Oluwakemi Solaja photo
As a child, your teacher approaches you inquiring as to your future ambition, likewise what you want to become years ahead of your childhood. Kate responded citing her ambition to be a lawyer like her dad, Bruno wants to be a medical doctor likewise a surgeon, John and Claudio were optimistic of being successful as business men referring to Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and Mark Zuckerberg as their inspiration for success as entrepreneurs.
Mr James, my class teacher with a different approach and method, inquired as to what I want to do with my life. He observed me along with five other boys as holding the reputation of being the least successful in class and termed the most mischievous yet he never believed we had a future and a path to follow as long as oxygen ran through the air in our trachea for breath. “Young man, tell me what do you want to do with your life, what does the future hold for you with your bad grades and poor intellectual ability?”
I have a psychic gift, I was presumed to be a prophet yet I am artistically inclined to be a creative identity interacting within the soul and heart working along with my thoughts as I write them for people to read. “You are confused,” he said, “leave immediately and I will ensure you leave this school because you are unfit to be called a student and cannot be considered an intellectual, you are a disgrace to humanitym likewise to the system.”
Caleb and his five friends were ejected from the school premises with the report of truancy and low mental ability to cope with its academic rigours. I, along with these friends, were enrolled in another school, the challenge was the same yet we never said to ourselves that we couldn’t succeed nor change our mindset to know what people did not consider to be intellectual; rather we were seen as figureheads moving around tormenting the peace of the school.
Mrs Palmer observed our traits introspectively, she assigned a name to the five boys with the reputation of being wild and subliminally cunning when it was outside our academic rigour and activities. Caleb was referred to as Malcolm X, John as Barrack Obama, Ken, Muhammad Ali, James as Karl Marx, and I was called James Baldwin, (because I was a bit quiet and introspective). She gave this name to inspire our hope for the future while many believed that we were wasting our time being in school.
Mrs Palmer’s introspection was encouraging, we changed our habits and read, meanwhile our personae within the school premises did not change, nor were we intimidated by the threat of our teachers. When we left high school to go to college, the wild 5 cried emotionally knowing we would no longer see Mrs Palmer any longer, yet we ensured to keep to her advice as we moved on in life.
The wild 5 became the greatest men that ever lived yet their peer Mr James could not acknowledge because they failed to attain their goals and dreams with the right mind and will required. Kate worked at the bar, Bruno, Claudio and John, who aspired to be tycoons, worked as homeland cleaners, yet they couldn’t work thinking all was easy and fair.
In the same sense, our nation has failed to realise its dreams when our aspirations are placed on individuals in power to succeed. The right leadership is hijacked amidst the potential a nation like ours possess. It’s a clustered affair in which each administration drowns, our dignity and integrity exhibiting shades of corruption whereby we are considered to be fiddled with crumbs by those who were elected by the sweat of the masses.
Many dreams are missing because we feel we are entitled to what we did not work for and aspire to. In African society we are known to be dependent on people rather than ourselves, believing in the assumption of a relative’s success as a measure of achieving his dreams.
We clocked 57 years yet we are not fulfilled, struggling as teenagers who are confused and too young to see the right in the tough world of raging crises; we don’t use every opportunity to actualize the dreams yet we need a hand before we can rise.
The importance of learning this spoon is a better escape from our slumber putting our realities to test; time ticks daily.
Ogunniyi Abayomi was born July 11, 1991 in the city of Lagos, where he resides. A poet and essayist whose works have been published in various journals.