cigarettes. Auma then had to work and look for money and went back home with the packet. Her father Obama SNR thought it was his name that worked magic but it wasn’t. Auma didn’t want to disappoint her father.
It’s saddening. But I am a firm believer in change. That things can be better. We just need to put the best foot foward and start the journey. Let’s start by talking. Having honest and truthful conversations. For example on sex. Let’s teach children and young adults about it. Let them know why it is dangerous to engage in immoral sexual behaviors. Tell them about things such as sexual transmitted diseases. Teach them when they get married sex shouldn’t be a relationship control tool but a bonding tool. Let them know that sex isn’t just about the physical touch but there’s much more than that. Like children. How many does a couple want and how many can you manage to raise?
Or on alcoholism. Teach people especially teens and the youth on it. Teach them on vices such as drunk driving, substance addiction, irresponsible spending and lifestyle diseases. I was recently watching a program on TV (Citizen in the morning 16/3/2022) and they were discussing about hypertension and heart diseases. And the most prevalent cause of the above conditions they mentioned was the lifestyle an individual is living. What you eat and put in your body. If you consume large amounts of alcohol, chances are you are susceptible to such kind of diseases. And it is eating away a whole lot of people.
Let’s start making the changes so that we can have a better tomorrow. Where people will be fully satisfied with the work they do despite the position they hold and where people will be much open to discuss issues such as education and sex so that we can save our generation.