The Free Ones Are The Disrespectful Ones

Respect is a fundamental aspect of growing up a Nigerian child. It is ingrained from childhood to never talk back at their parents because talking back even if it is to defend themselves is considered disrespectful.

And for a country that believes strongly in its culture, religion and superstitions, disrespecting one's parents is believed to have spiritual repercussions and because of this advantage and privilege that parents have, a lot of Nigerian youths are stuck in a repetitive cycle that they wish to break away from.

However, many youths are coming to realise to break away from the cycle and to live a life meaningful to them, they would have to be disrespectful. They would have to look at their parents directly in the eyes and say No.

The recent example of Nigerian youths breaking away from the destructive and repetitive is the #EndSars Movement where a lot of Nigerian youths have come out en mass to protest against police brutality and bad governance.

To an outsider, it might seem simple i.e Nigerian youths are tired and so they are protesting - However, it is not that simple. Nigerian youths drew strength and courage from their numbers to speak up and stand up against their oppressors and clamour for a better life for themselves, without even the strength of the Nigerian media behind them.

This is beyond commendable, but what about those personal battles that individual youths still have to fight against their parents, for example, the freedom to choose what course to study in the university, to marry whomever they want to marry, to come out as a queer person and generally to be the primary determinant in the decision making of your own life.

Standing up to the authority of Nigerian parents is not for the faint-hearted due to the years of emotional guilt-tripping and brainwashing.

To be free, a lot of people have had to cut their parents out of their lives and to achieve that such a person must be financially independent.

Will every Nigerian child have to cut their parents out of their lives, will they have to continue to pretend to be the ideal child to their parents while being their true selves outside the home or has the time finally come for Nigerian parents to step up and see their children as human beings that they can only love, advice (when necessary), support but cannot control?

Or will the Nigerian youths have to come out en mass to protest against the tyranny of their own parents?

Novelist. Feminist. Creative Writing Teacher. Lawyer