What is Love?

There are some people already looking at this topic and wondering, ‘Has Bolaji lost the plot?’ Don’t worry; all is well up here 🙂

I’ve been reflecting on the demands of Africa this week, by myself without input from the world and the various people with different interests and stakes in the success or failure of the continent.

A friend asked me a while ago, ‘Do I even still have hope for Nigeria?’

I wanted to reassure them instantly, to tell them not to be pessimists, to have hope in Nigeria, but upon further reflection, to have hope in Nigeria, I must have hope in myself.

There’s a lot of shade often thrown at individual action, for the fact that one person changing the world seems theoretical at best. However, while even that argument is flawed, there are so many individuals in Nigeria, that individual action need not ever be a concern. However, to spark a movement, there needs to be one person who is uncomfortable enough to say something. I’m talking about Nigeria because it’s what I know, but the same applies for all other African countries. We are Africa.

There are structures, systems, and corruption. We’ve heard it all, tell us something we don’t know, write a book about it. Nevertheless, our ancestors have fought so much to dismantle oppressive systems of colonialism through riots, protests and so on, effectively doing something, which for a lot of us is simply not the case.

Moreover, there is a certain amount of privilege inherent in statements like, ‘I’m going to live in America’’, or ‘I’m running away from Nigeria’. It implies quite simply that because of the economic, social privilege that we have, life on this continent and the harsh realities that accompany it, are things we can afford to avoid. Now, I’m always a big fan of considering both self and others, but surely, we realize that the privilege is in itself inauthentic as we are forever seen as the ‘unwanted visitors’. Contrarily, some may argue that in places like Canada, this perception is inaccurate, but surely, you see that this privilege has a lifespan.

If this doesn’t convince you, that’s okay, but I myself have had to consider the things about my country that I internalize as the truth and nothing but. Nigeria is corrupt, but we could choose not to be. Africa is not a country, but we know more about the United States than Kenya. How do you convince someone that you live on a whole continent when the sphere of your knowledge bounces between your local news and CNN?

In case, I’m projecting that I’m perfect. Let me dispel that quickly. I am very guilty of majority, if not all of the things I have mentioned on here today, but I thought it important to share my reflections on the knowledge I consume and interact with, as well as offer some insight into the effects of the unintentional way we consume media.

For me, love means to accept things and people for who they are, and who they are not. Nigeria is not debt –free…yet. The world does not know Africa is a continent…yet, but it will take the people who are still proud of their country and their identity as citizens, to catalyze change that is necessary, to make impact where they can.

The only way to rebuild Africa and make it our home is to dismantle the systems and structures that enable corruption and the patriarchy and build new ones. There will be challenges. There always are when fighting a battle that is worthwhile. The question is ‘When your house breaks down, do you rebuild or run away?’

If you run away, no judgment, but the house will not rebuild itself. No matter how much you insult the house because of its failings, because people have made a home in its brokenness; they did something. Where were you?

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