Nouveaux Africaines

Sandra Appiah April 11, 2011

By: Chioma Onyewuchi

Our generation is rebellious. We have become the “nouveaux Africaines,” leaving behind some of the things our parents held sacred and forging new paths-our paths. I am not speaking of the values, morals, and ideals our parents instilled in us because I firmly believe that those will always be sacred. I am speaking about the generational change in how we define professional success.

Not too long ago, any African who wanted to count for something was limited in what her field of study would be: she would have to be a professional. Of course, that meant that there were only a few options available: be a doctor, an engineer or a lawyer. These fields were guaranteed to make anyone’s parents immensely proud. Doctors, engineers and lawyers had financial security and prestigious titles. Being one of these proved that there was intellectual prowess and academic proficiency. However, the tides are starting to turn and Africans of this generation are blazing trails in other fields.

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Arts and the creative fields are becoming a new mecca for this generation. Gone are the days in which it was taboo to be a writer, a singer and/or songwriter, a fashion designer, or even an actor. In today’s world, young Africans are embracing music and theater just as easily as they embrace medicine, law, business management, advertising, product management, branding and public relations. The artists and photographers are embraced almost as readily as the scientists and the attorneys. We are opening ourselves up to a whole new world of opportunities, and I daresay, that our countries, our continent and our world are much better for it. Too much of a good thing has never been good, and the overabundance of workers in only a few industries leads to lack of innovation in others.

These are the days of dreaming huge dreams and pursuing them. Yet, with this great tide turning our way, let us not forget that there can never be recognition without excellence. As stellar Nollywood actress Genevieve Nnaji said in a recent interview with CNN, the interest in careers in the arts must be tempered with passion and the readiness to work incredibly hard. Looking for a career in the artistic industries merely because they seem “cool” and “glamorous” will often result in a rude awakening and wasted efforts.

That said, let us gladly lay our bricks as we build our continent from the ground up by being excellent in every industry in which we choose to become a part of. Africa needs our skills, talents and passions.

Last Edited by:Welby Obeng Updated: June 19, 2018

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