Monthly Archives: January 2019

Childhood Memories: Mamu Tutu Vs Mama Wale cross daggers

I may have told you about Mama Tutu, if you haven’t read about her in any of my previous stories, let me re-introduce her.

We lived in a compound with a story building of four flats Mama Tutu and Mama Ngozi lived on the ground floor while Sisi Mi, our landlady and Mama Bimbo (My mama) lived on the first floor. Mama Tutu’s flat was below ours while Mama Ngozi’s flat was below Simi Mi’s.

Mama Tutu was the only university graduate in our compound and she never hesitated to let the mothers know, and the kids too. This was why we spoke very little vernacular and zero pidgin around her because she would come down on you like a hammer.

Mama Tutu was a bit haughty but beneath all of her haughtiness, she was a good woman. It was environmental sanitation Saturday, which meant the whole street came out to jointly clean our environs.

The men mostly manned the drainages, raking dirt out and piling them in a neat stack while the women shovelled the refuse up in old rice sacs, dumping the sacs at the edge of the street where the Mallam in a large wheelbarrow would clear them up before mid-day.

Environmental sanitation Saturdays were mostly playing time for kids, as we weren’t involved in much except inconsequential errands. On this day, Mama Tutu asked Onyinye, one of Mama Ngozi’s daughters to watch her shovel as she pulled a sack of refuse to the edge of the street.

Onyinye and I were friends, which meant we rolled together at all times. So, when Mama Wale from down the road comes to snatch the shovel from Onyinye, I was right there by her side. “Onyinye give me that shovel, I go return am na na.” Said Mama Wale, the sun had made her bleached skin turn crimson, her brows were bare. During the day when Mama Wale had showered and dressed up, she would draw an arch to replace her brows, beginning at the top of her nose, ascending towards her hairline and suddenly drops very close to her ear.

I thought she looked ridiculous but this was the style in 1992, everyone did it, so I had no say in the matter. “Na Mama Tutu shovel ma. I no fit give you, she never pack the dirty finish” Onyinye said, securing her position as guardian of the shovel.

Mama Wale’s bare brows furrowed, her skin turned redder as she looked at Onyinye in shock for daring to refuse her. “My friend will you give me that shovel! Tell Mama Tutu say na me take am,” She snatched the shovel from Onyinye who looked on helplessly and in fear.

Onyinye knew not to challenge adults so we decided to let Mama Tutu know her shovel had been forcefully taken. “Excuse me ma,”Onyinye called Mama Tutu’s attention as she walked past us. “Yes?” She responded, she seemed to be in a hurry. I noticed Onyinye had gone mute.

“Mama Wale has taken your shovel, she said we should tell you that she took it,” I spoke up for my friend. “Ahn! Ahn! She did what? Why is this woman such a trouble maker?” Mama Tutu turned around towards Mama Wale’s house and off she went, screaming Mama Wale’s name,

Onyinye and I stayed put. We weren’t really ‘arand’ for adult squabbles. “Mama Wale… Mama Wale…” the rest of Mama Tutu’s words had become inaudible but we could see both adults pointing fingers at each other in anger. Soon, Mama Tutu waved at us to come over.

“Ngbo, Onyinye, wetin I tell you say make you tell this woman?” Mama Wale turns her red face on us. Before we could respond, Mama Tutu cut in, “Who is ‘this woman’? I don’t want to believe I’m being referred to as ‘this woman’. Mama Wale address me by name, show some respect.

You can’t bully me like you bully your husband! I will not allow it. Give me my shovel please!” ‘WAWU! This is news. First of all, Baba Wale was nice, so his wife bullies him? Na wa!’ I thought to myself. “Ah!“ Mama Wale scoffs at Mama Tutu,

“Your grammar no mean Shigbain! Don’t insult my husband Mama Tutu, face me, face meeeee” Mama Wale was screaming at Mama Tutu at this time. Me in my mind, ‘But she didn’t insult your husband now. Abi?’ Onyinye and I looked on, ready to pounce if Mama Tutu was losing the battle.

Mama Wale unties her wrapper and reties it, making it shorter so she could spread her legs wider, ready for battle. Mama Tutu had on knicker burger, she was good to go. “And I go make sure say I no give you that shovel today, oya come collect am now… “

Mama Wale stood at ease, hands behind her back, shovel held firmly. Mama Tutu tried to get behind her, but she is shouldered off by the bigger Mama Wale. Onyinye and I took over, we grabbed Mama Wale by the waist, held on tight, she tried to shake us off but we refused to let go.

Mama Tutu then gets behind us, bites Mama wale’s hand which made her yelp and immediately release the shovel. “Ife, Onyinye, run inside, now!” Mama Tutu instructed us as she held the shovel up, ready for war. We released Mama Wale and made a run for it, scared but happy.

Both women’s scream became less audible. As it was the tradition, after environmental sanitation, we would play competitive football in the compound, Boys vs Girls. On this day, as we played, I noticed all the mothers in the compound sat by their balcony, all four of them.

When Mama Wale came into the compound to look for Onyinye and I, they all stood by their territories and asked her to leave. They let her know if she ever touched us, the street would be too hot for her. Us children paused, it was like we were watching Voltron in real life.

Mama Wale turned around and left in shame. Our mothers watched her leave and only then, did they leave their positions at the balconies. I knew then, Mama Wale was a wise woman because how could you not be afraid of such force?!

What Does It Mean To Take It Slow In Relationships? An Expert Explains

Once you’ve met someone who makes you feel all the butterflies in your stomach, it can be tempting to dive into a new relationship as fast as possible. You’re so into them and they’re so into you… what could go wrong? Well, as some of us have learned the hard way, relationships that start fast don’t always have staying power — which is why it’s not uncommon for some people to slow down the progression of a new romance, no matter how into each other they are. But, what does it mean to take it slow in relationships, and can this tactic actually improve the longevity of a relationship? According to NYC-based relationship expert and love coach Susan Winter, taking it slow might not mean exactly what you think it does.

“Taking it slow is normally a request of one partner who’s unsure about their involvement,” Winter previously told Elite Daily. “Perhaps they were deeply hurt in the past and taking it slow would ensure that they’re on solid footing before they claim coupledom.”

If you’ve had less than perfect experiences with love in the past (and let’s face it, who hasn’t?) it totally makes sense that being a bit more cautious could help keep you from dating people who aren’t a good fit for you. However, Winter also emphasized that a request to take things slow can be a sign that someone may not be interested in a meaningful relationship, and if you are, but a potential bae isn’t, that’s something to take note of.

“Alternatively, taking it slow can be a stalling technique,” explained Winter. “One partner may want to tip-toe around the edge of the relationship, so as to not be emotionally accountable when things go south. The relationship is primarily sexual and they have no intention of having it be more.”

Although the request to take a relationship slow might not always come from a place of caution, there actually are some benefits that can come from not rushing into a relationship. “Whirlwind romances are guaranteed to fall apart. They’re built on lust, illusion, and fantasy,” said Winter. Not allowing yourselves to get swept up in the intensity too soon might mean that you can evaluate the relationship potential with a clear head. According to Winter, this is especially true when trying to take things slow from a sexual standpoint.

“In an over-the-top passionate relationship, lust clouds our vision,” said Winter. “By taking things more slowly, we moderate the sexual acceleration so that we have time to think, process, and assess our new partner.

Giving yourselves more time to build a sustainable connection can also give you the opportunity to observe the consistency factor — something Winter believes separates casual relationships from more serious ones. “The difference between a torrid affair and a long-standing relationship is that of consistency,” noted Winter. “Taking your time allows the foundational elements to be baked into the relationship so that consistency (day-to-day loving behavior) can be maintained.”

If taking a tentative approach to love doesn’t sound like a bad idea, then taking it slow might be a good move for you. And if your partner is the one asking to take it slow, remember: The upside is that you can observe their tendencies before labelling the relationship.

Source: Elite Daily

 

How I fell in Love With My Skin Again

For as long as I’ve lived-as long as I’ve been aware-I’ve had spots at the extremities of my body. I always tried to forget they were there but my mother would pull me back to a consciousness of them with her worry. We didn’t know any better.

As a child, in the early 00’s, being exposed to beauty parlours and hair salons, I got a basic description of beauty. It was about bone straight long hair (if not from your head, then extensions). It was about the things you wore (hello kitty and baby phat were all the rave in my childhood). Then it was skin, healthy, spotless skin. I didn’t have that. I have Papular Utricaria, but neither my mother nor I knew what it was at the time. All we knew was it left papules on my body that sometimes later dried to black spots and that it heightened after insect bites, after a change in environment or during the rainy season. But fuck it, I was in love with the rain as a child. I would go out and play in the rain only to come back in the evening scratching my skin out, because those papules were itchy. My mother’s friends would always say the same things, I would outgrow my spots.

Doctors said the same things. As a child, it was that i’d outgrow my spots. As a preteen, it became I would outgrow my spots… but here are some creams and tablets. I never cared, but I cared that my mother cared. So I tried to make some lifestyle changes. I wore leggings, which are now a staple in my wardrobe. I also used Dettol and antibacterials and mosquito repellents as she said I should, as the doctors prescribed. I used Dettol religiously, as though i could dight away the spots. It didn’t help that I was lazy, that up until 14 I only bathed once a day, that I was a weekend washer and scavenged the dirty cloth basket for a decent smelling t-shirt once in a while. But I really thought the Dettol was doing me good, Dettol and hot water.

I remember one time, when I was six and we still lived in my father’s 3 bedroom bungalow, and I shared a room with my siblings and aunty Mary. I closed my eyes before sleep, and I prayed “God please, if I wake up, let my spots disappear”. They obviously didn’t. I distanced myself from them until I couldn’t anymore, in junior secondary school. Back then, I was a fat girl with spotty dark skin and short relaxed hair. It was the perfect formula for a misanthrope. And that I was. I separated myself from fashion, make up, people. It didn’t help that my siblings called me names, or that my classmates called me names. Or that I was the only female I knew with an utricaria and I wasn’t sure what it was.

I never got the answers I needed until this year when I finally visited a dermatologist. I got to find out that its a common skin condition, very common. I also found out that with hypersensitivity of skin, Dettols and antibacterials only make the outward manifestations (papules and dark spots) worse. All I needed was a change of soap, advantan or an antihistamine and a mosquito net. Obviously, I would never wear a mini skirt in my life, but I skip that rule once in a while. I was relieved at the thought of saying goodbye to my spots but then I realised all the time gone into consciously thinking about not thinking about my spots. From praying them away at age six, to watching the way people stared at my legs at age 12 to seeing them fade away now.

I think about the money gone into creams and herbal medicine (I actually bathed with quail eggs once). I think of the time, the leggings!! And I cannot remember a time in those years, when I wasn’t conscious of myself and my looks despite my trying not to be. But who do I blame for that? The doctor? My mom? My classmates? My siblings? Who do I blame for the pictures I didn’t take? It would be easy to blame my mom, she was buying me leggings when she should’ve been taking me to the dermatologist. She was expressing her worry when she should’ve been giving an encouraging word. But I ultimately made the decision to let my skin rule my teenage years. Now, here I am on the brink of adulthood.

There are many teenage girls (and guys) with Papular Utricaria who because of the outward manifestations have lost their sense of self esteem. Your devil might not even be an Utricaria. It could be an infection, cleft lip, fat lips, gap tooth, flat nose, small nose, bad edges, bow legs, k legs, broken teeth, body odour, mouth odour, etc etc. And yes, there are measures we can take to work out these devils but I want to give an encouraging word where my mother did not. And that is, don’t let it rob you off years of beautiful experiences and memories.

I appreciate my aunty Akudo because she said something important to me.  She said its never about what you have, in my case an utricaria. She said, its about your confidence. When you walk with confidence, when you are confident in yourself, the last thing people will care about are the spots on your leg. She would always say, be yourself, free yourself, and be you. And that’s what I want everyone to take from this. Do not be anxious of the little things. Just be yourself. Be you.

Meet Tanzania woman Rebeca Gyumi; Who Fought Tanzania’s Child Marriage Laws and Won

She is popularly known as the woman who fought for an end to child marriages in Tanzania and won.

Tanzania is one of the African countries with the highest rates of child marriage in the world – two out of every five girls marry before their 18th birthday with a prevalence rate of 37% nationwide, according to the country’s national demographic and health survey of 2015/16.

Rebeca Gyumi, in early 2016, filed a petition at the High Court to challenge the Tanzania Marriage Act which allowed girls as young as 14 to get married and won a landmark case that same year that raised the age of child marriage from 14 to 18.

Following the impact of her work, Gyumi was named the 2016 UNICEF Global Goals award winner for her work in advancing girls’ rights in Tanzania. That same year, she was named 2016 Woman of the Year by New Africa Magazine.

Today, the girls rights activist is preparing to receive the 2018 Human Rights Prize awarded by the United Nations.

She tells news site CNN: “I was pretty much shocked. So shocked and caught unaware that I was even considered for such a prestigious prize.”

Growing up, at the age of 13, she realized that some of her colleagues in school were compelled to abandon their education because they were given away in marriage due to pregnancy.

At the age of 20, Gyumi became aware that child marriage was not just a local problem in her community but a national one.

“It bothered me that the age for boys to be married was 18 but for girls, it was 14,” she said.

Sadly, that is the reality in many parts of the African continent including Niger, Central African Republic, Chad, Mali and South Sudan. Each year, 15 million girls are married before the age of 18 and if the current trends continue, the number of girls who marry as children will reach 1.2 billion by 2050, warns Girls Not Brides, a global organisation committed to ending child marriage.

Rebecca Gyuim
Credit: Missie Popular

Girls who marry as children are often not able to achieve their full potential, as they leave school early, suffer domestic violence and do not get access to proper healthcare.

Some even die during pregnancy and childbirth as a result of complications because their bodies are not ready. Child marriages affect the economies of several countries and it is worrying that some countries still allow the practice to continue.

While studying law at the university, Gyumi learned about the Tanzanian Marriage Act of 1971 and realized that there was an opportunity to challenge the law.

Along with her colleagues, she went ahead to do that, especially some years after pursuing law as a profession. What the team did was to petition the Tanzanian High Court to change the Tanzanian Marriage Act which allowed girls as young as 14 to get married, providing ample reasons as to why child marriages should end.

In July 2016, the High court ruled in her favour and declared that Sections 13 and 17 of the Marriage Act were unconstitutional and raised the minimum age to 18 for both boys and girls.’’

Though critics attacked her for promoting a “western culture”, many people across the country welcomed the news but their joy became short-lived when the government appealed against the ruling in 2017, arguing that child marriage can protect girls who get pregnant out of wedlock.

The case is in Tanzanian’s high court at the moment and a verdict is supposed to be out soon. Meanwhile, Gyumi believes that a victory for the government would “look really bad” as “it is not a victory a country can be proud of.”

Being the founder and the Executive Director of Msichana Initiative, an NGO which aims to empower girl children through education, Gyumi says the amendment of the law is not their only focus as their aim is to ensure that the law is being enforced at the local level.

“We need to teach girls around the country to stand up for their rights and continue engaging with communities,” she says.

In spite of the challenges from critics and some government stakeholders, Gyumi is optimistic that winning the 2018 Human Rights Prize would put her and her country on the map.

“It’s a proud moment for me and for the girls I stood up for and for the ongoing global progress that is happening around girls’ and women’s rights.”

Credit: howafrica.com

Today at Toyin street Ikeja, I found a new connect.

I’m on Toyin Street, Ikeja Lagos trying to locate a particular shop. I get down from my car because there’s traffic and I’m running out of time. I can’t locate the street so I stand at a junction to get directions from google maps.

I look up from my phone and I see three men walk intentionally towards me. One of them is unclad from waist up. The remaining two walk behind him, like bodyguards. The unclad man is now standing in front of me, I see now he’s holding a dumbbell of around 10kg.

As I look at the dumbbell and back at him, he smiles foolishly and begins to pump…slowly. What is happeninggggg??? I almost laugh but there are 3 men who have surrounded me, one of them working a dumbbell. “How va?” Dumbbell asks me. His smile looks like he’s about to bite.

I do not respond. I turn around, wondering if my driver is close by so he can save me from the situation. “Ahn ahn. You no wan answer ni? As I see you comot for car I say AH! Omooo ele! Na gym I dey o, but I no fit miss you…” dumbbell is talking to me, still pumping.

It’s time to call my driver. “Akeem, bring the car to where you dropped me off. Let’s go” I say to my driver as soon as he answers the phone. “Ahhhhhh. Your driver name is Akeem. My name is Akeem too o. Everybody know me for here as AK. But is Akeem”.

I still do not respond. I can see my car, my driver is driving towards me. Now one of the mute bodyguards speaks, “They’re talking to you, you’re doing gbonku gbonku. You don’t know who is this?” I look at dumbbell. I don’t care. He’s still working his arms. “Look up!” Commands the bodyguard. I look up. I don’t see anything. “Yinka Bamgbose. You see am?” Dumbbell is speaking for himself now as he points at a street sign directly above me, “Dah is my father name. So dee is awa street. My name is Akeem Bamgbose…”

Dumbell stretches out his sweaty palms. I ignore it. My car is here. “Wo. Psss… I never see you here before, anything you want for this area, eees me you look for. Ask for AK, mo cover è (Translation: I’ve got you)” My driver jumps down from the car and and does a mini jog towards me. He opens the car door and says, “Oya ma. Let’s go,” as he steps up to Dumbbell which made him instinctively step back. As I enter the car, Dumbbell reminds me, “Omo Ele, AK ni o, no forget. Anytin at all” My driver zooms off.

I realise I’ve been holding my breath.