The Future Is Now?
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I saw an article online today. They called it the women of the future. Its a list of all the young females who were nominated for this year’s Nigerian future awards. The future awards, as far as I know is a Nigerian award that recognizes young people under 35 I think.
When I saw the list of 23 women, I saw some things they all had in common. Almost all of them had their 1st degree abroad. Most of them didn’t even go to school in Nigeria or haven’t even lived here for long. All the on-air personalities nominated are usually the ones with the foreign accents of course. But don’t get me wrong…I love them. They’re inspiring.
But the truth is, how can a woman who’s lived half her life abroad, never been to a Nigerian university classroom truly and completely inspire me? A young girl who schools in Nigeria and who has dreams of making it here? Are they telling me that I have to wait until I have some degree from a foreign country before I get any recognition?
Truth is, I’m a big fan of these women and of their accents too. I watch so many movies and can parody any kind of accent any day, a southern drawl, a Texas twang and even the New York yell . I can give you a preppy British accent and then suddenly switch up to a thick Cockney accent. Perhaps in a way, its me trying to copy what is generally recognized as “cool” in my society, but I know it’s not really me. In a society like Nigeria that is so focused on foreign education, the odds are always stacked against you…the local student.
We are 256 in my class, but yet we use a 45 seater classroom for our lectures! I want to be great, I really do. But pray tell me how I can manage that in a classroom that is stuffed to the walls and cracking at every imaginable corner.
I remember being one of the sharpest students in Secondary School, but now, I’m struggling to be just a tiny little bit above average. Maybe since the system is different, I should get with the program. But I do not like to struggle when I know that things could be better. The Nigerian educational system is flawed, and no one…not one single person recognizes the people who excel despite that. That’s why half our shows parody American ones and why the average young Nigerian that has never seen an airport wears a faux American accent…
Of course I see all these women and I want to be like them. Everyone praises their achievements like they did it all alone, when the bitter truth is that they had outside help. Help that someone like me doesn’t have. Very good help at that.
I recently discovered that I could write. And that was when a friend randomly read something I wrote. I’m quite intelligent, but truth is I’m not sure my forte is in the Sciences. I struggle to be at the top in my Engineering class. But I know if I was studying English, that would happen effortlessly. But this is Nigeria. I can’t afford to do what I love, I have to survive first. Again, these women inspire me, but I’m not sure if any of them would have gotten to where they are without that good foreign education.
So while we’re awarding the “future”, let’s fix our present. Because I don’t know if I’ll have the opportunity to have a good education abroad. But I do want to be recognized, even if I lack the fancy accent and the flawless pedigree.
I want a future too. Maybe the awards should focus more on people who have made impacts on their society despite the obstacles within it. Because the bitter truth is getting an education in Nigeria is a pretty
big huge obstacle. A handicap even. No one equips you for what’s out there, you have to do it all on your own. So I suppose its up to us…those who have excelled despite the handicap to step up, and show everyone that we can shine too. That we own our future and no matter what our present looks like our future will be bright!
Written By Jazmyne-frances
Jazmyne-frances is the latest @ofilispeaks guest blogger. Her identity is a mysterious mystery, she is 18 going on 80…some of her weaknesses are that she thinks too much, talks too much and reads too much. Jazmyne-frances has no idea who she is, but she knows who she wants to be. So far growing up has been frankly “lemony,” for her but you know what they say about lemons…watch out for her blog posts as she cuts through societal BS and straight to the guts!
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