My friend will buy a gun at 35 if he does not get employment or have capital to start an enterprise. I told him that my case will be different. At that age, I will count my losses and get the best Synethesia which I will overdose and sleep sweet. He warned me of throwing myself in a well or going for drugs as two of our friends recently did after campus and now are in graves. We are both 25.
We may agree that we have been caught up in what is described as a quarter life crisis. Or refuse. Our hopes and expectations are doubtful. There are no (few) people who can offer assistance. Our systems are repressive! And we cannot purport to find inspiration from the older generation (Unless it is one of those get-rich quick dreams). The best place to be is among our peers and the ideal thing to do is to get intoxicated and drown ourselves in alcohol.
While the current generation brims with dreams they all but die a natural death. Our generation knows what it wants but it is not getting it rightly. Relationships are sort of hobbies. And we have completely lost touch with societal morals. The best feeling and thought is to get out of your job/school/home and go away. Away!
Life as a youth is full of uncertainties though the society kind of has already regulated what you can do and not do during the period. There are schools to make you immobile, confined and occupied against your late adolescent. And there are a number of proverbs warning youths to respect the elderly, obey the present laws and other things with a ready punishment for going astray.
A new report commissioned by the East African Institute (EAI), the Kenya Youth Survey Report, revealed that 50 per cent of youth in Kenya do not care what means one uses to make money as long as they do not end up in jail. I agree with the report. Why should I be found in traffic when there is a motorcycle? Why should I queue when there is an agent who can take tea?
Seemingly there is a shock of a misinformed past that education is the way to a brighter future. They should have said that as a mental breakthrough and not physical need providence. Most of our parents, caught up in generational poverty striving to send us to school not really to make our lives better but to put us in the battle field. To give me a job, anyway is like what my friend termed a wheelchair offer. It won’t compensate the pain, hunger, canes, early wakes and all the school struggle.
It is good to have knowledge and skills but when systems frankly compromise by absence of opportunities or resources, a weakling as a youth won’t fail to compensate by compromising through feudal means like crime. Who made law anyway? Virtue is the result of abundance. If corruption got my friend a job at a certain company, why should I not get a job too? You are always a straight man before a dilemma comes along. You will get clean once, not always.
I won’t defend the youths to death anyway because they have their shortcomings like impatience. My view would be to understand the pressures of their time and give them support understanding that they are inventors of no vices but products of them through mangled institutions of families, schools and jobs.
Who is to blame for this social malady?
Are you a challenged youth? Take heart.
By Lung’afa Igunza
Son of Soil