After extensively documenting the pop culture of Nigerian millennial generation; Thompson Ekong embarked on a journey deep into of Ilishan-Remo, Ogun State, Nigeria to interact with, primarily the kids that the millennial generation claim to do what they do for and actually immerse himself in the authenticity of their realities. He deconstructed his experience to me over the phone.
He spoke from a viewpoint of, how often this demographic is approached with a Western gaze, especially through media and because poverty is so widespread in the third-world, there’s this aversion to anything poverty-related and we seem to distance ourselves from it as much as possible instead of realizing that it is a part of our reality.
At first contact, one would presume that because of the lack of basic amenities and the difficulties in daily life, the hardship would take a magnanimous toll, while in contrast, they emanate a vibrant youthful exuberance. Not as connected to the internet as urban areas, but connected still, evident in their pop culture consciousness [In a private message, Thompson spoke about all the kids dancing shaku shaku because they learnt it from the internet.] The cyberspace serves a form of escape for them as it does for most of us.
In today’s world where the oppressed can challenge oppressors, kids like these need a voice because, in the grand scheme of things; they are some of the most oppressed people in the world, and righting the wrongs of our predecessors must reverberate on every level to verify itself as a meaningful, authentic cause.
Rural Africa is seldom documented, from famine and other ill related reports, this lack of coverage from Western media has translated into an active neglect from their own people to acknowledge their realities and predicaments because ‘’they’ who shine the light’ are not as generous to them with the luminance. As a result of deep-rooted, complex and dynamic scenarios like this, and in the spirit of reclaiming our narrative, we must begin to accept these individuals as part of the bigger picture that we are striving to build, and avoid with zeal, creating yet another system of oppression.
Kids with ideas never die. – Thompson. S. Ekong.
Art Engineered by Ose Adeniyi
Images Documented by Thompson Ekong.
Literarily Curated by Nasir Ahmed.