Kiss a random stranger today!

Toke Makinwa says so.

The ways of Twitter Nigeria, are not the ways of the Lord.

As the world came to terms with comments from an unearthed video of asshole of the year, Donald Trump from 2005, Nigerians were also dusting out their archives. That was how on the first day of this week, a video from July 2016, resurfaced. It was an episode of Nigerian media personality Toke Makinwa’s vlog. In it she implored young adults, 19- mid twenties, to live life to the fullest.

From watching the video, one gathers that Toke means to encourage in young adults, a seeking of knowledge of self. She seems to be preaching the gospel of freedom. Freedom to be. To not take life so seriously. Laugh loudly. Unroll your shoulders. Be young, wild, free.

Of course she became a trending topic on Twitter. One cannot post a video encouraging young women to ‘kiss strangers’, and ‘go clubbing’ and ‘get tattoos’ without expecting a societal frown from misogynistic, hypocritical Nigeria. And the few, who would like to think they have an understanding of the message, were not comfortable with the phrasing.

While Toke’s stance on the early twenties freedom is admirable, her definition of ways by which one can exercise said freedom is extremely limited. Fun is subjective. Clubbing may be an announcement of full living by some, meanwhile to others, a mug of tea and a soft sofa may mean the same. By limiting her examples, Toke skewered the narrative.

Another problem is the age limits for every stage. According to the Vlog, 45 year old men have no business clubbing regularly. At 28, a woman should think of settling down. These stipulations are problematic to say the least. Humans, as a rule, do not age according to their age. A girl may be 20 biologically but in reality, by a combination of her experiences and other such factors, she is 40. Such may be the case also, for the darling 50 year old Lekki husband and father of two, who in all truth has just turned 32.

The very point Toke tried to make, which is that youth should be spent being young, was rendered moot by her narrow definitions of what being young entailed and her policing of people’s right to non age conforming experiences.

While I found the video tedious to watch — she constantly moves her head in the direction of the moving camera while the editor switches from monochrome to color, and she spends a very long time attempting to explain the use of some make up product- I applaud Toke for starting a conversation. And on some level, I agree with her.

Dear yoot, remember to be. Breathe. Place your soul inside of baggy trousers and be free. Experience life on your own terms, whatever those may be. You are allowed. And if after you cross the Toke imposed age of marriage and still feel like a young babe of 19, by all means carry on. Nothing do you.

P.S — I really like Toke Makinwa. She is hard working, seemingly able to weather storms and come out on the other side with high heels and highlighted cheek bones. If my senses permit, I will be watching a lot more of her videos. Do you boo!

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