Monday 21 October 2019

Short Story : Todun

I looked at my reflection in the bathroom mirror.

I’ve been doing this every day for the past week, ever since Remi advised me to do so, and as I did, to repeat the words, ‘you are beautiful, you are strong, you are loving, and you are loved’.
I've known Remi ever since I was six years old.
We played together in my family home in Stamford Hill. Anytime her parents argued, her mother would bring her over to stay, and to play, until calm had returned between her and her husband.

They were an unusual family.
Her parents were both from Ogun state in Nigeria, yet had moved to the UK after her father decided he could no longer see a future in his homeland. Remi ’s mother was excited at the thought of having new life in the UK, until she realised that he would continue to travel back and forth, marry an additional wife, and have children back in the place he had said held no future.

It was that situation which caused most of the arguments in their family home. That, and money.

Remi’s mother would argue that all the money he earned was being sent back to Nigeria, so much so that she was often left with nothing to feed herself and children. He blamed her for their situation, saying that he wanted no other children but Remi, but she insisted on having more, a son, whose appitite for food far surpassed his own.
He told her that he returned back to Nigeria for peace and quiet, yet often complained of the noise, the hustle, the dust, and the lack of light. He complained that she had gained weight, that when they first met, she was slim, fine looking, but had let herself go. He told her he could no longer bear to make love to her, that her body turned him off, and that he couldn’t trust her not to get pregnant again, and hated condoms.

So her mother, anytime they argued, left Remi and her brother, with us at my family home, and went to stay with her boyfriend, something Remi's father knew nothing about.

Remi and I played often, yet every so often whenever we heard raised voices, or her mother sob, we would prise the door ajar, to enable us to hear what was being said.
The was how we learned of the state of their marriage.

Remi blamed herself.

`i learnt about the birds and the bees through Remi. It was the day of my 12th birthday that Remi asked me who I hoped I would marry.. I told her what my mother had told me, that god would find me a husband and send him to me when the time is right, and if that was taking too long, my father knew a man back in Lagos who had two sons, and either one would be a good match for me.
She asked me if I was ready to do the thing wives did for their husbands. I told her I as learning to cook pounded yam and egusi and that my mother had showed me how to wash clothes by hand , so that if the washing machine ever broke down ,there would be no argument in the home.

‘Not just that‘ Remi remarked. ‘What about the bed stuff’
In my naivety, I told her that if we only had one room, we could take turns sleeping in the bed with the other on the coach.
She laughed
‘Dummy!’ She said
‘You think a man want a wife and no sex?
I was confused. I asked her what that was,

Remi was happy to educate me. She pushed the door of my bedroom shut, pushed my toys off the bed, and sat next to me.
She pointed to my private area. She said, when man thing gets hard he will push it in there. He will probably want to rub on your breast too, and use his finger to finger you so you get wet.
‘Oh’. I said.
Dont worry she said, ‘you will like it. It might hurt at first but you will get used to it, and then you will like it’
‘How do you know? I asked her, fascinated by her knowledge of the subject
‘I just know’ she said
‘Who told you this’, I pushed her further. I couldn’t believe that Remi knew so much and my own mother had not told me of this.
‘Did your mother tell you all this ?’ I asked
‘Not my mother’ she said
She put her finger up against her lips. Looked around my tiny room and whispered in my ear
‘My dad’
‘Your dad told you?’
‘Shhh!’, She said, ‘keep your voice down it's a secret’
‘He didn’t tell me, he showed me!’
‘How can your father show you?’. I was confused
She looked at me , with pityful eyes. ‘He did it with me’
I sat silent.
She continued.
‘He showed me long time ago, one night he just came to my room and put his finger against my lips, saying my mum was tired so not to wake her. Then he did it…
After that… he did it all the time’.
I didn’t know what to say, I was confused, I was inquisitive but something inside me knew what she was saying, couldn’t be right.
‘Does your mum know?’ I asked
‘How could she know now? Anyway he said we have to stop soon because if I get my period it could cause problems’
‘Period?’ I asked
Remi signed.
Then she explained all about a woman menstrual circle.


My mother didn’t understand the change in my attitude.
She couldn’t understand why I was no longer interested in her place of birth, or my father. My unwillingness to learn how to cook, or watch her as she sewed clothes. Nothing that previously interested me, interested me.

My father put it down to me being a stroppy teenager, my mother blamed my hormones. I was 18, and my father was keen for me to visit Nigeria with him, and meet my prospective husband.
I told him no.
He was angry and blamed my mother for naming me Moruntodun, even though he liked the idea at the time.
He said I was growing stubborn, and stubborn women make men miserable. It was the fist time I had ever heard them argue.
I didn’t want them to blame themselves, and that is when I finally blurted out, that which I had held a secret for so long.
I told them all about Remi, and her father.

Silence enjulfed the room. My father walked out.
My mother burst into tears. I didn’t realise that when my father left the room he had gone to make a call. Within minutes Remi and her parents were at the door.
‘She’s lying’ , Remi screamed. Her father beat her, her mother beat her. Until she finally sobbed, ‘I’m not lying, and I don’t want to live with you anymore’.

Her mother was angry, and told Remi she knew she was a little whore when she got pregnant and brought shame to the family.
Silence hit the room again. No-one had heard about the pregnancy before.

‘How do you think I could get pregnant with no boyfriend ma?’
That was it.
My father took a stick he kept n the corner for potential intruders and lashed out at Remi’s father. my Yoruba was weak, but what he said was splattered with English, and I was clear about the words vile, and animal.
Remi’s brother cowered in his seat. He was away at boarding school most of the time, so the entire scene was a great shock to him.
Remi ran out.

Her mother hysterically hit her husband, until he was also able to get away.
I left the room and went to sit alone my bedroom. I could hear raised voiced until the early hours of the morning.

I remember thinking that the family was torn apart, and that things would never be the same again.
But months later. Remi ’s mother and her husband were still together.
They had decided to hide their shame, and would continue to appear publicly as man and wife. They begged my father not to share the news in Nigeria.

Remi’s father offered my father £20,000 to stay silent. My father told him he didn’t want his money, and that god will serve him his karma in time.
Remi , now living with an aunt , spoke to me about everything other than that night.
Only my mother spoke to me about it. But only once.
She said
‘Understand baby that these things happen, you hear about them happening to other families, and pray that god will protect your own.
I knew a young girl in Nigeria who suffered the same fate’.
She told me that families rarely spoke of it, and that many times the wives or grandparents knew, but they were afraid to speak up. m`y mother blamed poverty.

‘But he’s not poor’ I exclaimed
My mother told me he may not be poor now, but he was raised in poverty, and had a poverty mindset that only god could erase.
She told me that I was fortunate, and I should remember that in our culture, women are not given the same rights as men.
They are seen as second class even if they are educated, or hail from a wealthy background. She told me I should never allow someone else’s experience to colour my own, but to learn from them, see things ,hear things, and say nothing, unless I could change things for the better.

She told me , there as a reason she named me Moruntodun.
‘I have found a beautiful thing’.
‘Todun’ she said.
You were born for a purpose, and I am sure, you will find it.

Sunday 20 October 2019

Weekend WOW Factor: Ambazonia vs Cameroon

The name Ambazonia comes from the Ambas Bay. The bay which is located in southwestern Cameroon is considered as the boundary between Southern Cameroon and the Republic of Cameroon.

In 1919 after the 1st world war, Cameroon was a country divided by the French and the British.
The territory was divided into two, Northern Cameroon , and Southern Cameroon.

In 1954 British Southern Cameroon wanted to have their own nation, and developed their own state governance and institutions.
1959 election took place in the region, and a new prime minister elected.
On the 1st January 1960 the republic of Cameroon became independent from France.
1st October 1960 Nigeria ( and part of Cameroon) gained their independence from Britain

Both British North and Southern Cameroon remained a trust territory of the UN

In 1961 there region ( the 'in betweenness') was given the choice to become either become independent by joining either the French Republic of Cameroon or the British republic of Nigeria

They were not given the choice to become independent in their own right and considered too small a landmass.

The British southern Cameroon voted to join the French speaking republic of Cameroon

The British northern Cameroon voted to join Nigeria.

Are you still with me?

At a conference on the 30th September 1962, designed to bring the 2 nations together, a pre prepared constitution was drawn up and ratified. The people were ill prepared.
the conference was designed to bring the two nations together.
On the 1st October French speaking Cameroon forces entered the region and took over.

The British flag was lowered, as was the French

The federal republic of Cameroon was born.

In 1972, this was abandoned in favour of a 'United republic of Cameroon'. no federation.

The people ( Ambazonians) stuck 'between borders' feel they have been disregarded, and with oil available in their region, an oil refinery was built, but channeled to the French speaking north.

So , the people, the 'in-betweeners' the Ambazonians, are fighting for their independence.
A people who previously practiced British common law 'innocent until proven guilty'. are now forced to practice French civil law, 'guilty until proven innocent.

Perhaps they would have been better off joining Nigeria.

Or maybe not.

It's a difficult one. as if you decided to enter a man's house, you should expect to live by the rules of the homeowner.

20% of English speaking Cameroon are really stuck between a rock and a hard place. They want independence. Ironically, `The right to practice the ways of their former British 'colonizers'
Perhaps they will get it, perhaps not, but ultimately, war is not the answer.

The brutal treatment the southern English speaking Cameronians have received, cannot be condoned

On and on it goes, and innocent people are getting hurt, on both sides.

They must talk.
Britain and France, (the colonisers) have left you to it.
What are you really fighting for?
and ....are you not fighting your 'brothers'

This is for those of you ( like myself) who ever wondered what the Cameroon struggle was about.
My question is, who were you before the colonisers came?

Surely Love is the answer, and the only way forward.

Sunday 13 October 2019

Short Story : Bottom Power.


My boss is running late.
He called me on my mobile early this morning to say he’d been held up,. I didn’t ask him why, I never questioned him, I just said ‘yes sah’, and, 'no problem sah’
My boss had a meeting scheduled for 8.30am , so I prepared what I would say to his guests when they arrived.
I managed his diary and knew the two men he was to meet with, very well.

One was a senior government minister, and the other, a senior executive in banking. The senior minister always enjoyed my presence and encouraged me to hang around and gist, not just, ‘drop beer and go’.

He asked me often if I was dating, and ‘when was I getting married?’ . He told me not to fall for ‘those young boys’, but to ‘find a good stable man of means’.

The banker was less friendly, his attitude towards me hostile at best. Whenever I walked into the room, if he was talking, he would stop, and wait for me to leave before resuming. On one occasion I overheard him say as I closed the door behind me, ‘that girl, na be problem o’.

It amused me a little that his professional demeanor always slipped so easily after just one beer.
Still, I was somewhat offended to be labelled ‘a problem’

I waited at my desk for the arrival of my bosses guests. I prepared a fresh jug of water, checked there were beers in the fridge, and swept the front office. I wiped the desk and I put away any papers that my boss had left out from the evening before, erasing any trace of the desk activities that had taken place to cause such disarray.
If his desk could talk.

Mr Ogungun and Oluwale arrived loudly. Their voices bold and arrogant as they burst into the office. I greeted them but my words were lost amidst the strong booming voice of Oluwale. ‘My sexy friend, go grab a beer and come sit with me’. I giggled shyly a little as he slapped my buttocks. I moved slowly to the kitchen. I knew how to move slowly as I knew they would be watching. I had learnt that a woman’s charm was in her ability to move slowly.
My mother always told me that.

She said it would make even a small ‘gnash’ look more ample, and that I must learn to walk with my thighs and not my ankles. At the time I had no idea what she was talking about, until I watched older women demonstrate, and observed for myself at parties and gatherings, even at church, the power it had, over even the most soba of men.

So, I moved slowly. By the time I arrived back in the front office, my boss was walking through the door. I hadn’t expected him to arrive so soon, and felt a pang of disappointment.
My boss used to be a fair man. he knew that in order to get what he wanted, he had to give me what I wanted. Well, he was fair until a new Corper arrived. Then he he started to complain about my work. I could barely believe it when one day when he called me into his office to complain about the grammar in an email I had written, he complained about the lunches I brought him, despite me getting him what he asked for, and he complained he was now paying me too much. All of this complaining done in sight of the Corper, much to her joy.

I knew I needed a plan B. The Corper’s breasts were more ample than my own, and appeared to have her t-shirt bursting at the seams each time I saw her. It was obvious to me that my Oga was becoming distracted by her charms, so one lunchtime, as he sat at his desk about to eat the fish and bread I had bought for hm, I locked his office door, climbed under the desk and unzipped his pants. I stroked at his manhood until it became firm enough for me to take into my mouth. I knew from his groans that I had hit the right spot. I had given attention to the two things he loved most in the world. His belly and his penis. He couldn’t contain himself for long and I brought him to climax. To my surprise, the greedy man just panted, patted me once on my head and carried on eating!.

That was when I knew I had to get the hell out of there, fast. Hence my flirtation with Oluwale.

Now I knew, that Oluwale could seriously change my fortunes. This was a ‘big man’, with a wife, that was well known to travel to London and the US regularly to shop. His children studied abroad, and his family home was reported to be a 10 bedroomed mansion.

My boss was a small man compared to Oluawale. Men tended to notice when a woman’s eyes begin to look elsewhere, and my boss had noticed that I was becoming increasingly playful with his comrade.
Not even the heavy breasts of the Corper could stop him from blurting out a crude ‘ You’re wasting you’re time if you think he wants you, he likes them much younger than you’

Yet his arrival at the office within minutes of his guests told me he was not happy about the prospect of me being alone for too long with Oluwale.
I smiled at him anyway, opened the Beer’s and handed them out. Oluwale grinned as usual, telling my boss how lucky he was. He told my boss he needed a new secretary as the last one overstepped her position
To my surprise he went on to openly state that his secretary had the nerve to argue with his wife, and on receipt of a slap, had the audacity to slap her back. My boss frowned at first then on further sips of his beer simply said ‘ it’s your own fault, you have to manage you business correctly.’

My boss waved me away to denote they had serious business to discuss .
An hour later he called for the Corper, and asked her to bring more Beer. She smirked as she walked past me to get to the fridge. I wanted to trip her, watch her fall, but she had found a way to walk even slower than I ever did!, so no amount of tripping would have had any impact.
By the time she emerged from the office I knew my position had been deleted.
As the men walked loudly to the door, my boss whispered in my ear.
'Ok, you got what you wanted...
Be at Oluwales office 1st thing Monday morning..
He’s your new boss'.

Hôtel des Mille Collines, aka Hotel Rwanda

Visit Rwanda

Kings Palace Rwanda

Kings Palace Rwanda

Weekend WOW Factor : Nigeria's Moral Decline

As the BBC investigation into sex for grades does the rounds, and a week where lecturer B was seen on camera jiggling his 'crutch' ( and belly) after every prayer point, and asking a student to turn off the light if she wants him to kiss her, it felt like as good a time as any to speak of Nigeria's moral decline.

Now, despite the comical behaviour of this 'man' , many women who have been through the university system in Nigeria (and some other African countries) can attest that this has been going on for as long as they can remember, and as a result the investigation didn't show anything that wasn't already common knowledge to most people. That being said, it is arguable that this is what happens when a society is built on the premise that men can do whatever they like with regards to women with impunity, or when poor behaviour is referred to as 'culture', and as a result, to be turned a blind eye to...aka...accepted.

One example is, if a married women continues to turn a blind eye to her husband cheating as long as he brings in money, she may not realise it, but she too is an enabler, and creator of men such as 'lecturer B', who despite allegedly being suspended from The University Of Lagos, will more then likely be reinstated once the dust has settled.

Cold room? or cold day in hell?, regardless, there were quite a few women dancing in a weird circle amidst an array of overweight pot bellied men who really should know better but clearly, do not. It may be time for women to stop the 'baby talk' with these grown men... it's creepy.

2. Whilst Omoyele Sowore languishes in a Nigerian prison, President Buhari ( in his ripe age) allegedly decided to marry a second wife this weekend. At a time when the country really needs leadership, it would be fair to say that perhaps this was not the best time for such a display of disregard to Mrs Buhari, but as one commentator stated, his religion allows him 4 wives. That being said I believed that a second wife would be permissible only with the consent of his 1st wife, which he doesn't seem to have obtained. With Aisha Buhari having spent significant time in the UK recently, it would appear there is much truth to the allegations.

( heehee my 'boss' is smiling)

Many believed that Nigeria's main problem was corruption, but as social media has enabled more people to showcase life as it is, the evidence is that corruption is just a symptom of a wider lack of moral imperative, of moral compass, which every functioning society needs.

Nigeria's leaders are made in Nigeria.

They are simply a reflection of the vast majority of the citizens who dwell in what was once known as the giant of Africa.

Nigeria is Africa's' most populous county, which simply means more opportunities for things to go vastly wrong.

Football and music aside, Nigeria is one of Africa's most tribally divided countries. There is little uniting the people, and little desire to look beyond ethnicity towards a greater good. This tunnel vision will continue to blight the development of the country as each tribal group seeks dominance over the other.

4. The growing trend of pontificating and analysing of the middle classes serves little or no purpose without real demonstrable action. Truth is, if large swathes of the populous took to the streets tomorrow, many of those commentators and defecto leaders would be 'hiding under their beds' to quote Omoyele Sowore.

5. The growth and decline of the church in equal measure, and the ease in which some become 'pastors'
Need I say more on that? I don't think so.

6. Nigeria is becoming known as the land of lawyers, with very little law.
If Naija doesn't get its act together, it will sadly continue to be left behind

We will see how things go


Thursday 3 October 2019

Happy ( belated) Independence Day Nigeria

5 things I love about Rwanda

Five reasons why I simply adore Rwanda
..and not just that Chris Brown's songs sounds better in Africa ( they do for some reason)

disclaimer - there are more reasons than 5!

1. It's Tidy!!
Whilst the bulk of my stay has been in Kigali, Ive spend some time travelling around , visiting more remote areas - and the truth is. It's pretty darn clean.
Clearly the people here care about their surroundings and are willing to do their bit to maintain it. Ubuntu people - Ubuntu

2. Security 

There is security at every turn ( more or less)There are clearly identifiable security personnel, police or army in sight , every day, all day. They carry out checks, they are polite, orderly, and I've not seen any ounce of poor behaviour of 'hustling' like ahem....others countries, which shall remain nameless.. Male and female alike, I really love these guys.

...and on a side note.. they are hands down the most stylish!
Lord have mercy, men in uniform here are in a class of their own. It's not professional, but I can't stop ( discreetly) staring at these handsome fit tall soldiers lol!!... hey forgive me.. while I crush abit :)

3. Great leadership.

 I think the mark of a great leader can be found in his or her citizens ( aka, the people they lead). I'm so impressed with President Kagame, and that's all I'll say about that for now. ( If the continent had 1 President, Pan African style.... he'd get my vote)

4. Nice Energy

There a calmness that exists, none of that rambunctiousness many subscribe to certain African countries, no - the people here ( so far) communicate well, and are seemingly able to keep their volume at a respectable level lol.

5. Sweet Music Baby!

The music is phenomenal I'm totally hooked. Ok - I'll alway love my Naija artists,( Wizkid don't worry) but Rwandan music is biting at the heels. These guys have beautiful voices. and ok, the world knows the Congolese to be arguably the best and most sexiest dancers, but don't play - Rwandan people are not far behind.

You can find your club bangers, or your easy going love songs.. it's all available here