Interview with Tyodugh Joseph, Artist and an Aspiring Football Star who is currently scaling life’s hurdles throuh his athletic talent, and art.
Tyodugh Joseph holds a bachelor degree in History. Due to the negative impact of the pandemic on job opportunities, Joseph has decided to pursue his childhood dreams of becoming a professional footballer while honing his artistic skills behind closed doors.
Now in the post-EndSars period, we think there’s some progress being made when it comes to hair discrimination among the youths. Though many Nigerian youths still worry about whether showing up in school with dreadlocks or wearing a colorful hairstyle will lead to another harassment from lecturers.
Before now, there have been countless cases of youths being arrested for carrying dreadlocks, twists, tinted hair, and other hairstyles that are deemed as “indecent.”
So, have you been a victim before?
I didn’t get to keep dreadlocks until my graduation from the university. Though, I’ve never been harassed by any law enforcement agency. But in some environments, many have fallen victim.
Different hairstyles are influenced by different reasons. For me, I maintain this style because I play football. And I’m careful with the friends I keep. Each day, I wake by 6:30A.M. and off to the pitch. And by 4:00P.M. I chill out with few of my friends.
It’s wrong for anyone to be harassed because they look different or look funny or crazy. A trained personnel should properly investigate, if he or she suspects anyone of committing any crime rather than conclude blindly.
How’s life been for you after school?
I was unemployed for a long time after school. I ended with a job I never desired. It was really frustrating. So, I resigned in 2018. This was why I decided to go back to playing football. I’ve played football growing up. Football has been kind of therapeutic for me.
I know education is the basic foundation for growth, but also, I know it’s our talents and skills or ideas that will take us where we ought to be. That’s what takes us to the greatest height.
Looking at where you are now, do you think there’s a promising future for you in football?
Well, it’s really competitive and difficult to scale through a corrupt system as well. So many talents are wasting because they don’t have anyone to support them financially. I believe if you get to speak to successful footballers from here they will have their own story to tell. That’s why some don’t even return home to help. I have passion for the game regardless. I learn everyday and from my mistakes.
But sometimes do you fear you might not succeed?
I don’t regret this decision, but I do have alternative plans. While spending everyday without a job, I’ve been developing my skills in drawing, sketching and making artworks which I can sell for home and hotel interior decorations to make some money. I currently have over a thousand artworks.
What kind of art do you make and what inspires you?
Nature. Flowers. Also, what other artists have created too. Some of my designs can be imprinted on clothes as well. Recently, I came up with a different design for a football. I know how much I want to be a football star but yet I think I’ve to do this along the way. It’s my plan B.
What was life like when you were growing up?
My mom died when I was 4, and later my dad got married again. I do feel pressured because I really want to support my siblings. I may look less worried, but within me I’m highly pressured. I don’t want it to override my performance and judgements.
I want to work with someone trustworthy that could help me in marketing my artworks. I’m hopeful and would not give up. I want to rewrite and innovate today.
I left my family house, and I’m out here alone. I’m going through a lot but I hardly call home. I may be hungry today, but tomorrow, I may be stomach-filled. Despite the challenges, I still have hope.
Thank you for talking to us, Joseph.
By Elijah Christopher
Elijah Christopher is a journalist at A New Touch Of Africa, is also a creative writer, a poet, and an Io#T enthusiast. He contributed to the collaborative poem written in celebration of Edwin Morgan Centenary, the first Glasgow poet laureate and Scottish national poet from the University of Glasgow. He loves meeting people and learning about new places, cultures, events, and lifestyles.