The Ajegunle Vs. The Festac Dude, By Joy Isi Bewaji - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE

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Sunday, October 20, 2019

The Ajegunle Vs. The Festac Dude, By Joy Isi Bewaji

Joy Isi Bewaji


The Ajegunle dude is fully aware of the hole in the middle of his doughnut. There are no illusions to life- the gutter is wide, it reeks and leaves a taste of itself on the tongue; when it rains it finds its way into bedrooms. 
Ajegunle, for the most part, is a slum. The dude knows this; he is not angry, maybe a little anxious to get out, but surely not deluded to think it would take a few seasons to achieve. He is ready to wait on it, patiently trudging through life with a purpose. 
He is the apprentice at the mechanic shop after school hours with grease on his palms; he is at the construction site helping with bricks, making enough money for lunch. His mother sells “provisions” or Ugu or fish. Life is black and white, not turquoise, not peach, not maroon- colours born out of deceits. 
When he is 23, he will leave his father’s cramped home, move to the other street and get a room for himself and a girlfriend. He is ready to work with his hands to make a living; honest and full of dreams. Eventually, he will take that trip to Germany and raise a neat family with a white woman who will fall helplessly in love with his black skin.

The Festac dude was born into an illusion of privilege. It is the biggest joke of the century. His father “won” a duplex with floors wide enough for parties. That was in 1977. Daddy was still a young father, working as a PA in some cool firm. Then there were pedestrian paths, chairs under trees for romantic hangouts, picnic parks for families, fine and affordable private schools, electric wires buried under the earth. Most of what is left now is a far cry from what use to be.  But the Festac dude suffers myopia, not even a hot slap across the face can wake him up from this dream. You-are-not-living-in-your-father’s-time goes through his ears, rushes out, and strikes a bird dead. 
He never forgets what his 3 year old self enjoyed when Festac was new and daddy was employed. Unhealthy bouts of imaginary privilege remains stuck to his sleeves. Even when he sees his father broke with no job, the only car sold off to a mechanic on 5th avenue, he thinks it’s all part of some conspiracy theory. Things are not as “bad” as they seem, he believes. Then he is moved from private school to grammar school. Nothing changes, not his mind set, not his goals. He still has a room in his father’s “mansion” acquired 37 years ago, so everything must be ok. He is rent free, and he thinks life is made of many free things. 
He never gets a job, sits at the side of the building with friends from 6am to 11am everyday, greeting every young lady heading to work or school, sizing up asses, and looking the other way to see what wrap he could smoke to kill boredom. He starts drinking from noon and stays loyal till evening; returns home to a plate of food prepared by mummy. Crashes on his bed, calls up a girlfriend. Sleeps. Dies.

- Joy Isi Bewaji is a screen writer, playwright, storyteller and multipontentialite

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