Hi everyone, Atinuke Fadahunsi Smith (whom I must call my great big aunty according to the Yoruba tradition) is an international but Nigerian fashion designer and owner of Datina Designs.
I met her through a friend on Facebook and she agreed to contribute to the #ResonateArt campaign by sharing her views on the struggles Nigerian creative youths face.
I’m really pleased to have someone who has trained so many youths in her art. Enjoy everyone!
Atinuke Fadahunsi Smith says;
I have always been one of those who strongly hold the view that Nigeria as a nation is blessed, considering the loads of creative youths we have in our country. I believe Nigeria as a nation has a big asset in her youths. Presently youths makes up more than 60 percent of the population in Nigeria.These youths are the wealth and the future of the country.
In recent times, we are beginning to see the emergence and exposure of the incredible creative sides of our youths in Nigeria despite the challenging times and season of recession presently facing the nation. It’s impressive to see Nigerian youths showing a strong willingness to pursue creativity despite the challenges they face on this route, which makes the journey a tough one.
We see their creativity being discovered in various fields and industries like the entertainment industry, various business startups and the world of IT to name a few. Despite this great development, it is challenging to see that Nigeria as a nation is not providing enough platforms for our youths to develop and explore their creative skills. This is highly discouraging for those who are making the effort.
There are not enough agencies and facilities both in the government and private sector driving massive creativity development in our youths. The few ones that are occupying this social space do not have enough capacity and resources to meet the needs of our teeming youths.
Due to the lack of platforms for discovery , most Nigeria youths are crowding the narrow paths already trodden by others. Everyone of them wants to copy and do the same thing the few successful ones have done, instead of exploring their own in-built creativity. They are facing the challenge of blazing the trail in new fields and this in turn stiffles their creative side and ability to innovate.
Lack of funds is also a major challenge facing the Nigeria youths in terms of pursuing creativity. I have encountered a good number of our youths who have taken time to explore, develop and nurture their creative skills but couldn’t access funds to launch their ideas. There are very few organizations in Nigeria willing to mentor and invest in our youths. It’s quite remarkable to see the likes of social entrepreneurs like Tony Elumelu foundation and other few government parastatals launching youth oriented initiatives. This has made an huge impact on our youths in Nigeria. It is an encouraging development.
There are also lack of mentors and passionate coaches willing to take our youths through mentoring and empowerment programs. Nigeria youths cannot afford to pay for the fees attached to the necessary training and exposure needed to stir their creative skills. Being able to develop and nurture their gifts is one step, while they still need to jump the hurdle of finding organized platforms for exposure and display of their creative skills. This leads to discouragement and distraction.
Cultural and societal believes also creates a major challenge for our youths. The Nigeria society at large believes that white collar jobs are more stable and reliable while the creative space is unpredictable. This puts great pressure on the Nigeria youths’ confidence to explore creative sides and make them stay within the acceptable norm.
In view of this, a large number of youths pursue goals that are irrelevant to their innate inbuilt creative sides.
My hope is that as the creative world continues to evolve, youths in Nigeria get the opportunities needed to grow, explore and develop their creative skills despite all odds. I also hope they would get all the necessary support, encouragement and resources needed to grow their creativity from all necessary quarters.
I hope the Nigeria youths would find in themselves the confidence to face every challenge encountered in the path of growing their creative skills and in turn make an indelible impact on the growth and development of Nigeria as a nation.
Are you a Nigerian creative youth?
What have your challenges been so far?
Let’s share our experiences here and learn from them.
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Have a lovely week everyone
Note: Some pictures were gotten from datinadesigns.com others from womanistworld.com