You were privileged to have been born many decades ago. In fact, you were born in the 1950s or early ’60s. You were alive when the legal tender of your country was pound sterling notes and shilling coins. You were alive on October 1st 1960 when Nigeria gained its independence.
Sometimes you sit back and relive the old memories. You shake your head in pity for this present generation who think they have seen it all. Your era was the era of freedom, where life was simple and not complicated, where one could enjoy nature and not worry about many things.
Your parents were disciplinarians. They would not spare the rod to spoil the child. You were taught good morals; the virtues of giving and sharing, obedience to parents and elders, respect for higher authority, and the fear of God.
As a child, you played with your siblings and neighbouring kids in the streets. There were so many childhood games that you can recall with a smile. You had fun. It’s a sharp contrast to this generation where children play indoors with their electronic gadgets, isn’t it?
Cars were an insane luxury those days. The highest form of transport then was by bicycle. Having a motorbike was a big deal in the days of the old school generation.
You were privileged to have been given western education. I daresay you were taught by white men and women in the old school generation.
You helped your parents on the farm. Farm work was a routine. You fetched water from the stream, you learnt how to swim and how to fish. Life was simple.
You were around during the civil war in the southeastern part of Nigeria. The South-East had seceded and declared itself as the Republic of Biafra. You witnessed the horrors of the civil war; the deaths, the suffering, the starvation, the deprivation, the sad tales.
There was fun during the 70s, 80s and early ’90s. You rocked the fashion of the day, didn’t you?
Your afro hairstyle was very big and shiny. Your loose and tight-fitting ‘fela’ trouser and long skirt were on point. Your agboola shoe was trendy. You dressed well and moderately.
What fun does this indomie generation think they are having? They throw wild parties and say they are ‘turning up”. Their parties can’t even meet up with the standards of the parties you used to rock back in the days.
Highlife and disco music was reigning in your days. You used to rock the clubs with your lover, didn’t you?
You used to dance and sway your hips to;
“Baby na wetin you dey find? One pound no balance!” by Chief Osita Osadebe, didn’t you?
You used to dance to Bobby Benson’s, “Sisi you no dey shame, plenty husband is too much, If you marry taxi driver, I don’t care! If you marry lorry driver, I don’t care!”
You remember bouncing in the club with your sweetheart to Billy Ocean’s;
Now we sharing the same dream
And our heart they beat as one
No more love on the run”
Ah, you are smiling now…Imagine if your daughter or son that you keep scolding for attending late-night parties knew that you used to attend late-night parties, stepping up to;
“Everybody sing, everybody dance
Lose yourself to wild romance
We are going to party
Karamu, fiesta, forever
Come and sing along
All night long!
All night long!”
That was a great song by Lionel Richie, wasn’t it?
What kind of music are they making these days? These youngsters package noise and meaningless lyrics as music.
You can recall grooving to evergreen songs like…
“Ifeoma ifeoma ifeoma
I want to marry you
Give me your love
Just give me your love
Ifeoma ifeoma ifeoma o
Let me know your mind
I want to marry you
Just give me your love”
That was a great tune by Felix Liberty, wasn’t it?
You can recall skanking to…
“Can I have a dance Rosie ah
Me friends are watching you Rosie ah
They will laugh at me
But why but why?
Rosie you don’t want to dance with me
It is me mr Blacky!
You can recall going to the Afrika Shrine in Lagos those days to listen to Fela Kuti, the king of Afrobeat music as he crooned his satirical tunes against the oppressive military regimes.
“Beast of no nation”, “zombie”, “Shuffering and shmiling”, “Army arrangement” etc.
You probably joined Fela disciples to smoke a blunt at the shrine to show your defiance of societal norms, didn’t you?
You can remember Ebenezer Obey, Sunny Ade, Victor Uwaifo, Peter Tosh, Prince Nico Mbarga, Bright Chimezie and a whole lot of other evergreen musicians.
Somewhere in your archives, you have preserved all their records that you used to spin on your turntable. It’s a shame that Turntables are no longer in vogue, right?
Food was abundant those days. The roads weren’t as bad as they are now, things were relatively cheap, the naira had value, getting a job was a guarantee upon graduation, life wasn’t complicated, people were contented with their income…
Those were the good old days…the days of the old skool gang…
But now things have changed, the world has moved on at a terrific pace, technology and innovation have taken over. Sometimes you feel like a fish out of water, trying to adapt to these changes. You wish you could bring back the era of the old school generation.
Your children and other youngsters do not understand why you are cautioning them on the dangers of youthful exuberance. They feel and say that you are an old schoolfellow. They do not know that you have seen a lot in life and are more knowledgeable than them. They do not know that you have seen the gold, bad and ugly. Sometimes you wish you could revert to the past glorious era of the old school generation but you have no choice but to move on with the times.
Iniobong Leroi Umoh is a storyteller, a satirist and creative writer. He blurs the line between reality and fiction and seeks to create a connection with the reader through engaging content. His works have been featured across various online and offline platforms. He hopes to one day travel around the world on a luxury yacht, sipping expensive wine and documenting all his experiences in a journal.
You can send him a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.