“A creative is a person whose creative work shows sensitivity and imagination. A person who grows or makes or invents things. illustrator – an artist who makes illustrations (for books or magazines or advertisements etc.)” – http://www.thefreedictionary.com
A creative is someone who can think up ideas and or execute them, a person saturated by ideas and innovations. Creatives are smart people (not necessarily book-smart) and they are everywhere around us. They are not limited to any field or to a specific walk of life.
Being a creative in Nigeria, especially if you are looking to make money from it, is pretty difficult. There are several challenges that creatives encounter in Nigeria and I’ll like to talk about a few.
Maximizing ideas and making profits off them is a sport in Nigeria. Most creatives are just freelancers, not because they like doing charity work, who no like money? Most of them do freelancing because that’s their only hope. A very large percentage of creatives are actually earning less than they deserve and a relatively larger percentage are not getting zilch from their works. Yet, they are expected to keep churning out works every now and today just to stay relevant and build their portfolios.
Let’s talk about the stigma. One would think being a creative comes with societal appreciation and adulation but far from it. In this part of earth, its quite the opposite. The average Nigerian Creative is seen by a lot of people as a failure, tagged lazy, an olodo, a person of lesser intellect. Should we describe the insults usually hurled at them?
Na poetry we wan chop? How many drawings you wan sell before you go buy car? You’ve been writing since 5 years yet you still stay with your dad, like, when will your writing pay? You want me to marry you, is it these paper ideas and plans our children will eat? Your mates are working in Chevron, you dey here dey say you be brand influencer. Mr Innovation, hunger go beat you scatter ehn, no go find job. App developer? hahaha, oga na cyber cafe you for open. Website developer when dey drink garri, you better sell your lapee or make you use am do yahoo.
Another problem is what I termed ‘abroad privilege syndrome’. Many investors have this rubbish mindset that the tech guys abroad are somehow smarter, that the abroad artists are somehow better than our local ones, that our poets, writers, engineers and all creatives are substandard and prefer out sourcing jobs outside the country. If my own countryman doesn’t believe in me, who will? Oyinbo?
The pressure that creatives go through is actually very burdensome and worrying enough, then top that with a country that is failing or at the brink of social, political and economic suicide and you have a rough idea of why Nigerian creatives sometimes give up on their ideas and sometimes, themselves. They result to making money by quicker, mostly illegal, means like cyber fraud, rituals, robbery, kidnapping and several other horrible vices. Some of them eventually end up dead or in jail. Wasted. Some others who were not evil-minded enough to result to these, and yet still sinking deeper from societal pressure, end up taking the seemingly less painful and quicker route; suicide. Our graveyards are littered with broken dreams and buried ideas. Tragic
This is not to target anybody, its just to show the world some of the challenges that creatives go through in Nigeria. The lot of us are struggling to keep up in an environment that spits on our works and scorns our resolve or beliefs in our ideas. If you’re one of those creatives going through tough times, I feel you, I understand you and believe me, our time will come. Whether here, Canada, UK, US, China or any other country that regards us, we will survive and we will breakthrough. We are Nigerian Creatives and we will keep fighting and hoping on our ideas, till our world is painted in the colors of our dreams.