Many firstborns can relate to this story.
Through many years of your life, you watch your parents get up everyday, take a shower, forget to have breakfast – because it reminds them of what happiness feels like and they can’t afford to feel that – and head out to jobs they hate; five days a week, every week, every month, every year. The routine was set, everybody was aware of the role they had to play and after the fifteenth year (if you’re lucky), you’re handed your share of hateful responsibilities.
You had to be up by 5am everyday to prepare your siblings for school while preparing yourself simultaneously because at that age, “you were no longer a child”. You had to take care of kids you didn’t know would exist, but why would you complain? There were kids on the streets who didn’t even have beds to wake up in, so who were you to complain?
All you had to do was wake up everyday to cater for kids you didn’t like anymore because their crying convinced the woman who had sacrificed so much to give you a better life that you were useless and that you wanted to kill her.
Now you are older. You finally “understand” why life was that way. You understand why the pressure to be functional and useful existed, but this is your chance to channel those actions unto someone else so that the cycle continues.
A flawed system is held together by the longing for revenge, but nobody sees it as revenge because this has always existed. A foundation in which child labour is painted as duties, where children have to be more mature than their age, crave the love of outsiders so they feel a tiny bit of care, where toxicity is treated as a form of love.
There is an understanding that the values we were raised on are flawed but the inability to change because it now exists as a norm is the problem. It seeming normal doesn’t make it right. The harshness of our economy made our parents do this to us, and everyday is your chance to make sure your children do not have to go through the same. Wake up, work, make bastard money and save your children.
This is your sign.
Millennials across Africa and in the diaspora have the same picture of what the world should look like. We are documenting it in the coolest ways 🤘