They are everywhere, citizens of nowhere. They walk our streets, worship in our churches and they live in our homes! Long ago, a musician whose name I have forgotten sang about tomorrow’s people. A line in the song says something like, “don’t know your past, don’t know your future.” It would appear we have arrived at that frightening destination.
Gradually, without realizing it, we have succeeded in raising a generation of people who seem to belong to nowhere. The only language they speak is English. The only home they know is the one in which they live and God help us all if that home is rented!
They spend their holidays abroad, and very often they are schooling abroad too. They cannot tell the difference between Oshodi and Apapa. They have no idea who governs their state. Abeg where is their state sef?
Their favorite food is shawarma and spaghetti but they can manage hamburger sha.
How did we get here na? Why have we turned our children to citizens of nowhere? Whatever happened to village life? Whatever happened to our indigenous languages? Why did we throw away the baby with the bath water? Why? Why?
We said we were running away from witches and wizards in the village. We said village people were backward and ignorant. We said there was nothing for the kids to learn in the village. We said Grandpa and Grandma live in the city so what are they going to do in the village. We said, we said…
Okay o! I hear you, I don’t agree but I hear.
Now we have raised a generation that will soon take over from us. And they have no idea where they come from. We have taught them nothing about our values, inherited from our ancestors. We have refused to teach them what makes an African unique.
A few days ago, my daughter told me of her hilarious experience trying to tie wrapper to church one Sunday morning at Uni. She said it was a disaster. And we laughed! Can you believe that? We laughed. But I should have cried instead. I should have wept because I have raised a daughter who cannot tie wrapper but is planning to ‘rock’ ripped jeans!
Put them on the streets of New York and London and they blend in perfectly, take them to Isialangwa and Akoko Edo, they stick out like a sore thumb!
African parents, what have we done?
I shall be back. Let me go and weep small.