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Child by Tosan Tare

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Child

 

 

There’s so much pressure to be something you’re still struggling to understand. You make a lot of mistakes at this age and where the correction should have been:

 

Learn to sweep properly so as to keep a clean environment and add a little water to the garri so it doesn’t turn out hard as a rock, we said,

 

Learn to sweep properly, don’t you know you are a girl?

Is that the way to make eba? Don’t you know someday you’ll marry?

 

Girl,

 

Cliche as this may sound, love is a beautiful thing. You have already drafted your first “Dear Agatha” to that Facebook agony aunt about your lack of a boyfriend. All your friends are in serious relationships. She tells you to slow down and focus more on your education — little wonder as your drafts are no more coherent than a primary 2 pupils’ first attempt at stringing words together to form a sentence.

 

Lady,

 

How liberating it is to finally be away from home, and on your own on campus.

You would miss lectures for a day at his place, abandon your books to wash his clothes, spend every dime sent on him . . .

 

. . . then you’d return home, a morose countenance and with a pregnancy that refused abortion.

 

 

WIfe,

 

Years of abuse on both sides, you want out. But how? We say, Be submissive but you can’t help being verbally abusive to the one who physically abuses you.

You pray. You cry. You beg. You try. But things seem to get worse.

You draft another “Dear Joro, please hide my identity” and amidst the 200+ cliche comments of “be submissive, stop being headstrong” you spy this one that stands out, that encourages you to damn everything we once taught you and leave.

 

Woman,

 

We call you “that bitter feminist” campaigning for women’s rights. Little wonder your husband kicked you out of his home and like a bad rash spreading all through the skin, you are there championing divorce and independence.

You need to humble yourself and ask for forgiveness for who will marry an “after two”?

 

You smile when we say this, sometimes you get angry, sometimes you cry, other times you ignore, but at the end of the day, when you come home from that mentorship program you’re currently holding for young girls, the street awarenesses, that Women Empowerment Seminar, when you kick off your stilettos and hold up a glass of wine, you know you wouldn’t have it any other way.

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