Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Life of the hard knocks for the youths

Dear reader, let us cut to the chase and address pertinent issues that are staring us in the face. Our everyday realities are our truths. We converse about what we see around us. One of the powder kegs is the constituencies of young people in rural and urban areas who are unemployed, hungry, frustrated, and angry. This situation is a veritable recipe for disaster. It is a situation that will keep blowing on our faces till lasting solutions are found. Children and young people lose their lives in ritual killings. Young people are often used as courier or runners in the grisly business.

Young people are subjected to unspeakable abuse. Young people who should be studying to come up with African-appropriate technological solutions and innovations are being killed and their body parts harvested for ritual purposes. Young people who should be engaged in the study of nanotechnology, gene sequencing and designing self-driving cars are either being slaughtered as sacrificial lambs or being sent on gruesome errands as transporters of body organs. Besides that, young people are used as electoral fodder, as guinea pigs for unworkable educational experiments. Young people are also overdosed with untested promises by politicians and authority figures who are also too dazed to figure out what is going on. Most adults fail to admit that they are equally bewildered by the many disasters that characterise their lives. Not many have the composure to really have a clue as to what the future holds. They are too buffeted by past ordeals and present upsets. Young people find themselves in a world designed to dis them yet they are told everyday that the future belongs to them. You have dismal prospects if you are going to end up in a swallow grave minus your vital organs because some misguided individual desires instant wealth or some cosy position in society. Added to the lethal mixture of pathologies that undermines young people’s lives is the abuse of social media.

21st century society still glorifies conspicuous consumption and the glamourous ‘high life’ of celebrities in politics, culture, sport, and religion. We are daily bombarded by images of special people living a ‘good life.’ Images of people parading dazzling wealth and fabulous comfort enjoyed by a few people while majority of the people wallow in poverty. Young people notice the obscene disparities in society. They notice moral decay. They also aspire like everybody else. We all wish for the same things. They wish to live like the few people who take short-cuts to undue wealth and power. They want to enjoy life like the few people who by grace of birth or because of political connections enjoy the so-called ‘finer things in life.’

Ruthless competition is the governing logic of our social system. Everyone want to be ‘number one,’ to be a ‘champion,’ or ‘a winner. No one wants to be a ‘loser, ‘an additional member,’ or a ‘benchwarmer.’ No one wants to grow up to be a man or women in the street, an average Motswana, a statistic of poverty and violence, or for that matter, an ordinary voter. No one wants to be just an ordinary person or a commoner. We all want to stand out, to be extraordinary, unique, to be special but there are all sorts of structural impediments to such vain glory. 

Most young people go through an inadequate education that mostly inculcates obedience and acceptance of authority and doctrine. The education system teaches its recipients to follow orders and how to be subordinate. The young learners’ sense of curiosity, sense of wonder and creativity are stifled in most educational environments. Learners find themselves compelled to cram for tests and examinations only to forget what they memorised after sitting the examination.

Many learners are often thrown out of the education system ill-equipped for a world to the driven brink by economics of the madhouse. The media churns out disreputable messages that that further enslave us to the worship of money and those who have a lot of it. This capitalist idolatry is poisonous.  This leads to people resorting to get-rich-quick scams, theft, and murder to live a ‘good life.’ In corrupt societies, muck rises. Unscrupulous people are the ‘role models.’

When we place a few affluent individuals on pedestals we dehumanise the rest of the people. If we set up a few people with oodles of money as demigods or deities, we reduce the rest of the people to a faceless mass of sub-human beings. Idolatry is not love. When we elevate a few members of the community no matter how well-endowed they are to super-persons, we relegate the rest of the people to lesser and unpleasant positions. To idolise is also to demonise. Two sides of the same coin. The workable alternative is to create a social order that nurtures the full development and flowering of the potential inherent in each human being. Individual brilliance should be deployed for the benefit of the common good. That is how a habitable world is built.

Anyway, dear reader you will draw your own conclusion. I trust you will figure things out for yourself as you reflect on these issues. It is important to think independently and not let other people do the thinking for you. I guess thinking, like laughing, hugging, and kissing are responsibilities and obligations that should not be outsourced. Imagine someone laughing, dreaming, or voting on your behalf.

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