By Debbie Ogunjobi
Times are never the same, it seems the universe is in a constant state of perpetual motion. The result is an evolution of man and humanity and different worlds emerge as time passes. I have always doubted my place in this generation; I don’t always fit in with the ideas of my contemporaries and my sense of not belonging is re enforced by my choices that are not always the expected or approved.
Over the years I have concluded that I am an old soul in a young body (not so young these days) and will never fully accept or conform to civilisation and norms. I enjoy listening to older people tell tales of yesteryears and often wish that I had been there to peep into what I imagine were better times with even better values. I realise that most of the stories that get passed down are coloured by age and nostalgia but pictures support my view of a better age and time and we all know that pictures do not lie.
For all the gains of technology the sixties in my opinion remain one of the most beautiful decades that the 20th century ever had, the sixties had passion, hope and a million ideologies; the sixties was the time that man wanted to make a change for the better, love thrived in the decade and a revolution was born.
What wouldn’t I give to have been a part of the movement of free thinking and fun. I even like their fashion and crazy make up; it just screams fun. So much so we are copying them with our platforms and afros! I was born in 1969, but how much fun could a baby have had especially one born in the middle of the Nigerian civil war?
What I love about the sixties is the pace of life; it wasn’t frantic and desperate. According to my late mom, it was sedate and relaxed. People cared about the quality of life, they worked and played in equal measures! I am convinced it would be a better world if the pace wasn’t so frantic and the ambitions so desperate.
The sixties may not have recorded the same level of technological advancements that are common place now and yes there were conflicts and wars but I think the decade we are in moves so fast we all may crash if we don’t slow down.
There were so many expectations of the sixties that people were bound to be disappointed. Ideology without concerted and sustained effort dies and the next decade was the eye opener when reality came calling. For all of the free thinking and fun people enjoyed, decision making remained in the hands of those who were ruthless and far from free in thought or deed.
Case in point of Richard Nixon; the american president caught with his hands in the cookie jar. The seventies came and the eyes of man opened to the reality of need and ambition; there was less optimism and a lot more cynicism, most people felt let down by the revolution that didn’t pan out; change had not happened like they hoped and they started to dream less, they settled down into middle class living; the children of the revolution had grown up and there were bills to pay!!
Growing up in the seventies was pretty okay. I was telling a fellow parent in my children’s school that I had a better childhood than my children do. We played and were allowed to be children, we developed social skills from earlier on. Children now are inundated with after school lessons and anytime I complain I am told that they are being prepared to compete in a much more aggressive and competitive world than I knew.
I don’t disagree but I don’t think its a better world; there is a time for every purpose under heaven and they are missing the season of their childhood.
The Eighties came and the true nature of man began to emerge, with the loss of optimism, came a different revolution; every man for himself, it became a dog eat dog world and even the middle class was at risk; this decade gave birth to unprecedented corruption and the ultimate acquisition of power.
In Nigeria, the decline of nationhood began. I remember the regular coup d’etas and how natural it was to suddenly hear a soldier on television dissolve the constitution as another junta emerged!! Who can forget martial music and the speeches that always began with “My fellow Nigerians”.
I remember the emergence of the generals that are still hungry for power even now; as if they didn’t do enough damage last time round! The 1st republic had failed and ruthlessly annihilated and the 2nd one had been terminated in much the same manner! There were military tribunals and executions; there was the apathy that followed; it was suicidal taking on the guys with big guns!! (to be continued)