Malumi Adeboye: My Generation
Written by Malumi Adeboye
I was born barefoot on a jagged rock in a black land with black men. I was born in Nigeria. That's my country. Like the production of a film, each scene is influenced by the actors and, ah yes, setting as well. My movie is not any different or unique in anyway. Except that to see the face of each actor, you would have to go behind the scenes, where we were unfurled and free, basking in the consciousness of life and existence. I am no baby or child or boy or man. I'm just a little voice crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way for the coming ones. Make a straight pathway for them.” I'm just a big voice crying to the outlands. Telling of what we have seen, shouting our experience. I am only human.
When I and the boys were born, mother bought us no diapers or wipes like the other kids from tomorrow. We were settled with loincloths that would be removed when soiled, to be washed and worn again. We never slept in the rocking cot, or stood in the walking trainers. So we had to crawl on all fours till our feet were strong enough to bear us. And, yes, we would fall. Big heavy falls. And, yes, we would stand up with tears and we would walk again. That's what happened in that scene of my movie and more, which you would learn of from others like me. That's what happened when I was brought into this life.
When I and the boys were younger, we were bought no toys or action figures like the kids from yesterday. We had to settle for sticks and fingers, coming home each day with a bruise or two. Wailing out loud to mother, who would bathe and clean our wounds, and send us out to bring in some more again. We had no tasty food or snacks or sweets, so we would go to Mr Bello's store and buy some with our snatch and speed. His leather belt would smile at us, and the welts on our backs would tell us that we did the right thing.
When the mobile phone came around, I mean within our reach, I and the boys would go to the home of the only boy who had one and we would sit around him, our eyes fixated on the wonder in his palm. He would press some buttons and we would see a little man in green fighting against another in blue. He would press some more buttons and we would witness the lady with the white skin take off her clothes, and walk around in her birthday suit. A man would come around, dressed in same attire, and they would do things together which would spread warm smiles on our faces. That's what happened in that scene of my movie and more, which you would learn of from others like me. That's what happened when I was still on younger street
When I and the boys were older, we loved em female girls, the ones who would let us take off their dresses and do things when mother wasn’t home. We each had a girl, special to each of us, and things were really rough. Yesterday I cried over Maria as she called at night and told me she was no longer my girl; and how she let one of the other boys from tomorrow take off her dress. He gave her money she said. What have I ever given her? I bit on my lip as the tears flowed. Yes, I cried, and tomorrow, I will cry again over Marianne or Sophia.
I and the boys love the night. I think it’s because it reminds us of the colour of our hearts. Yesterday, Maestro died. He was felled with bullets by some of the other boys from yesterday. The streets are not too safe, especially for me and the boys. His mother cried so much, deep tears of anguish and resentment. We didn't cry for Maestro, but we may cry for Aluta or Robin or me when we fall tomorrow.
I and the boys met social media about a year ago. He introduced himself to us and he was all warm and smiling. But now he seems to bite us in the back with sharp teeth, the earlier friendliness seems all forgotten. He's very scheming. Knows how to cause much havoc, especially amongst me and the boys. I enjoy him sometimes. Most times I would say. He even killed a girl last summer, when he showed everyone her pictures of her hidden regions. I never saw her after that. We all never did.
I and the boys take some drinks. It keeps us happy, makes us feel better, and makes us forget all the worries and pains. Fredrick would say, with some smoke in his lungs: "I like to get high, ‘cos I love the view from up here." And we would all laugh, and drink some more.
Grades at school don't matter to me and the boys. But it matters much to our parents. So we try to get some good ones, or at least okay ones. Fashion matters a lot: latest Snickers, coolest jeans and shirts. The girls love the guys who look good. So we try to keep up with the trend. That's what happened in that scene of my movie and more, which you would learn of from others like me. That's what happened when I had hopped aboard the older ship.
When I and the boys are dead, we would pass just like the rest. We made no impact, struck no blow on our generation. That's what some time behind some bars taught me, that's what he told me through the silence and solitude. So now I change. The boys are gone now. It's just me. Now I teach the little tots. Guide them right, lecture them about good. Let's see what their generation creates. Mine is already fading fast, blowing away as dust in the wind.