Today in recognition of the International Women's day, I decided to put up a post I wrote sometime ago. I have also attached a video reading it (for people that prefer to watch or listen to videos) and for the the rest of you who prefer to read like me, you don't have to watch and bear the sound of my voice, yay! lol. Enjoy (You can also watch it directly on youtube here):
As an African woman
As an African woman born in the village, I was born with a different kind of dream
I did not want to be a writer neither did I want to be a doctor
My vision was to make a good wife and a great mother to at least eight children
To have the “right” amount of flesh that would make men desire me
To have great culinary skills such that my husband would be over-fed
To have big breasts, such that enough milk will be produced for my children
And to have broad shoulders to balance my calabash of cool water fetched from the stream
Eventually I left my continent for the white man’s world at the age of sixteen
To become a maid for my rich relative who lived abroad
I was forced by my Madam to go to the nearby public school
To acquire some level of literacy and good manners
So that I would not “pollute” her children with my uncouth ways, she said
I was forced to wear ugly uniforms everyday; oh, how much I hated them!
And instead of a calabash on my head, I had to sling a bag on my neck and my back
At first, every moment of school was a torture for me
I found the teachings very strange and unreasonable
Every minute spent in class, I saw as a waste of my time
Who needed to know science, when my mates in the village were married by now?
Of what profit was learning English, when I had no children to speak it to anyway?
I desperately wanted to go back home, where I could achieve my own kind of dreams
Because their English or Arts class were of no value to me
Then things got interesting with time, especially when I began to learn new terms
My teachers had different names for my life experiences; and I soon learned that
“Sexual abuse” was what my Madam’s husband had been doing to me
“Obese” was what I had wanted my body to look like
“Ignorance” was why I hoped for my village dreams solely and nothing more
And “gender inequality” was the reason why I thought I was inferior to all men
I learned how to speak for myself with time
and avoid the sexual abuse, obesity and I grew less ignorant by the day.
And so I began to pay more attention in class, appreciating the new way of life
By the time I finished school, I had a different kind of dream, more powerful yet still cultural
Yes, I still wanted to attract a good man but with a healthy flesh and good posture
Eventhough I still wanted to become a great mother, but not to eight children but this time to about three children
I still wanted to be a good wife but definitely not at the age of sixteen
And I’d still want to respect my husband when I eventually got married but he had to respect me just as much
Most importantly, now as an African woman who is enlightened
It is my vision to inspire other African women by telling them my story.
So please as usual, leave your thoughts and comments below and please share with your friends.
Thank you and have a great week.
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