Imagine that you live in a comfortable single bedroom apartment. You have your private bathroom, kitchen and laundry machine. When your cousin who lives in another city wants to introduce you to his friends, he says-

“Meet my cousin who lives in a slum where he pays less than 100USD for rent and lives on less than 1USD everyday”.

To him, it doesn’t matter whether that is enough money to live-on in your reality, he defines you according to his own reality. ẹgọ!

Unfortuately, that is how the world measures Africa. The continent is seen by many as a continent of tiny black people living in harsh conditions and stricken with the worst diseases on the planet. Africa to some is a country. It doesn’t matter if she claims to be the centre of innovation, the land of the hardworking, the future of the world; actually- the origin of it; and a union of 54 countries.

The origin of fear, prejudice and stereotyping in the world is our morphed perspective. Probably 60% of all humans have a skewed opinion about the world beyond their immediate community. Aimọ!

The reason is simple. When learning about societies, we forget what makes great stories- the normal society where everyone was living their normal lives until; enters The Villain, he turns the state upside down and then sits on her throne like he owns it. This continues until a regular person arises to become a Hero- akikanju.

If you are going to tell the story of a city, let alone the world’s youngest continent; you have to go beyond talking about The Villain. You should tell the story of success, of victory, of isẹgun.

I tell this story every chance I get at every podium I stand, before every audience I’m with. And the result is always the same- people get to see social problems as a challenge, one that they can either tolerate or trounce.

They get amused at the beauty of the world and the resilience of people who are willing to change it. They become bold enough to change social realities if only they are shown it is not only possible, it is happening.

It was therefore effortless igbadun to tell the community at UAM Periera, stories of the Nigerian Youth Action for Water, and it’s founder Daniel Falonipe; of the advancement and Olusola Amusan; of co-creation Hub and Bosun Tijani.

Haflway through, one of the students literally said to me- “this is different from what I knew about Nigeria”.

My goal wasn’t to show them the good about my country but to show them that young people are changing the narrative in Africa and they can too if they want to.

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One thought on “The African Story

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