“A man does what he must — in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers, and pressures — and that is the basis of all human morality.” — John F. Kennedy, American president
There is no task more understated than the seemingly most basic: being a man.
Yet it was all we ever aspired to when younger, as Ghanaian highlife
legend Amakye Dede famously sung. We visualized the more sizable portions of
meals, not the bigger responsibilities that luxury came with, and maybe
should have known better we should have been told.
So up we grew, in haste and in ignorance, only to find out that manhood wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. It took a while for most of us to get the memo — not until the first strands of grey appeared in our beards and the first creases lined up on our brows, anyway. But that realization hardly deters us; instead, we’re inspired. Each day we step out, with our pride on the line, giving out our best isn’t an option; it’s the only way. We’ve learnt, rather belatedly, that age alone entitles no man to the finest things in life — hustle, pure and simple, does.
Personal satisfaction, though, isn’t the sole incentive. If it were, we wouldn’t brave the scorching sun, stormy seas, and dark pits just to earn that extra cedi. No, much greater reasons — dependent parents, siblings, children, lovers, et al — spur us on in our exertions, all the way to the finish line. For these, we sweat, toil, and persevere.
Well, because we are men and — until we no longer have the strength to bear it — that’s our charge to keep.