Monday, 19 July 2010


For several weeks consecutively, I have been accused in the office of being a feminist. It is also the reason why any proposal of sorts that has to do with women’s rights or campaign causes are usually passed down to me. Usually I am called into an office, and without any words spoken, im tossed piles of paper stapled together and automatically I should know what to do with it. Either create a feature around it, or have them interviewed on your show. It’s the boring stuff. You are into that kind of stuff and let’s face it, who listens on Sundays anyway.
It really all started with euphemisms, like “madam, your girl power is too much on the radio” and “you know you have issues,….all those women emancipation issues”.

Recently, it was when the only female member of a band came to the office for an interview, and one of the guys asked where her band mates were, then she responded saying they all had too many appointments to deal with, so she had to represent them all that day. In an innocent input into the conversation, I said, “it’s good, you should shine sometimes”.

 In less than a mili- second one of my colleagues stretched his finger pointing ferociously towards me and said “ you are a feminist, have they not said this before in the meeting,…you are a feminist. Shebi they have told you, you have women liberation issues”. For the first time, I realised I had been a repeat offender of feminism crimes. However I never got the hint all the while.

Not like I owe any explanation, but im just a free spirited young woman who believes in equality of opportunity with fairness for all. As the cliché goes, whatever race, creed, gender or social class, lets all get a chance. I am all for the underdog. I was always one myself and one good person or another just gave me a chance. So im just returning the favour. Living with the power of larger numbers is hard enough.

 I don’t really believe in cultural or social segregation of roles but if that’s the way you like to work it in you family, that’s your business. Just don’t come complaining to me that your husband says you should stay home and take care of the kids and you still have to beg for sanitary towel allowance. I don’t believe I should be censored or act a certain way because I have mammary glands and a vagina. Let’s face it, that is really down to how you choose to conduct yourself. You act like a whore, they treat you like one.
The most interesting part is that there are so many strands of feminism, if you even ventured delving into two or three of them, you might just die from confusion. Radical feminists, black feminists, African feminists, post-modern feminists and as my friend Juwon says, there does exist a category such as Nigerian feminists. Gender studies is so complex, it’s more than burning bra’s, sexual liberation or becoming a lesbian. The interesting thing in all of this is that I do not care much for the tag, for selfish reasons of course. I do subscribe and adhere to a lot of feminist ideology but I wouldn’t marry a house husband, im perfectly ok with cooking and domestics plus I am even more alright with his money being our money too. I can’t really object to being looked after now, can i? And oh yes…I’m not interested in carpet munching. It might just be a bit to boring for me, plus the catholic school girl in me just wouldn’t allow. Besides that, im carrying my liberation placards all the way. Give me a couple more weeks and I will let you know if I still have a job.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010


They said I take a lot from my father. The love for words, simplicity and even thriftiness. He always had big books. I could never really understand any of the words in the books. There was a long row of encyclopaedias on the living room shelf. He spoke with very robust vocabulary. It was always audibly pleasurable watching him talk. His Ibibio was anglicised when he spoke. A lot less tonal than my mother. Every Ibibo sentence from my father’s mouth was punctuated with big English words as he stuttered them. It was as though he could sense that they did not understand whatever it was he said but he was still going to say them never the less.
He sounded smart and it seemed he took his time and thought through things before he made his utterances. In front of his brown bedroom door laid immaculately, were archived stacks of Tell and Newswatch magazines. We were only allowed to sell the piles of Vanguard and Guardian to the Hausa Mallams who would recycle them for Suya wrapping. He made me recite riddles and rhymes I had memorised at school to his friends when they came to visit. I think that he must have thought of me as a smart little girl with a bit too much character too.
They said it seemed his heart had softened when I was born. It was i, my mother sent with the weeks shopping list for money, it was I my brothers told to ask for permission to go to the country club and it was I they sent to ask for groundnut from underneath the bed and cashew nuts too. Every week my mother went to Iddo market and bought a boot full of grape fruit. We squeezed them till our hands became wrinkly. I liked the slightly sweet and tangy taste of them. I liked the way the pulp sent shock waves through the nerve endings in my teeth. Maybe I liked the bitter sweetness because my father always gave me some left over in his special cup to drink. Like when he poured me some of his left over spa water in a cup to drink. It was like soda water in a big green corked bottle. He always left a piece of meat for me in his plate as I watched him eat through the metal railings from the top of the stairs. He would call me to pack up his dishes and I wondered if he was pretending he didn’t know I was there all along.
It was the same way he called me to taste his grape fruit juice when his relatives told him my mother was trying to poison him, and that same day he told me to drink his tea too.
He had never beaten me before, and he wasn’t really a shouter like my mother, well from what I remember. He always wore the same three Safari suits and tied a wrapper on his waist in the evening. The heavy knot folded into the fabric and formed a big bulge on his pelvic area. Just beneath his protruding stomach. I looked nothing like him though. His eyes popped out from its sockets like his belly did over his knotted wrapper. They easily turned red from time to time.
They said I show traits of frugality the same way he did. Maybe its because I fear ever going back to the way he left me. It’s been a long time since we shared grapefruit juice together. I suppose the taste might have left my mouth now.