Feminism and the African Woman

“Mama?”
She croaked slowly over the phone.
“Ezim? Ezi momi? Ezinne ogini? Why is your voice
like
this? Inokwa ofuma?
Are you alright?”
This voice was older and filled with worry. She
imagined her mother sitting
on the wooden recliner chair with the one
missing leg-
one of the useless
things she inherited after Papa’s death,fidgeting
and
twiddling her thumbs.
“Mami,it’s Kamsi again…”
Silence.
“Mama? Are you there?”
“Kamsi! What has he done again?”
Mama’s voice was weak and sounded tired.
“He hit me,mama he…”
“Ezinne! Okwam gwara gi? Have i not warned you
before? This your sharp
mouth,i wonder what you told him that made him
angry. You don’t know you’re
a woman? You want to claim authority in…”
“Mama,you didn’t even ask me what happened!”
Ezinne exclaimed,already forgetting the tears she
had
been shedding.
“Shut up,silly girl! In Igbo land,a man is never
wrong.
Do you want to be
chased out of your husband’s house? Do you
want to
end up like me?
Chukwu…”
“Oya! Oya! Mama, ozugo! I’ve heard you. I should
have
thought as
much,exactly what you would have said”
Silence.
“Hmm. Ezinne,you know i don’t hide my
mouth,when
your husband comes
back,humble yourself and beg him,submit…”
Silence.
Mama hissed,a slow drawn-out one.
“This girl! Very stubborn. See how she hung up
on me
like that,and i wanted
to ask her to send small garri for me…”
The old woman went on and on,soliloquizing to
herself
and as many lizards
hanging off the rafters as would listen. On
another
side of the
country,over a hundred miles away,the young
lady
broke down in tears.

                         ***
Today had been turning perfectly wonderful for
Omotunde. First was the
surprisingly generous check from a satisfied
tight-
fisted ex-client,then
the judgement in her favor at the state high court
but
then,it had taken
just one phone call to almost ruin everything.
This was one of the reasons she had to cut
mother off
several times she had
brought up the marriage topic. Countless times,it
had
been her versus
Ezinne during their university days. Ezinne was a
staunch supporter of
female domination,believing that to be the only
way
to keep a home
steady,silence,submissiveness and undying
worship for
one’s husband. She
had shoved it down Omotunde’s throat that a
woman
had no place in decision
making but rather in taking and following orders.
Porous stupidity,if her
opinion was asked,which was never.
She had tried to make her see,even used her
position
as the then Student
Union PR officer to publish articles expressing her
strong opinions on the
matter.
“What makes a strong marriage is
love,commitment
and the willingness to
agree to the reasoning of one’s spouse.
Now,using
submission here would
spark the normal response from one of her many
male colleagues on an ego
trip.
“It is a woman’s job to submit to her
husband,whether
she likes it or
not,in sickness and in health,you don’t give a
woman
power in the home or
she would ursurp you. This is why i will always
respect
my father,he had
total control of…”
“The same people he had control of,killed him. I
mean,six wives,who does
that?”
This would precede the sad shake of head and
theatric
look of pity. The
advice would be the climax of it.
“I pity the man that would marry you.” Chris had
laughed,the first time she told him the
story. Oh,and Chris was
her fiance,about to wed in two weeks thanks to
the many church protocols
that had to be duly observed first.
They had met at a Women and minority rights
conference when she was in her
final year and him just starting law practice.
Ezinne had vehemently
refused attending the conference,even refused to
take up women rights as an
optional course in school. To her,it was against
Bible teachings to clamour
for women rights,she also argued that the Koran
was in her favor.
Well,flashback foward to today,she’s the one
married to a man who forced
her out of law school and made her a stay-at-
home mom claiming it would
keep her under his control and beating her at the
slightest chance.
        

                          ***
The sight of the cars set off the first alarms in
her head. Omotunde
alighted from her car,heart in her mouth,phone in
her hand,trying Ezinne’s
mobile relentlessly. No answer.
“Excuse me,lady. Nigerian Police. May i ask you
to leave the crime
scene,we’re trying to prevent a contamination of
forensic evidence…”
“Oh,that! Yeah that’s right,sergeant…Danko.
Right! Danko”
She squinted at his badge.
“Actually,i’m here on behalf of my client,i don’t
know what’s happening
here but Mrs Ezinne Gabriels,she…”
“Are you here on behalf of the suspect? Chief
Gabriels?”
“No! No! His wife”
She’s dead. There was a little “situation” here
and the suspect is on his
way to the station…”

                      ****
Borrowing
the words of
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie,a
feminist is a person who
believes in the social,economic and political
equality
of the sexes.
Inasmuch as the African society tried to cover up
the
issue,women in Africa
haven’t been known to be under the bondage of
submission. Ancient African
history speaks of Amazons and queens who ruled
kingdoms and conquered
kingdoms controlled by men.
Why do we teach women to aspire to marriage
and
don’t teach men the same?
Why do we teach women to be in an unhealthy
competition for the attention
of men and not actual achievements? Why do we
lambast women who try to
speak up for the folk. Even in bible standard,no
marriage was built on a
man issuing orders and a woman obeying blindly.
Not
adam and eve,not
Abraham and Sarah. There can’t be two captains
in a
ship? Nobody is talking
about breaking the hedge. How about a family
where
both people love and
support each other,listening and taking into
consideration the opinions of
their spouse?
Anyway,concluding our story. Ezinne and her
husband
fought again,rather,he
hit her again and she died. Thanks to section 314
of
The criminal
code,Omotunde secured him a permanent
apartment
in the kirikiri prisons.
Oh,and she married Chris. Last i heard,they are
doing
real good despite her
being feminist.

Ha!

image

Doris.

One thought on “Feminism and the African Woman

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