What does duress mean in the lives of those who are not by definition
understood to be living in duress—namely, upwardly mobile young people in a relatively
peaceful city in southeast Nigeria? In this article, I try to answer that question
by presenting the life story of Azu, a young designer in Enugu who has made his way
out of a poverty-stricken background through a relatively successful entrepreneurship.
His biography, based on interviews and observations, and partially through a shared
experience of constraint in Nigeria, serves as an example of duress in the lives of those
who—by family, educational background, or career success—are considered “well-off” compared with most youths in the country. I argue that duress for these youths is
informed by social expectations due to their acquired status as much as by the sociopolitical
uncertainties that they have been confronted with throughout their lives.