By Sheecole. J.
Today am not hanging out alone at my favourite pub like I usually do. Some think am a loner who likes to sit here and watch without ever saying much. But I like to kick back and watch the world around me and of course enjoy my cold Tusker.
Today am here to join in the graduation ceremony of a 52yrs old dude called Kagusu. He has completed a master’s degree in international development from a top university in London. If I dissect Kagusu’s character a little bit, may be you will get a rough idea why I personally find him intriguing and his story more poignant.
Whether he has known you for one day or ten years, he always introduces himself as Shakespeare Kagusu son of Mwanza. He stands about 5, 7 with a prominent beer belly and a balding grey head. He likes to look down people who are not educated. His work history is a bit matted in the fact that many who knows him from Tanzania insists that they do not remember such a prominent character in his embellished career history.
Kagusu’s dream was always to end up as a head of one government organisations in Tanzania. According to the rumours in circulation, he had sold everything he had accrued over the years to study in the UK. His long-suffering wife and their kids had watched their father overtaken by a fading dream that had seen him transform from a rational being to your typical flawed genius.
As Kagusu is lapping up the applause and in his true style looking down upon everyone else who did not hold a masters degree, I cannot help wondering about dreams and when does it become sensible to forget certain dreams.
This is more so in country like England where most achievements in life are carefully crafted around a certain age and the milestones that deemed as ‘age appropriate.’ This goes hand in hand with a society that is proudly obsessed with status. Look at any story in the papers and you will get the drift. For instance, the story will be about the public view about a certain government policy and the journalist will always feel the need to mention the fact that they interviewed so and so who lives in a £250,000 three-bed roomed semi-detached house. Of all you know, the interview could be an election of a wind turbine in the area. How does the worth of the house have to do with anything?
I guess most foreigners who migrated from African states where everyone in any senior position is usually 50yrs and over, to suddenly find themselves under the management of an iphone-generation 22yr old in a menial job such as cleaning is a long fall from the top.
According to Kagusu, he was going to gain work experience in the UK and them head off to Africa as the new kid in politics. I wonder if he had been following the news about the state of the world economy and the unemployment statistics even amongst the 21yr old graduates. He was sure that he was not cut out for the small time cleaning jobs that most foreigners seem to settle for. If anything, he was destined as the central character of the unusual success story not a footnote to a footnote.
I can’t help admiring this aging bull’s dream and drive least if a little belated. I tried to imagine what he would have made of the situation if the possibility would have been presented 30yrs back. Would he have taken it for granted like most people? Would I also be trying to chase smithereens of broken dreams in a world that would be always respect beauty over knowledge if I don’t capitalise of my unique advantage? I stare at the certificate that is being passed across the table like a master piece. I wondered if its owner would ever justify such a bad investment.
After a few months as I was driving near a self-storage warehouse, I saw Kagusu cleaning the driveway, I heard he had tried to get an office job in so many areas but the competition out there was such that for every job going, there were over 30 00 applicants most of them more than half Kagusu’s age. One of the employees told me that he drove everyone crazy yapping on all day about his Masters and his dreams. Apparently, he carried his certificate everywhere.
I heard the Tanzanian community eventually contributed to buy him a one way ticket to Tanzania after he lost the cleaning job and was evicted from his rented room which he shared with six eastern European men.
Sometimes I do wish that Kagusu would finally achieve his dream if only for a little while. As I tighten my jazz dance trainers, I keep my eye firmly on the price, least I becoming a starving dancer who never actually graduated from the club platform.