This is a commonly asked question in social circles: what drives you? There are different variations to it, such as what motivates you to get out bed in the morning or what do you live for? Which reminds me of this quote that says happiness is having:
something to do
someone to love and,
something to live for -Immanuel Kant
When it comes to having something to live for; that thing that is our life’s purpose and goal, it is one thing to say “I am driven by my life’s purpose” and yet another to actually mean it. When asked this question, people often speak of passion and following their dreams but for most of us coming from African nations, our driving force is survival.
This may sound negative or limiting. I don’t mean that most African youths do not have dreams. For sure we do and we dare to dream big dreams. Some of us are fortunate to live out those dreams in our lifetime, but the reality is that the majority of young Africans, especially the marginalised and the poor, will tell you that every day is a race for survival. Our main goal is to survive another day and live well enough to be able to take care of our loved ones. Most of it is to do with our governance structures and a lot of my friends, who are part of the African diaspora, will tell you about the black tax phenomenon. Black tax is a colloquial term for sharing your salary with family and making sure that they are well taken care of before considering taking care of yourself Source.
As for me, I can say that I am driven by the need to make sure me and my own are well cared for. My main goal is to live a comfortable life and basically survive. I have personal dreams and ambitions, but none of these are driven by my own selfish ambitions. I cannot afford to have selfish ambitions because in our culture, when one of us makes it, the whole tribe makes it. Well, tribe might be an exaggeration, but close to it. My close family is my tribe so to speak. Everything that I do, for instance, my pursuit for a higher education, is not only to improve my standard of living, but most importantly, it is so that I can be able to provide for myself and those that I love.
Now it is your turn…