We all can’t be reduced to houses and cars
Bandwagon: As a young man, I thought peer pressure was something relegated to the zones of the teenagers. I assumed adults were immune. Now that I am older, and a little wiser, I realise adult peer pressure is a bigger devil, crushing more souls than anything. We are all victims knowingly or unknowingly, so today, let’s come out and confess:
- The pressure to be beautiful
Everyone looks more handsome, more beautiful in their virtual life than in real life. Filters enabled us to create a metaverse of beauty. It is not about ‘fake it till you make it’, when it comes to beauty, fake it because you cannot make it. Adults seek each other’s approval more than even the young. We all can’t wait to be told, you are beautiful, we all can’t wait to have comments praising our hot selves. In the end, the plastic surgery industry is outdoing other surgeries in annual turnover.
- The pressure to get married
To imagine that someone can have a PhD and yet have their value reduced to one question; “are you married?” In Uganda, we don’t care about your other contributions to society, all we want to see is a man in someone’s life, a woman in a man’s life. But what if some people are meant to play it solo? For this urge to get married and stay married, people keep up with abusive marriages. Society is ready to pounce on someone for leaving their hell of a marriage.
Because people are being pressurised to get married, many are transferring the problems to their single friends. After all, you can blackmail single friends by the idea; “I go to people’s funerals so that they can come to mine.” Single friends are reminded that when their time comes, these married chaps will be around to contribute something. But it is your woman, it is your man, it is you two who decided to get married, how does that become our problem?
- The pressure to have a side hustle
In the past, the pressure was around having a Corporate Job. Along the journey, the chaps decided that it was not enough to just have a job, they needed you to have a side hustle. Not everyone is meant to start a business, some people are better off concentrating on their jobs. Instead now, you have people playing mediocre at their jobs while playing amateur at their side hustles. Do we need to remind you that it is not a must to sell something to your fellow employees? It’s not a must for you to buy land and make a failed attempt at starting a farming project? You can be just fine Sharon without opening a boutique and littering your status updates with inflated prices, then claiming we are fake friends because we are not supporting your hustle.
- The pressure to know people that matter
I have stopped having conversations with Ugandans. Every Ugandan claims to know someone that matters. And they claim to be super close to these people. It is not a must to know a DPC or some businesswoman in Kikuubo. You can take pride in knowing the fruit vendor in your Kyanja suburb, you can take pride in knowing the name of your kid’s school teacher. Other than posing for photos with ‘people that matter’, what else have they added to your life?
- The pressure to build a village house
Okay I get it, most people who attend funerals are simply there to size you up, to know if your weight in Kampala matches your village weight. But then, why should that send you into debt trying to prove a point. Why should you construct a house that hosts you once a year? Are you constructing the house for your clan spirits? Or you cannot wait to invite us for a weekend, over a campfire and some barbecue? You know your usual Kampala dreams and plans for your village homes.
- The pressure to be the biggest victim
Victimhood is the new struggle. I understand there are genuine victims. We all go through hard times, we all have those moments that beat us into submission. But what’s this new idea of commercialising victimhood? Of claiming to be the biggest sufferer? And writing threads and threads to win the victimhood campaign? In the past, people competed to be great, now people compete for victimhood points. Even when people die, chaps be competing to claim they knew the deceased more.
- The pressure to build a house, buy a car
In Uganda, you will get away with poverty if you have a house and car. These are the success symbols in our peasant society. That is why the first thing all conmen do in Uganda is to invest in a car and then a house. If you have a car, it immediately changes your levels in Ugandan society. So, people work their entire life to just pay bills and die. They take out loans in order to invest them in some concrete and bricks. And they count themselves successful in life. There should be more to long for in life. We cannot all be reduced to houses and cars.
- The pressure to take kids to expensive schools
Some of us went to Shimoni Demonstration School, it was cheap, and yet we survived. We did not drop out of life. Now, parents are competing on the ability to name drop when it comes to schools. If it is an international school, even much better. That time in the conversation when she can praise the Montessori curriculum and how it has made her kids better thinkers. No M’me, if someone is not cut out for life, you can take them to the best schools in the world, and all you will get is an improved potato. But it will still be a potato.
- The pressure to become rich
We must blame the guy who spoke these words; “omwavu wakuffa.” Since then, Ugandans have all agreed on one god, the god of money. Ugandans will disagree on everything, but when it comes to money, when it comes to getting rich, they all nod their heads in agreement. Whether opposition or ruling party, man or woman, Mukiga or Muganda, there is only one thing that unites Ugandans; the love for money and the desire to become rich.
And when Ugandans can’t become rich, they will try their luck at appearing rich. They pop bottles in night clubs, they rent out expensive apartments, they buy cars they cannot afford, all in the name of appearing better than the man next door. I suspect Ugandans struggle from self-esteem issues and have been made to believe that money will cover up those gaping holes.
- The pressure to seem different
Now, there is a pressure to conform in Uganda, but there is a group of people that think the solution is be non-conformist. Little do they realise that the pressure to conform and their pressure to appear different are all cut from the same cloth. In a bid to appear different, all Ugandans end up doing the same thing. They are all buying Subarus, getting tattoos, eating gummies, going to coffee bars, appearing controversial on Twitter, while living the same basic, boring and unfulfilled lives.
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