I saw a funny tweet yesterday, I don't know whose: Now that the iPhone 7 is almost out, could the blessees wait for fathers to pay school fees first before asking for one? or words to that effect. Now that I have taken time to reflect on it, the tweet is not so funny anymore. It is tragic, really.
Ever since that Masters student from Kenyatta University was murdered by a person or persons unknown along Waiyaki Way, the svelte college girl sleeping with the older married man for pin money and other blessings has become more and more common. Since that woman with big bum, even bigger hair and million-shilling bleached-skin reminded us that her mother and siblings benefitted from her multiple relations with older married men or loaded Naija men, the stink has washed off the sponsor-sponsee and blesser-blessee relationships. Now many young women and men can countenance a physically intimate relationship with older patrons for the accouterments of modernity: iPhones, Dubai shopping sprees and white-sand beach holidays to Zanzibar or the Maldives without coming out in hives at the, at best, amorality of it all.
Now the big-bummed, big-haired artificially light-skinned women has been joined by other Bosschicks and toyboys, unafraid and unconcerned of being kept to a standard of life that they no longer need to work hard for or aspire to. Their sang-froid is down to the message that has become universal, from political movements to pulpits: fuck the right person and you can write your own ticket. Fuck them good enough and your cheques will not bounce for a year or three.
No one, though, thinks much of the collateral damage. Wives (and cuckolds), it is expected, will keep their mouths shut and keep the peace or they will find themselves riding the Citi Hoppa life they had escaped from. Worse, their share of the iPhone-Dubai-shopping-spree-Maldives-holidays might get yanked away. No one wants to be the only one in their social circle who doesn't have an iPhone, shop in Dubai or fuck on the sandy beaches of the Maldives. To the spouses who go along to get along, they deserve everything coming to them and then some.
But the children, especially as they enter the hormonal and vulnerable teen years, are a whole other matter. The plea from the author of the tweet should have pricked my conscience just a bit because it was written by a child who knew what her father was, what it meant to the author in terms of the basics of life (of which school fees are a very large part) and that neither the author's mother or father's siblings would intervene in her favour. She was on her own. Not even the twitterati had any sympathy.
We are all shaped by our environments and where selfishness, cruelty and psychological abuse have taken permanent residence, we cannot expect our young people to develop empathy or social consciences. The rapaciousness of a world defined by thousand-dollar phones, shopping sprees and foreign holidays and the non-discourse on the ethics of hard work, sexual morality and the protection and nurturing of the young is one in which children take to the twittersphere to beg for their piece of the parental pie. It is the quintessential dog-eat-dog world. It should give us pause, but that it won't , and that itself, should tell us something.