‘…art and community in Africa are clearly linked...I believe that it is impossible to write anything in Africa without some kind of message, some kind of protest.’
have been consciously in the Arts for about 10 years now and Chinua, from the
grave, seemed to have whispered Africa to my heart and hearing.
having heard so much about him(and researching on his role as regards
Pan-African Human Rights promotion and preservation), I decided to look into
his work in August 2013. I also did get a download of Things Fall Apart.
studied Things Fall Apart and There Was A Country closely. I was driven,
however, and more attached to the latter than I was and am to the former.
Perhaps this was as result of the clarity of his expression which was richly
spread through-out his personal history of Biafra and the maturity and wisdom through he addressed the issue of the role of the African writer.
now, I gave just a few African authors more than the attention my academic pursuits
demanded. I simply could not identify with their descriptions of the wars,
society, friendship, history, dates, names, beauty, love, betrayal, passion,
understood that the knowledge of Africa was -and still is- salient but they seemed somewhat
incomplete and burdensome to assimilate. As though to make matters worse, the
subjects Government and History were not on my O’Level scheme of work so I just
ran past it without much ado. Then again, with the gist ofChimamanda of Purple Hibiscus; Chibundu of
Spider King’s Daughter and Jude of Walking With Shadows, Africa suddenly leaped into light and became
alluring to me. Tinapa and the Carnival spiced it up a whole lot. Ebony Life TV
crowned it all.
by all these, I was determined to know Africa. I now desperately needed to know her for myself.
art needed to know her. My life, love, ethics, academics and style yearned impulsively. Yet the African story to me was as bleak as ever until I read Chinua in August.
description and style of writing in his last book broke the ice for me. I do not pride myself in knowing the completely flawless
truth now. But I feel richly blessed to know this much.
am particularly thrilled by his articulation of the role of the African writer
in the multiracial world with multifaceted issues. Given some deep thought to
these lines, I become more convinced that never has this issue been addressed
this eloquently and honestly. I have to share this with you. These are excerpts
from his last book which has spun me in no little way. Especially the issue of
whether or not the African writer should participate in African politics:
‘There are some who believe that
the writer has no role in politics or the social upheavals of his or her
day.....I believe that the African writer who steps side….will become like the
contemporary intellectual of futility in
many other places asking questions like: “Who am I? What is the meaning of my
existence? Does this place belong to me or to someone else? Does my life belong
to me or to some other person?...The question of involvement in politics is really a matter of definition....”’
The truth be told, this is no little task-
African politics being all that it is today. I used to think that only spectators
are in the better position to describe or criticize the dance. Then again, no
one is the dance or knows the dance more than the dancers who dance the dance.
He further relayed the position as it was in
early post-colonial Africa where ‘freedom’ being a state too hard to define or
manage left everyone to his/her measure of uncertainty and hesitation,
especially the writers and intellectuals.
‘What then do we do as
writers? What was our role in our new country? How were we to think about the
use of our talents? I can say that when a number of us decided that we would be
writers, we had not thought through these questions very clearly. In fact, we
did not have a clue what we were up against….A major objective was to challenge
stereotypes, myths, and the image of ourselves and our continent, and to recast
them through stories-prose, poetry, essays, and books for our children. That
was my overall goal….I had no idea when I was writing Things Fall Apart whether
it would even be accepted or published…,A major concern of the time was the
absence of the African voice….Africa was bound sooner or later to respond….To
do this effectively her spokesmen-the writers, intellectuals, and some
politicians, including Azikiwe, Senghor, Nkrumah, Nyerere, Lumumba, and Mandela-
engaged Africa’ s past, stepping back into what can be referred to as the ‘era
of purity,’ before the coming of Europe….This was a special kind of
inspiration. Some of us decided to tackle the big subjects of the day-
imperialism, slavery, independence, gender, racism…. I borrowed proverbs from
our culture and history, colloquialisms and African Expressive language from
the ancient griots, the worldviews, perspectives, and customs from my Igbo
tradition and cosmology, and the sensibilities of everyday people….by ‘writing
back’ to the West we were attempting to reshape the dialogue between between
the colonized and the colonizer. Our efforts we hoped would, would broaden the
world’s understanding, appreciation, and conceptualization of what literature
meant when including the African voice and perspective…. This is amother way of
stating the fact of what I consider to be my mission in life.’
Learning about the Negritude –black
intellectual and political liberation struggles/ independence movements, I have
begun to appreciate the likes of Wole Soyinka; Steve Biko; Nnamdi Azikiwe;
Kwame Nkurumah; Jomo Kenyatta; Julius Nyerere; Partrice Lumumba; Nelson
Mandela; Walter Sisulu; Aime Cesaire, and Leone Gontran Damas. To understand my
place in my society as a writer, I appreciate that history is a wonderful place
to begin even as I consider the ‘Great Story’.Chinua further writes that…
‘If one didn't realize the world was complex, vast, and diverse, one would write as if the world were one little county, and this would make us poor, and we would have impoverished the novel and our stories …we must hear all
stories. That would be the first thing. And by hearing all the stories we will
find points of contact and communication, and the world story, the Great Story
, will have a chance to develop....The reality of today, different as it is from the reality of my society one hundred years ago, is and can be important if we have the energy and the inclination to challenge it, to go out and engage with the peculiarities, with the things that we do not understand.’
Without this we just churn out great material
that serves no salient purpose. This is more so the case, I think, when certain
themes are over flogged to the utter detriment and disregard of others. Africa,
as it is in the 21st century, has so many great themes which we may
I would love, for instance to read a novel
about what the internet has done to Africa or the survival of our values and
African languages in moments soon after now. I would love to read about Osuofia and
the devasting culture shock he comes face to face with as he tours the world. I
would love to read native African thoughts on inter-racial romance. I would
love us to address adolescent relationships and sex education; the streaks of
social networks and technology as it drives our world faster in varied
directions; human rights campaigns….I would love this and much more. This is
not just because such would entice and
entertain me but because these are things
that will make my
parents understand this generation more. Also these are
that the present age can identify with and propagate.
Today, I celebrate the contemporary Negritude
as includes Helon Habila; Chimamanda Adiche; Jude Dibia and several others who
have built new standards for the African literary picture. An Africa perhaps
with not as many polygamous homes, kolanuts or witch doctors. An Africa with
deeper themes, simpler diction and clearer thoughts. One which we should
develop as the days go by.
‘…nobody is asking the
new writer or intellectual to repeat stories, the literary agenda or struggles
of yesteryear, it is very important for them to be aware of what our literature
achieved, what it is has done for us, so that we can move forward.’
a great thing that we have Book Festivals now and Literary Prizes. These are
quite commendable steps. However, long-term mentorships would go a very long
way in walking Africa to its literary future.
As an African writer I always should remember
‘… it should be the
quality of the craft, not the audience that should be the greatest motivating
‘The triumph of the
written word is often attained when the writer achieves union and trust with
the reader, who then becomes ready to be drawn deep into unfamiliar territory,
walking in borrowed literary shoes so to speak, toward a deeper understanding
of self or society, or of foreign peoples, cultures, and situations.’
therefore ask that even as we script out the most exciting and sensational of
what Africa is, should and will be, let us never forget the values that bind
our art and the one voice whispering to us all, Africa.
the journey of humanity –our journey- has cost us quite a ‘bit’: World Wars;
disasters, genocide, hatred, protests, revolutions, pacts, treaties, laws,
peace, love, pacts, more love, then tough love, contempt, tyranny,
dictatorship, dissatisfaction…the list is endless. But humanity has survived to
an extent that she can be called a survivor. However, she can take only so much
before she gets to that ‘here’ when she can be stretched no more. At that point
she gets taut and things get ugly. This has been the case for us for as long as
most of us can remember. Peace is so disturbed every now and then that peace
uninterrupted is disturbing. Then again humanity is special, delicate, deserves
to be unconditionally respected and allowed to enjoy quality existence - or
these are the implications of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
This document is an international outcry setting out the standards and
aspirations of a quality existence a man, woman, boy and girl should have both
individually and collectively.
these are mere aspirations and have since then been left to global and regional
international institutions to expand and define. So at this point, it is fair to
say that, though ‘Human rights are the rights that humans have just because
they are human’, there is no universally accepted scope of what they may
contain or not permit as they case may be.
the case, I am particularly fond of Africa’s de jure stance on Human Rights as can be found in
Charter on Human and Peoples Rights- my being African has got nothing to do
with this. Yes, yes…the Charter goes ahead to heartily embrace the relevant
global international aspirations as reflected in the UDHR: the rights to
life…freedom of expression, association…thirty solid articles as they are, yet neatly
articulated in the African Charter.
the great thing about the Charter which sets it apart from other regional human
rights treaties and documents is the singular fact that it recognizes that the
individual, as an individual, has a role to play in the implementation,
promotion, preservation and protection of human rights. The details of these
duties are to be found in Articles 27-29
of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
crazy am I about two of these duties- contained in Article 29 paragraph 2 and
7. Paragraph 2 states that the individual shall have the duty to, ‘…serve his national community by placing his physical and
intellectual abilities at its service’, while paragraph states,
‘To preserve and
strengthen positive African cultural values in his relation with other members
of the society, in the spirit of tolerance, dialogue and consultation and, in
general, to contribute to the promotion of the moral wellbeing of the society.’
me, these provisions are the most beautiful things about Human Rights in
Africa. The individual
is mandated to ‘change the world’. This is actually a
law. A must. With this, it is now clear, as it should be, that Human Rights is
not just a liberty. It is a big responsibility for the present age.
is a great call streaming loud and clear to all of us to come out; to stand out
for Africa among the likes of Chinua Achebe- who laid out the African
civilisation for the whole world to appreciate; Wole Soyinka- who is involved
in numerous international artistic and human rights organisation (including
being the United Nations named UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for the promotion of
African culture, human rights, freedom of expression, media and communication);
Fela Kuti- who vented his disregard and disagreement with misrule in Africa
through his music; Jeta Amata- who through his movie, Black November, brought
the world’s attention to the gross environmental degradation and its lethal
consequences occasioned by the oil spills in the Niger Delta which have been
unattended to; Mo Abudu- who through her Pan African Televison Network, Ebony
Life TV, transforms brings to the international scene, through entertainment, a
more sensational and befitting version of Africa that what the rest of the
world have been deceived into believing;Ken Saro Wiwa- who devouted himself entirely in the non-violent
struggles of his people who suffered extreme environmental damage from decade
of indiscriminate petroleum dumping; Gani Fawehimi(SAN)- who through law
practice stood out, lived and shouted for human rights; Omotala Jalade Ekeinde-
who has equally proven herself in human rights activism through her
participation as a United Nations World Food Programme Ambassador; the Walk the
World campaign in Liberia; her NGO the Omotola Ekeinde Initiative for Youth
Empowerment; and her recent campaign in the course of which she shot a video
asking Shell and the Government to Own Up, Clean Up, Pay Up and take
responsibility for the Oil spills in the Niger Delta….It is official. The list
of Africans who have stood out for our rights are inexhaustible. And for me,
this is Human Rights.
we have witnessed, Human Rights violations are getting more systematic and
organised by the day. Smooth operations.
Treaties are nice, but activism and individual
duties need to be further encouraged and sank deep in the grass roots where the
worst of these violations all occur and rights need to see light.
days, dictionaries fail me so I will just go for it…
the Twenty First Century ‘civilised society’, Human Rights is humanity’s only
claim to a good life and it is her duty to stand out; to contribute; to make
this happen. After all…It is Human Great; Human Rights.
a few topics make our hearts skip two beats like‘Sex’. It is more or less the
next universal language besides music -and perhaps fashion. Its power and
prowess spreads like fluid fire through every sector of our lives: academics,
religion, entertainment, family, media, social networks, work place ethics,
interpersonal relationships, group co-existence, societal morals and values;
and the Law. The very mention or hint of it catches our attention. We give it
some thought in one way or the other at least once in 24 hours. Then again, it
is discarded in inter-personal and ‘mature’ conversations as a dirty and immature
thing to consider.It is equally an
arguable contention that ‘sexy’
is the twenty first century’s standard for smart, smooth and attractive.
Sex sells almost everything from books, music, clothes to toothpaste and SIM
Cards. It is here and it bothers me today. So let’s deal with it.
I am not one to give definitions –the world is
flooding with those. We have cliché lines like ‘Sex is special’; ‘Sex is dirty’;
‘Sex is adventure’. And hey! I feel sex is just sex. It is a factor out here to make man’s existence
more exciting; a girl’s life more interesting; a woman’s role more inspiring
and a boy’s life more defining.
Now let me explain while getting down to
basics. Sex is a delicate issue, element, factor … –whatever you choose to call
it- that plays a very great role in how we eventually turn out or never turn
out in almost every other facet of our lives. It is a long term shelf property.
You just cannot afford to joke with it. Life would have been a lot simpler- and
boring- if it were not here. But it being here has led- and is still leading-
to a lot of beautiful, ugly and amazing things that I cannot afford to deny its
weight. However, I do admit that it is a very large topic to exhaust in just
one post. So for now I am narrowing down to sex in the life of a youth. Youth
meaning from ‘kuchi kuchi’ to ‘Hi mum. This is the girl I want to marry.’
I go all academic, I want to state boldly that kids know and are conscious of a lot more than
we give them credit for.Me ma I sabi say wen I bin small, the
thing dem wey I sabi eh, e fit full River Niger remain change wey go fit still
throw big bash. What I am saying is that the mind of the African child can handle a lot
more than we think. The topic of sex and sexuality is a remarkable part
of their lives from a time earlier than we can imagine. The study of Psychology
brings to light that a human being is quite conscious of pleasure and pain and
the means through which it could be attained and avoided from the minute he is
born. At some point the human baby is fascinated with passing faeces. Yes. This
gives her sexual pleasure. The cool relieving feeling of being unburdened.
Yeah! Then at another he discovers that whenever things get into his mouth he
is in ‘heaven’. So the next time he sees something tangible within reach it’s
gotcha! And Wom! Ohhhhhh! Such
satisfaction it gives with the tongue dancing all around the object feeling the
rough or smooth surface area of the object. Juicy too. When they cannot reach any
object, their thumb goes in. These are stages that they must pass through and interrupting
it or punishing them for it totally out of place as this would lead to adverse
again the child grows to have sensations whenever he touches certain parts of
his body. He begins to
wake up with unsolicited erections. She suddenly prefers male company
more. She appreciates handshakes but hugs would be just right. At this point
they are more than ever prepared to listen to lectures on this seemingly brand
new world of great sensations. Like a saying goes ‘When a student is ready a master
will appear’. Like it or not the child has questions on his/her mind. She wants
to know where babies come from. He wants to know why erections do not just mind
their own business and stay away. There are countless other questions that run
through their minds and have become the major topics for peer pass-times.
in a society that predominantly neglects discussing sex with kids, these kids
are embarrassed to even hint the topic amongst adults. ‘I do not want dad or
mum to see me as a bad boy.’ On the other hand dad or mum either does not pay
attention when a girl visits him constantly, or simply does not mind that her
phone vibrates a lot more -that is if her eyes are not already perpetually
glued to it.
grow right before our eyes yet quite a number of us eventually say that we do
not know what happened. The amazing thing is that by hook or crook they must
learn something from someone who is somewhere. It must happen. This is a fact.
What dad will not address some other man or boy out there will. What mum does
not tell them they will discover. God bless the internet, these kids are faster
than kids have ever been because there are over a million and one sources at
the tap of their finger. No try them o!
topic of sex and sexuality is such a salient part of our lives as individuals
and as a society that it should not be taken for granted. The more reason this
topic should be handled by the world’s greatest leaders: parents, big brothers,
big sisters, pastors, teachers, mentors, uncles and aunts. By this I mean the
proper handling of the issue of Sex Education by those who are in the best
positions to handle it.
the course of my research for this work I came across several great sources
that have exposed me to so much information that I began to wonder how I coped
before I read them. One remarkable material which I shall review here is THE SEX ED HANDBOOK, A Comprehensive
Guide for Parents by Dr. Laura Berman.
fourteen page material is broken into two major parts. The first is purely
textual but is complemented by the second which comprises of visual aids. In
the first part there are six subdivisions which contain very simple lessons for
the teacher and the pupil involved as is spread in a step-by-step format for
different age ranges starting from the scratch.
begins with the posited idea that ideally Sex Education should begin at birth…
‘Yes, even a toddler can understand
(and needs to understand) information about how her body functions and genitals.
Why? Because if she leans to be ashamed of her body or is confused about her
body, this can present later in life as body image issues or shame surrounding
Laura goes on to tell us great ways to teach the child to embrace his/her body.
One of such include:
‘Tell her the correct names for her
body parts, and use them every time. Don’t use nicknames to refer to her
genitals. This teaches her that her body is something to be hidden or masked. Correct
terminology helps her to understand and embrace her body without reservations
on, at ages 2 to 3, she points out that no matter how shocked you are when they
start asking questions, they must not be hushed. She proffers several means
through which more ‘educated’ and helpful guidance could be rendered. She also
‘This would also be a good time to
teach your children that their private parts are their own and that no one else
should touch them, other than their parents/ caregivers who are helping to wash
them or wipe them. Also let them know that other people’s private parts are
strongly holds that the lessons of ‘good touch’ and ‘bad touch’ at this age,
insisting that children should be taught that if someone ever touches them
inway that they do not want to be
touched, they should say ‘Don’t touch me that way’ and that they can also tell
you or a teacher. Use of illustrative instances that could pass for good or bad
touch would go a long way.
child questioning spree keeps growing and flowing. ‘Where do babies come from?’
or ‘I hear a kid at recess talking about an “erection” What is that?’ She
proffers stages in which to meet the demands of these large questions. At this
stage it would be timely to give a simple explanation of that special place in
a woman’s body called the uterus/womb. It
is equally ok to say that when a man and a woman love each other and are
(insert your own values here, such as when they get married, X years old, etc.),
the man has sperm and the woman has an egg. The man’s sperm fertilizes the
woman’s egg and a baby grows.
they ask about how the sperm and egg gets together, she advises that we use the
visual aids as provided in the second part of the handbook for clarity and
simplicity. They you teach the chid that the sperm is produced in the man’s
testes which is inside his scrotum and the egg comes from the woman’s ovaries.
‘The sperm and egg meet in her
fallopian tube, and then the fertilized egg travels down the fallopian tube to
the uterus, In the uterus, there is a nice cushy layer of nutrients and the
fertilized egg starts to grown there.’
the big question comes… ‘How does sperm get into the woman’s body?’ At this
time you have to boldly and categorically tell the child, Look…
‘When a man and a woman (insert
values here such as ‘love each other’, ‘only want to be with each other’, ‘are
married’), the man puts his penis inside the woman’s vagina (anatomy lesson
having already occurred) and the sperm comes out of his penis in a fluid called
semen’ and it goes up into her uterus to her fallopian tube, where it meets the
you have said it. Congratulations! You can blink now. However, your job is not
over yet. Before the child gets into puberty, she advises that it…
‘…is a good time to talk about how
semen is made, ovulation, menstruation, tampons/pads, wet dreams (nocturnal
emissions is the correct term). Don't forget to include the other changes that
happen with adolescence, such as hair growth, deepening voice, sweat
production, oily skin, growth of breasts and penis and sexual thoughts/
is your duty to convince them these changes are totally normal and happen at
different times to everyone. For girls, it could occur between 9 and 14, while
for the boys they come along a little later.
‘Reassure them that they can come
to you any time they want with questions or concerns as they start to go
through this sometimes scary process.’
is very important you sit with them in a relaxing atmosphere to discuss the
issues of masturbation, orgasm, pregnancy, homosexuality, lesbianism and
nocturnal emissions. You can tell the girl child that it is ok to have orgasms
in their sleep as well.
‘Explain what an orgasm is simply
by saying that it is a really pleasurable feeling
that comes from your penis or
vulva being touched. To be more in-depth, say it’s an intense contraction of
the muscles in the area that feels like a beautiful release.’
must however, come to grasp with the fact as they get older sex education
should become less of a monologue and more of a conversation. Several other
related issues may come up such as oral and anal sex, Human Immunodeficiency
Virus, safe sex and birth control.
Dr. Laura further went on to advise that when we start talking to them about
the mechanics of sex we should simultaneously be addressing our hopes and
dreams for their sex lives.
‘For example, what you’d like for
them their first time (to be with someone they love and trust, who is going to
respect them and care about making them feel good, who loves them and whom they
love in return, someone who is going to be with them the day after and not talk
about them, someone who deserves the amazing gift that their body and sexuality
must reinforce these lessons and values through constant checking on them,
revisiting the issue and always being available, open and patient enough to
‘…just because you are having these
discussions with your children doesn’t mean that you are giving them the green
light to have sex.’
insist to their face, warmly but firmly…
‘I want you to have the information
so that you aren’t confused or misled by kids at school, but that doesn’t mean
I think it’s okay for you to have sex right now. I want you to wait until
(insert value here…you get married, get a degree. Turn X years old….)’
gone this far, you must be sure their usage is surprised or at least be in the
same room when they are browsing. Make sure their laptops, phones are used
within your control and explain to them the reality of online sexual predators.
And let the ground rules be clear on pornography and sexting (sex chatting).
The media is your friend
Laura believes – and I agree- that we can use the sexual messaging in the media
to our advantage
by making it a ‘teachable moment’. If a sexual scene comes on
screen, do not just snatch the remote control and change channels. Turn it into
‘Remember when we were
watching that movie and they started discussing oral sex? Did that make you
uncomfortable? Is that something kids at your school talk about? Is it
something they do?’
should give your child the chance to come alive, trust and bond with you
without shame or fear.
The Role of Self Esteem
I love what she
‘Teach your children
that their sexuality is a gift and a joy and that it is something
not be tossed aside or used and abused by others.’
further advises that we should not let the kids know that sex feels great and
is wonderful experience…
only under the right circumstances and with the right person.’
it is not the right time or person, it can be disenchanting or saddening, in
place of inspiring and exciting.
‘Tell her… you want her
first time, her every time to be beautiful and amazing, a time when her body is
respected and valued, not used and discarded.’
Laura did a good job on this if I may so myself. Then again I’d like to add that
Sex Education is equally part of our spirituality. A proper and timely one
enhances our ability to relate with ourselves and openness on our part to God.
Bible relates to us in Genesis 1: 26-28 that God chose to make man in a
specific form so that we may be perfect to take his (man) place in the dynamic
of things. When God was done, He was so fascinated by how and the result of the
creation of the human race that he blessed with breath and live, and gave them
the charge and capacity to reproduce.
God also gave us a special place amongst creation and a special relationship
with Him. The Bible further relates to us in Romans 12:4-6 and 1 Corinthians
12:22-23 that each part of us is special, important and useful in completing
the big picture of our lives and that even the seemingly ‘lower’ ones are to be
treated with much care.
as an issue in the Bible comes up again in the John 8: 1-11, the situation of
the adulteress who was about being stoned to death. Nothing that was said about
her shook Jesus- they must have called her all sorts of names. Their
rationality probably was that she was different brand of human who did not
deserve to live. However, when Jesus rose His head, he said, ‘Let anyone among
you who has no sin be the first to throw a stone at her.’ Let anyone of us who
does not share in this nature of being a sexual being filled with sensuality
and desire stand out. Let anyone of us who does not have to face hormones stand
up. Of course no one was that bold to lie because they had been convicted by
their very own conscious that all shared in her ‘imperfection’. But the special
message in this is that Christ said to her, ‘I do not condemn you, go and sin
no more.’ Go and live above imperfection. Go and be conscious of your beauty.
Go and handle thing properly next time.
child, man and woman in the human race is an image of beauty both inside and
out. Consciousness and education is the key to unlocking this and letting us
come alive. The Bible holds in Proverbs 22:6
‘Teach a child
the way he should go, he will not stray from it while he lives ’
do not negate the fact there are ‘more important’ things to talk about with the
kids other than sex. But if you do not have that conversation with them to
teach them the right things ‘on time’ you may not have that chance again in the
future. You may be turning
your child into a raving sex illiterate by simply neglecting that part of
his/her life and personality. You are daddy/mummy now but you will not
always be instructor. They need to hear it now that their heart is going ke-di-keto ask questions, watch and listen. In addition it will afford you a wonderful intimacy and a refreshing relationship on a whole new level with your child/ward. So c’mon!
Let’s talk about Sex baby!
Nigeria, Africa and the rest of the world are flooded with tastes and trends. Channel E is saying one thing. The Fashion Police is saying another. The Fashion shows and magazines seem to be in a world of their own. The near weekly ashebi temptation does not make things less complicated. The various pictures of our lives of our lives make us go 'Hey! I need that suit'; 'I could use a pair of blue suede shoes'; 'I can not go wrong with Ankara'; 'Malaysian hair always works'; 'Platforms take you anywhere'; 'Red is the colour'...Omo e...who invent fashion sef !? And this is just one category of us.
At another wing, some of us go all high spirited to live in the moment. 'Sexy is what it is!' Flaunting the 'melon twins' and 'macho distractions'. As much as these are already a handful , we have another special category that has given up on fashion and appearance to descend to anything. There are also those who go for the 'Bottle Neck Total Conceal'
I think we should just all Watch it! A large crowd is watching. The society is such a delicate chain of events that a simple mistake or misbehaviour on our part could destroy a person forever. Think of it, an innocent child may secretly admire you and mirror absolutely everything you wear. And to such a child 'sister cleavage' is the true definition of a cut-throat sensation.
We hear and know of things about lifestyle, personality, class, presentation and poise. Shockingly, this is part of our Christianity too. Presentation is everything and all parts of our lives are essential to our ministry of getting the world to see God in a refreshingly inspiring light.
Your body is the temple of God and you are the very sensational face of Christendom. What you choose to wear or not to wear, though entirely your decision, is part of your life as a Christian and equally the fulcrum on which the faith and strength of quite a number balances.
Fortunately, I will not ask you to wear this or that or to toss those away. However, I will have you know that you have a gift. You have a great mind
For God did not confer on you a spirit of bashful, but of strength love and good judgement(2 Timothy 1:7)
Let that mind, independent of all impure and external pressure, decide for you.
Through scripture the man of God is made expert and thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:17)
Then again, I will say this to you. Africa celebrates countless people for their impact in the world and in history. Most of this began with how they presented themselves; what they stood for; what they chose not to wear or say and conversely what they chose to appear in and say; the decent and positively explosive energy they bounced of on the world, and the influence they had and still have on men, women and children alike.
Looking good is an amazing business. Wonderful in all its demands, commands and reprimands. So when you decide to throw on that jacket, pair of shoes, Ankara, pleats or even have that 'it' hair cut/ hair do, keep in mind that either of three things may happen (you might inspire, disenchant/disgust, or have no effect at all on everyone) but one thing must. Eyes look at you!
I have a secret to
spill and no one else must hear of this.
There is a woman in my
life whose person I now tell you about. A woman whose life has dealt great
blows on me. Before I tell her name, I shall tell you four sins that the world
hates her for. Perhaps you will decide to be more liberal or kind to hold
otherwise. So keep an open mind and tell the winds of scrutiny to be still
until you are sure you can be as objective.
For now, it is safe to
call her M.
‘Nnanna’, that’s what
she calls me and my palpitation, in responding, betrays me. She looked into my
eyes a lot initially when I arrived making ‘silly’ faces at me. Blowing me
kisses every now and then and taming my tears to cease at her presence or touch
and my body to giggle on her tickling.
Initially, I felt
enslaved as it bothered me that two people could control my thoughts, emotions
and physiology. I felt a little less than a baby. ‘I have my pride and power!’
often I would prove with loud squeals in the middle of the night and throw the
whole house into World War II. I was entertained to see them all run around
like zombies looking for this or that to pacify me. But then like a vision in
white her two hands would reach for me in the darkness with warm palms clasping
my sides, ascending to a warmer pillow, then as usual the milk works would follow.
I loved my life.
with time M had grown more and more distinct as the thoughts my mind became
more conscious of the tastes, textures and colours of the life I lead and the
world she is now the centre of. I could recognise her even with my eyes closed.
She teaches me every day to laugh, cry and be lucid. Often relaying that as
much as I appreciate splendour, occasional lack and silence is healthy. There
has always been this thin filament that gets thicker every day between us.
Perhaps it is because of her four sins, the four faces of love:
The Face of
M tells me great things. Little and simple in their packs. She always
slips in gold nugget whispers at times when my mind was most wildly receptive
and my ears impulsively itching to listen.
She beautifully steps back and forth in my life keeping at my pace and
often a little slower and faster. She challenges my abilities to think, be
answerable and gives me the chance to be a man. While she stretches my patience
she strengthens my faith. She always applauds my feats and mildly urges me on in
flashes of polite contempt. Then again she is not always present to witness my
growing stupidity but always make me aware that she looks out for my explosive
moments and prays for me in the silence of my tears.
When I am weak, she warms me with love and understanding. She always
tells me that I am her inspiration, her pride. She inspires dad to. Whenever
she is here dad is hardly ever in a bad mood. Again she knows when to step in to
my rescue and when to side him for our good. This is one of her faces of love.
A love which gives her the right to have…
The Face of ‘Lover’
With this face she is a
shield to my immaturity. She flaunts me like a trophy to the world. In this new
light she sees me as perfect and exclusive. She always listens to me and gives
me several chances to grow up, appearing to understand even when I am most
inexplicable. She never gives up on me and she is always kind.
She is humble enough to
let me see her tears and but they are gone the next minute and love is sweet
and simple once more. Her secrets are my secrets. My life is her life and all
my projects are a joint priority.
understands that she deserves her space and I deserve mine. She is not too coy
to be silly around me and to let the whole know that she is in love. For this
reason, most of the time, it is us against the world.
I admit that she
completely owns my mind when she wants to. And no one takes our love for a
ride. She teaches me to love in simple and most spontaneous ways. She trusts in
my fidelity and fancies how I try to struggle from her charms to no avail.
Funny as it may seem, I occasionally want to run away when the love explodes in
multiple unconventional definitions. But those times cage me in the more. Then
again to achieve this, she has to have…
The Face of
As time passes in my life I independently accept that I can never be
independent. She makes this so true. Often I find myself looking at her,
inspired by the extent to which she has succeeded in outliving all that used to
stand in her way. She sees danger in nothing and is fired up simply by the
thirst to lead a wonderful life. Every part of her is a super-story. Her
academics, finances, spiritually, family, love-life, career, purpose and gifts.
She wonderfully bears this face to a lot of others besides me and has inspired
almost everything to come alive and stay that way. She is good. She is
beautiful. However, she is often misunderstood and challenged by those who
believe that her speed is a threat and an eye-sore. But then, how she handles
this so maturely marvels me all the more. When she tells me the bitter truth,
she does not blink at all and that scares me. But she knows how to have a good
time and does it properly. She does not pretend to be a fan of my madness but
quite a lot about me gets to capture her undivided attention and I feel so
V.I.P. when this happens. Truly, she can never achieve this without wearing…
The Face of
After raising five
kids- in collaboration with God and dad, she does not only have more than her
own fair share of labour pangs, mood swings, morning sickness and the works,
she has a stellar personality, great taste in meals, entertainment, fashion and
books. She is such an amazing companion, hostess, student and coach. Often she
plays all three at a time and suddenly the world to her is one big classroom.
We still cook together once in a while and I have to learn to accept the
painful Vitamin A that the onions cannot do without. ‘Run to wherever and return!
This onion will not cut itself ’ she says in her silence observing you as she
seems to be so engrossed with the vegetables or the stove. Who says that the
kitchen is not ‘inspiring’?
The again, in some
inexplicable way she manages to love and remember everything about everyone.
Five kids and a husband should be competing for accommodation in that little
heart of hers, but this seemingly little heart seems to expand with an
amazingly explosive rate. No one can touch its ceiling, no one can reach its
depth. She knows every subject of every homework. She joggles the expanding
social circles, health, emotional and psychological needs of us all and even
more. And she does this so perfectly it scares me.
From tooth brush
lessons to puberty to sex and relationships, everything is on her schedule and
in her purse. No wonder she hardly ever falls sick or cries. She enjoys a
healthy marital relationship with dad and together they are impermeable. So
it’s better they do not even sit on your matter because it is their way or the
high way. In this light, I hate to admit, most of the time their way is the
best way. Every stroke of the cane and TV deprivation was just perfect for our
upbringing and maturity.
M is my mother,Mrs. Doris Chinyere Ikpo. I do not boast in her being flawless but no
woman can be as perfect as she is to bear these four faces of love at the various
phases in the lives of my sisters, dad and I. She is not only an inspiration to
me but also a standard. Each day I wake up to her is a festival for me. She is
every place I want to go to. She is everyone I want to talk to. In her, God
shows himself to me ever loving, ever kind. Still, she may not be much but she
means the world to me.
As you add a year’s
feather to your hat, I declare that everything that means happiness to you is
strengthened. May all your days be filled with joy, peace, complete happiness,
inspiration and the All-preserving presence of the Most High God . We love you
mum. We love so much. And we pray for grace for all mothers to love God; lead
beautiful lives; raise wonderful kids and husbands; and to bear the four faces
So this is the woman in
my life, I hope you do not judge me so. You know my secret and now you owe me.
But I plead and plead
again, if you see my mum anywhere, tell her that you know that we love her
because we loves her so much.