Category Archives: Writings

Analysis on Matiiku by Chiedozie Ude. GBAMLOG.COM

Ude, Chiedozie Orji.
Department of English, UNILAG

Analysis on Matiiku

It is no news that trying to analyse a live performance is a tricky job. This trickiness may be as a result of different factors such as place and time— or more impressive, the complex nature of literature. Notwithstanding this difficulty, this paper will make an attempt to critically analyse the stage play entitled Matiiku. This essay will succinctly summarise the play and its subject matter, making use of factors such as the stage management and the gestures (which some may refer to as body language) of the actors to defend the choice of subject matter. The attention that will be paid to the factors stated above stems from the technical nature of the dialogue — that is, it was, to a very large extent, exclusively performed in the Yoruba language. However, the focus on the gestures and stage management does not in any way downplay the usefulness of the dialogue in this analysis because its importance in making the play fit its setting, and also, its subject matter cannot be overlooked. Also, it is important to note that this essay will include foreign references — that is, events or even books outside the narrative — which will be used support the arguments expressed in this paper. All these will be combined to comprehensively analyse this play.

This segment of the essay will comment on the playwright and the setting of the play. Not much is known about the playwright; hence, we move on to the setting of the play. The play is set during the colonial era, and this is reinforced through the manner in which the stage was set, and the numerous festivities which took place — the market scene; the baby/ritual scene; and the court dispute between the colonial district officer and the people. The latter is unarguably the strongest supporter of the claim that the play is set during the colonial era because it not only captures the communication problems that plagued the colonial masters due to their inability to grasp the local languages employed by their subjects, but also captures the presence of the white man (The district officer); hence, justifying the time setting— that is, the colonial period. The place setting of the play is Lagos. The introduction of three characters at the beginning of the play who represent the three white-cap chiefs of Lagos is testament to this fact. They, unequivocally, strengthen the play’s genre — that is, a historical play.

The subject matter of the play revolves around a man, who was predestined to be king, right from birth. This information was exposed by the narrator, before the start of the play. Hence, one can say that the plot of the play is based on the child, whom the oracle chooses as king. As expected, he becomes the king of Lagos once he attains adulthood; although, the colonial government later wrestled power from him. It is important to state that the fulfillment of the prophecy on the life of the king is a common motif in Yoruba themed plays— that is, the oracle can never be wrong— such as Ola Rotimi’s The Gods are Not to Blame, where the pronouncements of the oracle on the main character comes to pass. Therefore, one can be justified to state that there is a theme of fate (inevitable destiny) in the play. Another thing that is worthwhile to discuss is how the scenes in the play are linked by an interlude of music and dance. These performances (music and dance) may be regarded as entertaining because of the choreographic dance steps employed by the dancers. Being a traditional play, these songs should have deeper meanings, but that is not the focus of this essay. So, this analysis will rate the musical interlude from the standpoint of pleasure and entertainment.

One may describe the stage management as almost impeccable due to the perfect way the stage was set to represent the setting, and also, their flawless deployment of the lighting technique. To me, it is this lighting technique that makes the play stand out. The lights came up when and where necessary, not a second too early or late. Unarguably, the lighting technique was most effective when it was employed to show time — that is, day and night. This topnotch use of this technique is also brought to the fore when the lights were dimmed during the ritual scene. The solemnity and sacredness of the rituals were well captured by the eerily spooky umbrella of semi-darkness. This was enough to make the watcher understand the importance of these rituals. Another important thing I noticed due to the arrangement of the stage is the market scene. The market scene is crucial in traditional plays. The market is known as a place where rumours and stories thrive. Little wonder the birth of the would be king is announced in the market setting. The market scene is also ideal for announcement of the king’s birth because it reinforces Soyinka’s principle in Death and the King’s Horseman of the market place being a strategic location for the meeting of the three realities in Yoruba mythology — that is, the world of the unborn; the world of the living; and the world of the dead. It is important to note that the market place also serves as a link between these realities. Hence, this well believed myth strengthens the writer’s use of the market scene to announce a transition — that is, from the world of the unborn to the world of the living. The stage management was described as almost impeccable at the beginning of the paragraph because it had slight flaws. One of such flaws is the bad sound systems used in the play. Aside this, one can be justified to give the stage management crew an excellent score for a job well done.

Also, the gestures of the actors also enable non speakers of the Yoruba language to have an insight on some of the happenings in the play. The slow pace, with which those who are to make prophecies on the child move, gives insight to the audience that these men must be truly special and of high importance in the society. The greatness which is proclaimed on the baby is evident when the priests and other spectators bow to the child. However, the child’s mother refuses to bow to her child; hence, bringing into play the African belief that expects a child to prostrate himself to his parents, and not the other way round.

In conclusion, if I were asked to give my personal opinion on the play, I would rate it as a largely successful performance. The topnotch techniques employed by the stage management crew played a huge role in this. As a member of the audience who could not fully grasp the dialogues, I was entertained by the dance interlude. Hence, I can boldly describe the play as a successful one. In conclusion, this essay has made an attempt to analyse the production of the play Matiiku.

Works cited:
Ola Rotimi’s The Gods are Not to Blame.
Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman.

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THE LOSS OF INNOCENCE by Frank Doherty | GBAMLOG

“Where did you say you’ve been?” My mother’s voice expressed fear, concern, anger and disbelief in just about equal proportions. The question was being addressed to my 10-year-old sister who, being older than me by a little more than three years, was (I figured) better able to withstand the rigors of such an inquisition.

With the benefit of hindsight, I have come to believe that the local abattoir was a preposterous place for anyone to be, let alone for a couple of impressionable children. However, as a seven-year-old boy, hindsight was not my strong suit, so I was probably as open to experience then as at any time before or since.

The car stopped and our neighbour – the man whose baby son my doting sister regularly took for walks in his buggy – got out to do some business. My sister and I followed him out of the car, neither of us knowing what sort of business it might be. We may have suspected that there would be animals involved, but I am quite sure that neither of us could have imagined just how involved the animals would be.

We went to where our businessman-neighbour stood talking with another man who also seemed to be quite busy and important. He was probably the foreman of the abattoir. Whatever a foreman might be, it was becoming more apparent by the second what an abattoir was.

I absorbed the scene as any innocent and perceptive child might, my senses bombarded by the sights, sounds and smells. Animals – or what was left of them – were hanging from almost every available hanging-place. However these poor creatures had managed to sustain such horrific injuries, it became clear to me that help was not at hand. This was a chilling place of no return – utterly devoid of compassion.

A sinking and terrifying feeling accompanied the realisation that (like myself) these animals had arrived at this awful place in a state of perfect health. They had managed to fall into such a wretched state of disrepair at some point during their visit and I very much hoped that I might not succumb to a similar fate.

The floor was awash with blood, guts and everything else which might normally be considered to be the contents of an animal. The air was thick with distress and saturated with the unforgettable, God-awful stench of slaughter.

I gathered that the hanging animals were expected to be dead at this stage, but here and there, a cow’s ear still twitched as the poor creature hung upside-down with its throat cut, belly ripped open and guts spilling out.

This was unimaginable suffering on an industrial scale. Never before nor since have I witnessed a scene of such carnage.

The foreman felt obliged to demonstrate for us just how the animals were killed. He fired a bullet into the skull of the sheep he had been in the process of dis-embowelling on our arrival. I am pretty sure I wasn’t thinking ‘Well thank you Mr. Foreman for that helpful and illuminating demonstration; it will doubtless prove to be an invaluable experience from which I can hope to derive incalculable benefit in the years to come.’ No, I probably wondered if I was really standing no more than three feet away from an agent of the devil himself. Shouldn’t there be a law against this sort of thing?

Those poor, dumb, pathetic creatures – they hadn’t stood a chance – on some level, they had even trusted humans and the result was unimaginably cruel. How could human beings participate in such an unspeakable act of betrayal? Yes, that was it. Amongst all of the other smells ravaging my sensibilities that day was the stench of treachery.

Whoever I might previously have been, it is fair to say that, from that day forward, my sense of how life was had changed forever.

My consciousness had been violently stretched to encompass the grotesque reality of the unfathomable cruelty and suffering of sentient creatures. Scenes of horror such as might not have been witnessed on a battlefield were indelibly etched on my 7-year-old psyche. What next?

Soon afterwards, I began to write horror stories at school. My teacher was profoundly impressed by the graphic descriptions of horror emanating from what he must have assumed to be an extremely vivid and fertile imagination.

Would that it were just a figment of some bad dream.

Many years later, I would revisit those same memories to acknowledge that perhaps I had been affected much more by the experience than I had understood or would have cared to admit.

‘What an evolutionary abomination us human beings are’ I have often pondered.
God, help us all.

Reality story: WHEN I WAS RAPED by Nicole Economou | GBAMLOG.COM

In high school, a relationship can last only a few days or weeks, enough to get one through the social events of the season, which in this case were the Spring Formal and the Powder Puff Game. Today, I cannot recall which came first. I know this: I attended both the kegger that followed the game and the formal dance with a rapist. My rapist.

He was the captain of a sports team and was regarded as having a shot at a professional career, even if he also was clearly deficient in the brains department. I liked him simply because I was concerned at the time with being popular, and dating a sports captain was an automatic ticket to the in crowd.

I was also uncomfortably a member of the Most Likely to Succeed crowd, and dating a high school sports star was becoming a habit for me; I’d previously been dating another less-than-brilliant young man who ranked high on the rosters of both the football and baseball teams. He was no prince of morals either; he dated me behind the back of his “real” girlfriend, who ultimately was crowned homecoming queen.

But we left the keg party to drive to the house where he lived with his parents and pick up some eight-track tapes for the party. I had consumed a little bit of beer at the party just to fit in, as I didn’t like beer and wasn’t accustomed to drinking. I felt drunk, unstable on my feet.

A COUPLE OF YEARS LATER, I ENCOUNTERED MY RAPIST ON SPRING BREAK FROM COLLEGE AT A HOMETOWN BAR WHERE MY DAD TOOK ME TO DEMONSTRATE WHAT A “GROWN-UP” COLLEGE STUDENT I NOW WAS.

We went in through the garage; no one was home. He pushed me down onto my back on a sofa in the family room, pulled down my pants and forced himself into me. I recall feeling acutely aware of how weak my arms felt, like jelly. I still recall the sensation of utter helplessness. I could not push him off. I recall saying “no” several times. It didn’t matter. He kept going and was done quite quickly; he pulled up his pants and in mute shock, I assembled myself and we got back into the car and went back to the party.

I vaguely recall that the dance came afterthe rape and that I attended it with him despite the rape, because I was trying to maintain the facade that I was so cool and nonchalant about sex that the attack had not upset me.

Over the next several days my mind was preoccupied with only one thought: What would I do if I were pregnant?

My parents were very strict immigrants from Eastern Europe who set a stern curfew, had complete confidence that I would attend a top university and regularly checked for signs that I’d been smoking cigarettes when out with my friends. We had never discussed sex, and I knew that although they were loving and supportive, they would be shocked at the idea that I’d had any sort of sexual relations with a man.

When I got my period, I was incredibly relieved. At the time, I felt pride at my cavalier attitude about the attack once my anxiety about pregnancy was relieved. By that time, I’d consumed a lot of literature from the ’60s, including Portnoy’s Complaint, and thought my sanguine attitude was simply because I was cool and cultured.

MY ATTITUDE AT THE TIME WAS THAT THE “POOR GUY” WAS SO STUPID HE KNEW NOT WHAT HE HAD DONE.

A couple of years later, I encountered my rapist on spring break from college at a hometown bar where my dad took me to demonstrate what a “grown-up” college student I now was. My rapist asked me to dance and I accepted, congratulating myself on my forgiving nature and again, my “cool” attitude about sex. My attitude at the time was that the “poor guy” was so stupid he knew not what he had done. I tend to still believe that.

But my rapist? Well, I found an item in the local police blotter: He’d ended up in jail on a petty theft charge. His bright athletic future never came to fruition. As for me, I went to law school when I was 28 and still never told anyone what happened to me. I worked hard to be published in the school’s law review — my topic was Rape Trauma Syndrome, inspired by an Indiana case in which the jury acquitted the defendant of a rape charge because the plaintiff had shown insufficient trauma.

The jury had been allowed to hear evidence that she’d gone out dancing in the days following the attack. The case outraged me. I knew from experience that it is eminently easy to pretend, even to oneself, that the attack “was nothing.” Yet, I still told no one of the motivation behind my interest in writing on criminal law, a field I did not pursue. To this day, although I mention the article on my résumé, I delete the reference to its title.

So before Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s letter to Dianne Feinstein was revealed to the general public, I’d recently begun telling the story of how I was raped at the age of 16 by a boy in my high school class. I had kept the story a secret from everyone in my life for nearly 40 years, with the exception of the young man I briefly dated as a freshman in college.

I never told my parents; I never told my younger sister, with whom I am still very close; and I never told any of the women with whom I was very close friends in high school and college. I never told any of my current girlfriends, until close to a year after the Harvey Weinstein allegations became public. I still have not told my sister, who knew the perpetrator. I want to shield her from it. I still have not been able to tell of it to a man I have been regularly dating for the past five years.

But I still remember the attack as if it just happened. I remember the sensation of terrible weakness in my arms and that I said “no” many times and was ignored. I remember that there was a pool at the house where the party was held, and that’s where the keg was located. It was a lovely, balmy night, typical of the town where I grew up, and I’m pretty sure the shirt I was wearing was light pink and had frilly cap sleeves.

And I still remember the cul-de-sac on which the rapist lived, and that no one was home, and details of the “rumpus room” where the rape occurred. I’m pretty sure he drove a gray Honda Civic, which was a relatively new model at the time. I remember vividly what he looked like. His name, of course, I will never forget.

THE GREAT MONDAY IS COMING by KELVIN HUGHES. | GBAMLOG.COM

“Hurry, Hurry, get your stuff together…the Great Monday is coming!”

What is the “Great Monday”?- you ask, as you scurry about to find whatever stuff it is you should take to greet the “Great Monday.”

Well the Great Monday comes on June 3d this year- and as one must do the week before the Great Monday appears – you have a week of preparation. Actually, two weeks, but I didn’t write this until week one was over. So there.

On the Great Monday – I will become bionic. Yep. A brand spanking new hip. All shiny and pain free. I won’t see it- except a few hours before they put it in me- but I am told with great certainty that I will feel the difference immediately. No pain. That is good enough for me.

However the preparations have some difficult parts to them like: will power, sacrifice, self control and dedication. First you have to do just four simple exercises on the floor, and two while seated in a chair. You are supposed to do ten reps of each, twice daily.

First they wanted to see if we could do 20 pushups. Just 20. Form wasn’t judged at all. Just could you lower yourself down to your chest (belly) and back up. Everyone but me had to do a chair pushup. Where they sat in a chair and did pushups with their arms. So I was feeling pretty good about myself. Having done twenty actual pushups, and breezing through twenty chair pushups.

To be fair, everyone was over sixty five years old. The only thing we had in common besides bad hips and knees- was pain. Everyone was in pain. And overweight too. All but two guys who somehow managed to live their whole lives with discipline, self control, and will power. I bet they weren’t even human. One of those guys weighed exactly what he did when he graduated from High School. Six foot one inches tall, and weighs 155 pounds. Thin, but not rail thin.

The other guy was my size, but lighter. LOL He got up to 199 pounds at one point around age fifty three. Since he was only five foot six inches tall- just like me- he decided he didn’t want to weigh two hundred pounds- or anywhere close to it- so he changed his diet dramatically.

Listen to this and weep: He stopped eating sugar in anything. Cereal, tea, cakes, ice cream, soda pop- if it had sugar in it- he doesn’t eat it. And…he didn’t replace sugary drinks with the chemical laden “sugar free” substitutes. He amped up his intake of vegetables, fruits, and legumes. Way up. He still eats meat, but only small portions and only fresh cooked. He hasn’t been to a Fast Food Restaurant in more than twenty years.

He allows himself two kinds of treats: Two table spoons of plain vanilla ice cream on Mon- Weds- Friday. And on Saturday he goes whole hog and allows himself chocolate covered almonds- up to ten of them! Oh, and no beer, wine, or whiskey.

It took him two years to go from 199 pounds- to 135 pounds. And he hasn’t weighed more than 137 pounds since then. His name was Nick. I called him Saint Nick after he told me his story. But neither of those two guys could do twenty push ups on the floor. I was smug.

Except for this simple fact: I weigh 215 pounds. When I did my pushups, my belly was very close to the floor. To make my chest hit…well, I had to squeeze my belly out a bit to the sides so I could reach the floor. Sad.

Then we moved on to another exercise- snow angels without the arms. That is what I call them anyway. You lay on your back on the floor, and then you move one leg out like you were making a snow angel. Just one at a time. And slide your leg, do not lift it. If you have bad hips you are supposed to move it as far as you can- even an inch is good.

Okay, so I don’t have any will power, discipline, or self control- but I do have an ego. I went home and did two sets of ten snow angels. And I moved even my bad hip leg about twenty inches away from the perpendicular. I was stoked. Then I tried to get up. Ouch. For the next few hours my hips let me know how stupid I was to invoke my ego instead of my common sense. I have to skip that exercise for a few days before the Great Monday arrives.

They also recommend no caffeine, no smoking, and no drinking of alcohol. I don’t smoke or drink, but caffeine? I drink two litters of Pepsi in twenty four hours (Hey, don’t sound so shocked- I am not done yet!). I also drink between three and five cups of tea a day. And each cup has three heaping teaspoons of sugar in it too. I know, I know, why aren’t I a diabetic? Or dead. I eat sugared cereals- and add sugar to them. I know most of you are grossed out by now- even I am getting a little nauseous as I read what I write. Yech.

I also make buttered toast and add sugar (with cinnamon) to it. And donuts. I love donuts. I will even eat stale donuts while bemoaning the fact that they are stale. And cake. And chips. And candy bars. Hmmm…as Phil said in Groundhog Day: “I have a problem…I may have a problem.”

So in preparation for the Great Monday, I have to cease sugar, caffeine, and eat dark green leafy vegetables to increase my Iron. That means I need self control, self discipline, will power and some sacrifice. I haven’t used any of those in decades. And I had to ask where the Produce Section was in the grocery store. It isn’t anywhere near the bakery.

I do walk every day, even with my two canes- but that is habit not discipline. Walking – for me- is like breathing and peeing, just something I do without notice. LOL

One week of truly healthy dietary habits, fluid intake, and religious application to the exercises. Can I do it? Part of me knows I have to. Why? Because I want the best possible outcome for this surgery. I want to go for long walks again- without the companionship of pain. But a part of me knows me well enough to know that just not having Pepsi for a week would be a Hero Level Effort on my part.

And I have to wean myself off of caffeine. Going “cold turkey” from the amounts of caffeine I take in can cause massive headaches, or worse. But I have made a start. No tea. None for three days so far. And I have slowed my Pepsi down to a one liter bottle that lasts me two days. Oh, and I didn’t buy any cereal last week- so we are out of that.

Donuts? Don’t ask. I am on a roll. LOL

I do like vegetables and fresh fruit – and I never used salad dressing on my salad. So that was a point for me. I am eating lots of green things- even rabbits and squirrels are looking at me with envy. No fruit juices though, just the fruit. Last time I ate this many apples, cherries, or pumpkins, they were in pies. Pies covered with whip cream, and a scoop of ice cream on the side.

I have also learned about squash. Squashes. There are many kinds of squash, which is kind of like a thin movie star version of pumpkins or gourds. I bought butterscotch squash…only to find out it got that name from its color- not the taste. But it is good though- especially as a cold soup.

I have eaten enough tomatoes to be considered a pasta sauce all on my own. And spinach, kale, and celery. My stools are coming out like rattan patio furniture. I have so much fiber in me now, twice I got accidentally caught by hay bailing machines. I am fairly certain – if I keep this up- I shall become wicker furniture.

No processed food. None. All my favorite Marie Calendar frozen dinners- gone. Replaced by blueberries, strawberries, and peaches. Oh, and mango too. I do add a dollop of whip cream to them though. Okay, a big dollop.

I drink mostly water now. Lots of water. Maybe that is why I am shaped like a sagging water balloon.

The Great Monday is coming. I will be ready.

Smiles, Kevin

YOUNG ROMANCE: A KISS FROM A STRANGE GIRL by Tebogo Mogoto | GBAMLOG.COM

I am tk , a guy who hardly go out at night for drinks. One Saturday night my younger bro and i decided to go out for couple of drinks. We went to the nearest pup, we got there a bit early and we picked a very nice spot where you could see everyone coming in and out.

While drinking, a group of girls came in and set right in front of us, one of them was my ex, she kept on waving at us smiling.. I wasn’t interested but i waved back.. she came to our table asked us if we could join them, I said “no we are actually with our girlfriends” … why would i wanna go to a pup to be with my ex… i mean i know her, and i know her cookie too i ate that shit.

After some few hours lot of people came in, lot of fine girls,the pup got creepy crowded.. people are dancing and drinking. It was my round to go and buy, when i came back, just after i set down, I saw two beautiful girls coming straight next to us, simply because it was the only spot with enough space.

The other girl was blond i think, then the other one was gorgeous, such a hottie, a light skinned caramel babe in adidas tracksuits damn! i still remember all her moves, i couldn’t get enough of her, every chance i got i looked at her.. she seemed a bit shy, well i thought so. I don’t know what other guys thought of her but all i know is that i would lick her from head to toe.

While my brother and i still admiring her beauty we saw two guys coming for them.. the next thing she is holding hands and cuddling with one of the “motherfuckers” sorry i mean one of the “guys” who magically later became her cousin.. i didn’t buy that. still don’t. I got bored, very irritated i immediately took out my phone and replayed messages on WhatsApp.

While at it, the hottie, charlorray its her name… she came set next to me asked me why am i here if am gonna be on my phone the whole night, I told her that she was also on her phone when she got here… but in my mind i wanted to tell her ” babes go to your man i don’t wanna get into trouble “. After talking she then went back to her lover cousin.

At my 10th drink half way drunk, i felt a very warm and soft hand grabbing my hand then i looked it was her “charlorray” she then pulled me outside pushed me against the wall… asked me if i ever kissed a stranger.. i slowly said nnno… She then kissed me …. Damn!! she was so good, so amazing just the way i loved it,. it felt like the world has stopped moving, the pup turned in to a church, drunkards turned into followers, tracksuits turned into a white dress.. it was quiet a dream.

After the kiss she wanted to leave i grabbed her and pulled her back to me kissed again, she then stopped, i asked for her number, she refused while taking my hand and went back inside the pup. It felt good, so good but was very surprised but bit worried that i will never see her again after this. In my mind everything was her, I’ll be lying if i say i didn’t think of fucking her, yes true i thought of wanting to fuck the shit out of her but she was not up for that, she was just up for kissing a stranger and i respected that.

The night got old, the pup was about to close everyone went outside, all the crowd was outside and i couldn’t find charlorray.. then i bumped into her lady cousin she then told me where charlorray is.. luckily i found her exactly where i was told I’d find her. She asked me to walk her home, i agreed.

When we got to her house, we got into her car that was parked outside, we talked like we knew each other for years, we cuddled a bit though it was a lil torture to me because i couldn’t stop thinking about the kiss and she refused to kiss me again. When i asked for her numbers she gave me two choices.. numbers or a kiss, numbers came with a package of friendship and a kiss came with nothing.. she is a good girl, friendly, kind and very calm. so I made a good choice for not choosing a kiss. but i still wanted it, wanted us to be kissing friends… Wait did i tell you that we even nursed the new friendship with chocolates…. **laughs**

***THE END***

REALITY CLASSIC TALE: LOVE? OR SLAVERY? By Hilary Chikuvira | GBAMLOG.COM


“If you are not going to be a girlfriend and wife, who is submissive, who follows the lead of a husband, then we got to deal with this now, because no wife of mine will rule my house, give me orders or go to a separate church from mine!”, said Tendai fuming, his voice was shaking from anger, l could see he was totally charged up and no longer caring to select his choice of words.
I was also fed up myself, and l retorted angrily, “fine, if you want me to be that kind of a wife and fiancée, then to hell with it, what are we even doing now? Let’s not waste each other’s time anymore. Have a great life”. I slammed his car door nice and hard as l climbed out and walked away into the dark.
So how did things get so messy?
Tendai and I had fallen in love with each other a year ago, he was all l ever wanted in a guy, ‘at first’ and l was his dream girlfriend too. Both of us at the age of 28 just thought this definitely was it. The search for true love was over.
With time there emerged those nitty-gritty human imperfections. Tendai is traditional, old school and reserved on the other hand l am less cultural and a newly emerging activist for feminism and gender equality. He is the type that prefers to not touch alcohol, deems it unclean for his soul, he prefers the traditional kind of music, and he loves spending his days chilled, watching movies or visiting family and friends. It made me look like l was the wild one, so eager to try anything and everything, ready to live, never content with sleeping before 11 pm on a weekend, and definitely never one to repeat the same activities over and over again.
So as expected in such cases, we started getting into each other’s nerves. He began to think l was too independent, l had no respect for tradition and that l could just not make a good wife for him, but this was never said out aloud. I began to find him quite boring, and just not fun to hang with. But none of us could audibly say it out. We had just come a long way to quit because of what we thought to be a few indifferences.
In my culture, men pay lobola to show respect to the bride’s family and say thank you for raising your daughter well. The culture sort of sells women under the guise of culture. Lobola can be 15 cows including other cultural things that a guy must pay up, not to mention that after the lobola the guy must sponsor the white wedding ceremony as well. The bride’s family demands the amount of lobola they want, and the amount can even add up to 15000 us dollars, which is a 2-year saving for a typical middle-class guy who has decided to forgo buying a house, a car, and a decent living style. Lately, families have become overly greedy and are demanding alarming lobola prices. The fathers of the bride use the lobola to buy things like a fancy car or spend the money getting drunk. And in turn the bride has to leave her family, her religion, her lifestyle, her surname and almost everything else important is foregone by the lady as she follows her husband. It becomes the duty of the wife to clean, cook, take care of the husband and kids, as well as to get formerly employed somewhere and contribute to the new family income. If lobola was truly a cultural way of appreciating a partner l do not see why both partners cannot give lobola to the spouse’s family, or why a guy cannot give out what he has, but instead must toil for years to get to afford a wife.
And as you can imagine, l being a feminist, who realizes there is something seriously wrong with this culture from as early as 11 was totally ready to rebel. And certainly not prepared to be sold off, so l tried reasoning with the love of my life.
We were sitting in Tendai’s car, he was preparing to drive me home, after we had spent the day in the park, doing what we usually do, ‘Chilling’ in the relaxed way he likes. And poor I got bored; there was nothing new to say, no interesting conversation about the latest movie, or the hit song on the market. Just family talk about how we would chill like this, during the weekends once we were married.
Sol blurted out, “Tendi, love brought us together, l love you dearly, but there are a few things we should change love. For starts l would love to keep going to my church, l like it there, and l would love for you to take care of your siblings, but the family culture of a newly wedded couple living under the same roof with family relatives just takes the vibe off honeymoon phase, we can always share, but l prefer staying with you only and my kids, unless we really have to take in someone in need. Can we do that?
Tendai’s eyes grew big, as if they were gonna pop out of their sockets, all he could mutter was “whaaaaat?” Since l had kept this buried for so long in my heart, l thought, ah why not just let it all out, after all, he is my boyfriend, he is bound to see things more from my perspective if l explain well.
“Yes Tendai, l think women’s positions in the house are a bit unfair too, for instance a man gets to come back from work, sits at home, and watches tv whilst the lady who has also come back from a long day at work, breaks her back to cook, wash and do dishes as well as take care of the kids. It sounds more like slavery rather than marriage. I hope when we are married we can share tasks according to everyone’s capabilities, it would make married life easier for me love”.
Tendai looked at me long and hard, with clear bewilderment in his eyes. “Love a woman should be a woman, know your place, and know that it will always be behind me, your boyfriend and future husband, l will be the head of the family, l will make the final decisions, you will be my wife, what is the purpose of a wife? Is it not taking care of the husband? Talk to your mother, talk to your church elders, talk to anyone and they will tell you the same! The husband leads, the wife follows. Equal rights are there, but just not on this!” He ended, fuming with fury.
I guess in his mind he was thinking, oh this gal, what nonsense is this, women are women, and they should remain women. That was the moment when l finally opened up my eyes to the truth l had refused to see all the time; nothing was going to change in this relationship. Not me and certainly not Tendai. It was my purpose to actively campaign for women’s rights. So l took my leave from the car that had become stuffy and tension-filled from the heated argument.
This is the issue that has brought about the end of our so-called love to where we are right now, bitterness, regrets, anger, and anger.
We both think we are right; we both want the other to see how they are the ones who are wrong. And above all, no one wants to compromise.
I take a taxi, and head home, with deep sorrow inside of me, hoping someday, the society will see life in the eyes of a woman because for now, life is just far from being fair where men and women are concerned. I don’t blame Tendai though; he was born in this world, where culture and tradition plays a major role in people’s lives, even if the culture clearly weakens another party and gives the other all the power. It’s the way it is, and everyone has a choice, to do away with the bad culture, or keep it alive and running for the next generation to copy.
But l know my stand on point.

Fate of the Curious by Chiedozie Ude.

‘Curiosity, they say kills the cat’. I have often taken that statement for granted until I allowed dear Mr. Experience to teach me an unforgettable lesson.

I was in a new school and because I resumed late, I had a plethora of notes to copy, legions of them. Concentrating on my task which was writing and eating ‘guguru ati epa’ (groundnut and popcorn) without a care in the world, I ignored most of the activities going on around me, in fact I was oblivious to my environment.

One fateful afternoon, we were having everyone’s favorite subject which was ‘free period’, and the whole class relished every minute of it.

As the norm was, is and would be, free periods are periods when students show their unintellectual traits— that is, a time for the display of chronic madness. Yours truly was busy trying to update his literature note when the hullabaloo started. Screams! Grunts! Moans!, tables falling and people cheering. ‘What the hell was going on?’ I asked myself. ‘Concentrate on updating your notes,’ a still voice said.

I tried to shut my ears to the cacophony which had become more raucous and vociferous. From the little I could decipher from the madness which was threatening to bring down the whole school, two gals were fighting (names withheld because it is a matter of national security) and which for analytical purposes, I’ll call X and Y. Whatever was the cause of the fight, I still do not know, but from the ecstatic cheers the boys were giving, it must have been a wonderful opportunity for many of them to feel the fighting ladies ‘uhhhm’ fleshy characteristics (forget my euphemism, you know what I mean ‘lol’).

I was not watching, but slowly, my excitement was climaxing, I had to satisfy my eyes by watching the belligerents live. The still voice came again, warning me to ignore whatever was going on, but I ignored it. After all, I just wanted to feed my eyes for a minutes. So, I abandoned my books, after all, there would be time to update them later. I began squabbling with members of the crowd so as to get an ‘HD’ view of the proceedings. I got my reward because I stumbled to the front….

All of a sudden, everything went black in my left eye, I could not see and I felt a burning pain there. Oh my gosh! ‘What just happened?’
One of the fighting gals decided it was time to turn the tables on her adversary by stoning her, and fortunately for her opponent and unfortunately for yours truly, she missed and the stone hit my left eye point blank. That ended the fight because I heard someone screaming pitifully and it took me a while to realise that I was the person.

I stayed at home for the next two days due to the blinding pain

I learnt a big lesson that day, learn to curb your curiosity