Found in a world where moral restrictions are the order of the day, strapped in the cave of discipline and cuffed with the handcuffs of parents prying eyes, an African Teenage Boy recounts in melancholic soliloquy his disregarded story. Let us therefore lend him some credence and listen to a bit of his story.
Before then,we have the African in the title in quote. This implies that the ‘African’ in this context is not restricted to being typically African. As in one born in Lagos, or Harare, or Johannesburg, or Accra etc, or a dark skinned, kinky-haired, greasy lipped fellow. Rather the African in the title extends to a teenage boy who lives with his parent and sibling in a bungalow situated in one of those many streets in Africa where all classes of people inhabits, however hardly interacted; one who understands what it means to have a time table for watching TV,for eating, for sleeping etc, for virtually everything, and this time table he dares not flaunt; one whose father’s room is never wanting of ‘pankere'(wip); one who understands his parents must never find him on his phone at night,at worst during school days ; one who understands that his parents must never get to church before him, and he dares not doze off during sermon; one who understands that he dares not doze off during morning devotions. Yes a middle class African teenage boy who dares not talk about sexuality even in its mildest form. Here’s his peculiar story.
Now , there the teenage boy sits, on a couch in the living room watching the latest season of Flash the super hero. At the point Barry and Iris decides to share a kiss, he runs to the TV and punches the power button. He had better take a break than to receive Father’s face-bleaching slaps or worst of all, have the TV locked in Father’s room.
Yea, there sits the teenage boy outside his flat,on a stone by the side of the street road. He sees a beautiful teenage girl coming across. She is enchanting. He battles with his mind then decides to man up. He gets up to do it – to woo her. At that point, he hears the footsteps of his father and as quickly as you would remember your name, he backs off to the stone. He dares not be found talking to a girl regardless of the subject.
So there is the teenage boy, playing street soccer with his pals, another teenage boy offers to join in the game. The boy is ‘posh’. That term used by the middle class teens as nomenclatures for those teens who resided in the duplexes on the street; those whose houses had gates; those who were perpetually with their phones without any scolding and chiding; those who would walk in and out of their homes with their girlfriends without their ears standing alert like the kitchen rat. So the teenage boy doesn’t accept the posh boy into the game, he sees it as an attempt of the posh kid to mock him. He is intimidated and feels cheated. He threatens to beat up the kid if he didn’t go away. ‘Go and face your video games and leave us with our street soccer!’ he screams.
So this is the African teenage boy’s peculiar story in two perspective: 1. Socially and 2. Economically.
In the initial, the smallness of the African teenage boy’s world: home, church, school and neighborhood. He does not go out of this cycle except for some special holidays with distant relatives. The African teenage boy is less exposed, he is taught that anything outside the sermons rendered by Fr Francisco or the lessons from Open Heavens daily devotional, should not be practiced. In the light of that, he shouldn’t play football, he shouldn’t sing any song outside the Hymn or dance any style that that is found in hip hop videos. So he knows barely a table spoon of the going on in the entertainment. Therefore entertainment exists only on the lips of a few neighborhood peers and, perhaps, in his dreams.
Socially speaking, the African teenage boy understands class distinction. Class, that big gulf that separates the African teenage boy whose parents resides in the financial contentment of an apartment in a flat and the posh parents who resides in duplexes they bought; class, that big difference in the tables of the African teenage boy which barely had margarine or more scarcely, branded beverage tins, and the posh ones which visually described a land flowing with milk and honey; class, that glueing insects of intimidation of which the teenage boy is acquainted with. This same class that erupted the fallacy in the hearts of the African teen Boy’s parents that once you touch a girl you get her pregnant and make one an early father. So as an African teenage boy, you dare not let anyone know you have a crush on anyone,let alone having a girl friend. So when those feelings peculiar to adolescence in the teenage boy,he gets two things from his father: 1. The creed, don’t touch any girl at this time. 2. A shaving stick or perhaps; threats of been disowned.
Economically speaking, the teenage boy always has that great obstacle to the actualisation of his plans,which is financial challenge. Yes like every other guy, he visualises romantically blind folding a girl eyes, leading her into a room decorated with all sorts and then letting her open her eyes unto a richly baked and decorated cake; he visualises sending a gift via DHL on a Valentine Day to a girl;he picture himself coming home on his mother’s birthday and jingling the keys of a new car he got for her; he visualises going to School one day and looking the principal straight in the eyes, slam wads of notes that would settle all his fees on the principals table. But sad reality always whispered into his ears,while he smiled from the pleasures illusive fantasies brings, that they will always be fantasies and nothing but that. An African teenage boy understands what it means to sacrifice dreams for family issues.
So there sits the African teenage boy on the bed in his room,he hates the partiality of life. He hates his presence in a world of tough moral restrictions that had the semblance of slavery. So he sobs alone, hating himself for the sins he never commited. He hates the fact that his parents would never understand him, they would never give room to his opinions. He wants to scream aloud, loud enough for his words to sink in his parents brains, he wants to let them know that they having him silently carry out their orders without wanting to hear him out, demoralizes him. It made him lose his self worth as a human and therefore creates a perpetual feeling of loathe and violence towards his world.
However, that’s enough lad. A piece of advice: Never you wish off your ‘Africanness’, it has always been the identity of great men; never you think sucidal, because the world unwittingly anticipates your explosion. Our parents restriction is our strength and their scolding,our guide. Dear African teenage boy,stop lamenting because other than the fact that your complaints bore my hearing, it’s just the peculiar story of an ‘African’ Teenage Boy. Get that into your head.
About The Author
Miracle Elvis is a sixteen year old writer. He hails from Edo state, and resides in Lekki,Lagos state. However, he currently stays in Sango Otta, where he his sitting for his SSCE as a student of Valiant Foundation School,Otta.