In most instances the impact of the male figurehead is clearly exhibited by the experiences women encounter with those of the male species. However a hidden effect of patriarchy is experienced by young men. Boys and young men suffer in silence yet also carry the brutal effects of patriarchy , one might ridicule this observation but at the peril of society.
In the context of Africa this is an important viewpoint to note because Africa has at least 60% of its population being young people. Young-categorized as those between 15 and 35 years. The older generation in the particular case the older men are taking the same patriarchal tendencies they have used to foist themselves on women and girls and now applying them on young males in diverse fields but more so exhibited in commerce and politics.The sad scenario is that it is difficult for young men to come out in the open about such challenges.It is difficult for young males and females to take up space in public entities as age is used as a pre-requisite for entrance in many diverse fields usually eliminating young people at first hurdle. Entering public office or the judiciary becomes a mammoth task and each passing day becomes a hurdle. Unfortunately this process begins right at community level were boys are errand boys for male figures with the promise of future jobs and opportunities used to cajole them into discipline. They fight amongst each other to prove loyalty to that circle of figure heads all the while being blinded to the fact that they belong together with their female counterparts at the decision making table.
In most cases the challenges for young males are similar to those of women in the fight with patriarchs for economic and political space.Sport is another place were dominant male figures subjugate the younger people as they usually possess the resources that would give these young people a chance. Figure heads control the power and resources that would completely shift the trajectory of young men’s lives and use this power to garner loyalty through withholding spots and chances for important games , opportunities and platforms. Young men gather the small resources they have in order to travel for events whose bounty is then feasted on by figures such as coaches , mentors and committees.
How many times have our African governments set aside resources and allowances for young people especially to represent countries at international level only to hear that those resources never reach the youngsters but rather are imbibed by mostly male figureheads whose only prowess is the ability to occupy positions of leadership. Unfortunately this phenomenon is what perpetuates the same patriarchial tendencies when these young men finally enter into positions of authority-they take on the characteristics of their handlers and it is difficult to prescribe a different life set because they have never known it , resorting to the default settings that they know about. When they decide to fight the system they are labelled rebels and sellouts and just like women and girls are banished to the periphery of resources.It does not augur well for the African optics that most young men truly doing well have been enabled by sucking-up and not necessarily by ability as a clear connection exists between these young people and patriachy systems .
We often see them labelled as trail blazing when in fact it is their proximity to patriarchal heritage that enables their so- called wealth and connectivity accessing through the back door loans and schemes meant to benefit all.The theory of African succession has not helped young men to run away from the effects of patriarchy-others benefit yet still others crumble but the infighting for resources is legendary from village level to national level. It is a ticking time bomb how the young in Africa are being sidelined by these patriachial tendencies. The patriarchal systems can only hold on so long against the coming tide long before the barricade gives in.There is need for a serious shift in the thinking of our patriarchs. It is to their own benefit to rightly create an enabling environment for both male and female and not one over the other. Young people need to be given a stronger voice and conducive environment without connotations and attachments to the right. Without the need to belong to a certain narrative or system.
It is the onus of young people to present and fight for their right without antagonizing the very patriarchy that they want to dispose. It is important for young people to understand that being given space and taking space does not mean the sidelining of those offering the space because patriarchs are apt to feel squeezed and want to fight back rather than join hands.