Balancing Life

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This young man could very well be a college graduate or a high school graduate.

He may also not be a graduate at all.

Regardless, as the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention.

Believe it or not, this young man is a tailor.

And balanced on his head is his workstation.

Due to the inability to find employment he has resorted to fulfilling a need. In all likelihood, his place of business is somewhere in Lagos, Nigeria.

What does he do? He walks the streets looking for customers that need this or that stitched, a button here, a button there, pants hemmed, a skirt stitched. And on a good day, he may be hired to design and sew trousers, a shirt, or a dress.

He has steady customers you know; it may seem an odd career but he is fulfilling a need.

If he was in America he could have a bunch of uniformed tailors walking the street like him, or driving brand name trucks – franchised!

Mama Shujaa.


  1. Well, the fact that he's doing it suggests that he's making a living out of it, an honest living too, while at the same time providing a service and making that service more accessible by being mobile.

  2. Interesting; I must say I haven't seen this variation of the portable sewing machine before. Sad that enterprising young minds in our parts are often wasted reinventing the wheel due to lack of opportunities.
    Still nice to see someone take initiative in dire circumstances.

  3. Yes, it is nice to see this young man use his entrepreneurship abilities for honest days work rather than doing something other (like crime).

  4. I think American teens could learn a lesson about industry and motivation from him. What a cool photo.

  5. Awesome balancing. I always admire those young entrepreneurs. Hope his business goes a successful way.

  6. Anengiyefa: You are absolutely right! A stich here and a stitch there, a dollar here, a dollar there, it all adds up.

    Tamaku: Key words "reinventing the wheel" This young man is not reinventing the wheel, rather, fulfilling a need. He might not make a million dollars, but he makes ends meet.

    Moto Mama: I get your drift, but even in Africa there are a lot of young guys who get involved in crime, such as 419, drug dealing and other vices. The in-thing now is sex-tourism. Don't know if it is a crime, but...

    Sarah: Yeah, I really do admire the photo too.

    VanillaSeven: Welcome@ I remember growing up, when we had to go and fetch water for my grandparents, balancing a bucket on my head, with no hands...when I think about it, I now understand why certain African women tend to be so graceful in their walk. Can you imagine walking a good ten to fifteen minutes with a bucket of water on your head, not one spill...

    Thank you all for your wonderful comments.

  7. It's very encouraging to see young people in Africa resulting to such great ideas instead of thuggery. The sad thing is that the Kanjo shows up and chases such people away instead of protecting them.

  8. The mother of invention. I wish some of the youth around here would balance something productive on their heads. There is no excuse in this country for the road some of our young decide to travel.

  9. I loved this post because it shows that when life deals you the wrong cards, you don't sit on your a** waiting for the golden opportunity to fall from heaven. You go out and grab it by the scruff of the neck. Many thanks for sharing this tale.

    Greetings from London.

  10. Mama Shujaa for some time I've been unable to comment on your site with my google account. Hope this one comes through.

    Kudos to the young man who is not just sitting at home waiting for the government to sort him out. I celebrate him.

    Just wondering what powers that machine since it does not have the pedal and I doubt it used electricity?

  11. Big Dreams start from small ideas, who knows, from such morsels may grow big chunks of livelihood and innovation. Think Africa has a lot to offer if only its glass can be seen as half full and not always half empty!

  12. I love this post dear Mama,

    My prayer is that one day in the future, PDI will have enough funds to expand beyond Swaziland into the other countries of the continent...And that I could go to Kenya with you and see what we can do there also....

    Much love, M

  13. Wow! This displays great determination and will power! This really moved my spirit and gave me such a different outlook on the possibilities inside of myself. If there is a desire to achieve inside of you; nothing can stop you!! Mama Shujaa, this is an inspiring peace! Thank you!

  14. Always inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit, however it is manifested. It does sadden me that in some some of us, our quest for education and corporate acceptance has dulled our creative (and entrepreneurial)spirits. We can all take a lesson from this young man.

  15. Cee: Yes, and educating the Kanjo is so important. Thanks for stopping by...long time sis!

    Roschelle: You know, it is when there is exists that sense of entitlement that laziness sets in. I imagine if I asked my own children who were born and raised in the U.S. to balance something like that, they would view it as a challenge, a welcome one because of what we as parents have tried to instil in them. With the many visits back home for loooong summers with Baba na Bibi. We are thankful for that.

    A Cuban In London: Mental toughness! How do you teach that in suburbia?

    Shiko - Thank goodness you were able to say something at last, I have missed your voice - it makes me feel like nyumbani, home, the way you talk....the pedal is right there...look again, carefully...:-)

  16. Novuyo Rosa Tshuma: What a joy to hear your voice here. Welcome. I know my readers will share my excitement when they visit your blog and see your wonderful achievements as a young African writer!!! Absolutely right, big dreams start from small ideas, and frankly I think people are viewing Africa as the last frontier in many ways.

  17. Maithri: Thank you for your passion and great determination with PDI in Swaziland - what you have been able to achieve with limited resources to date is amazing. Yes, let's join forces...

    Robin: Great to see you here, its been a while...I think we need such reminders from time to time...reality checks so to speak. To sustain us, and achieve.

    Exquisitely Black: Welcome. I agree with you that our levels of comfort and sense of accomplishment can sometimes cramp us. Thanks for stopping by and I see you have a short story writing competition going on your Africa Diaspora website. I will check it out in depth, and share with my readers some more.

  18. Rethabile: Me too. I long for home, every waking moment...I come here to beat my drum so as not to choke with consummation. (:


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