Africans have always believed that hard work is the foundation of leading an independent life. African parents, before western civilization and education, brought their children up with this ideology. Engaging their children in informal training of the family’s trade and skills was done primarily, to get their children to assist in the family’s business which also proved to be economical, and prepares them for the immediate future when they become independent adults. For example, a farmer teaches his son how to farm, so he can help out on the family’s farm and also become useful to himself when he becomes independent.
This trend was also amongst traders, hunters and slavers alike. After the emergence of western civilization and education, this tradition is still very much practised. Parents still believe in having their children assist in the family’s business even as they make sure they get the needed formal education. It is seen in the elite class, the average and as well as the poor of the society.
The spotlight of this story beams on Malik, a fifteen years old boy, who lives with his parents in the ancient city of Ibadan, South West, Nigeria. Malik attends the community high school and is currently in Basic Seven (J.S.S One). He has an ambition of serving his country by joining the Nigerian Army. Malik is the only child of his parents. His father is a bricklayer; who trades his skills within their community as well as neighbouring communities. Malik’s mother is a petty trader.
Just like most African parents, his father introduced him to the bricklaying world, so he can assist and also learn (what is otherwise known as handwork). Malik, in a short period, has been able to master some of the nitty-gritty of bricklaying, he hopes to acquire the necessary skills needed for the craft. Malik also hopes to acquire the skill of barbing; which he claims he loves so much, as it is an avenue for him show his creativity.