Tag Archives: family

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?!

Gayle King and Oprah Winfrey’s Fierce Bond: How Their 40-Year Friendship Has Outlasted Every Rumour, Spat and Scandal

Lisa: Well, let’s get right to it! Every time I tell somebody, “I’m interviewing Oprah and Gayle,” the response is always the same: “Oh.  Are they, you know, together?” 

Oprah: You’re kidding. Are people still saying that?

Lisa: Every single person. And I say, “No, I don’t think so.” And invariably, they respond with something like “You know, you’re very naive.”

Oprah: I understand why people think we’re gay. There isn’t a definition in our culture for this kind of bond between women. So I get why people have to label it—how can you be this close without it being sexual? How else can you explain a level of intimacy where someone always loves you, always respects you, admires you?

Gayle: Wants the best for you.

Oprah: Wants the best for you in every single situation of your life. Lifts you up. Supports you. Always! That’s an incredibly rare thing between even the closest of friends.

Gayle: The truth is, if we were gay, we would so tell you because there’s nothing wrong with being gay.

Oprah: Yeah. But for people to still be asking the question, when I’ve said it and said it and said it, that means they think I’m a liar. And that bothers me.

Gayle: Well, particularly given how open you’ve been about everything else in your life.

Oprah: I’ve told nearly everything there is to tell. All my stuff is out there. People think I’d be so ashamed of being gay that I wouldn’t admit it? Oh, please.

Lisa: Do the rumours bother you, Gayle?

Gayle: Not anymore, but I used to say, “Oprah, you have to do something. It’s hard enough for me to get a date on a Saturday night. You’ve got to go on the air and stop it!” And then you realize you really can’t stop it. And, you know, somebody made a good point: “Well, every time we see you, you’re together,” which is true.

Oprah: We were just down in the Bahamas—I was giving a wedding for my niece there. And we’re having this big party in my suite. And who comes walking in—

Gayle: With my suitcase.

Oprah: With her suitcase! And I knew what all the waiters, what everybody was thinking: “They’re gay. This proves it. Has to be, because Stedman isn’t around.”

Gayle: And sure enough, the tabloid headline was OPRAH’S HIDEAWAY WITH GAL PAL. Ridiculous. But that said, I have to admit, if Oprah were a man, I would marry her.

Lisa: Sorry, Gayle, I just don’t buy it. Everyone knows Oprah’s not tall enough for you.

Oprah: She has a point.

Gayle: I do like them big.

Oprah: The truth is, no matter where I am, whether Stedman is there or not, Gayle’s in the other room. I mean, she’s always coming in and asking, “Whatcha doin’?”

Gayle: I really do marvel at this because if Stedman didn’t accept me, it would be very difficult for us to be friends.

Oprah: See, that would never be a question for me. If you don’t like my best friend, then you don’t like me. That’s not negotiable. Smoking is nonnegotiable. It’s just a deal breaker. Not liking my best friend—forget it! Or my dogs—you got to go!

Lisa: Oprah, how did you feel when Gayle got married?

Oprah: Actually, I was a little sad. Did I ever tell you that? Mostly because I just didn’t think it was going to work out.

Gayle: You didn’t? You never told me that.

Oprah: No—it didn’t feel joyful. You know how you go to weddings and they’re full of joy?

Gayle: Wait a minute! You didn’t think it was going to work out at the wedding?

Oprah: There are some weddings you go to and you’re just filled with all this hope for the couple. And you feel that there’s something special going on. I didn’t feel that at yours.

Gayle: But you were my maid of honour!

Oprah: Yes, but it just felt kind of pitiful. I never told you because it wasn’t my place to say that.

Gayle: I wouldn’t have believed you anyway.

Oprah: No. And also because I felt like, well, maybe it’s just me being jealous. Maybe I couldn’t feel the joy because I was feeling like our friendship was going to change. But it didn’t.

Lisa: What about when you had a baby, Gayle?

Gayle: Nothing really changed between us. Oprah was there. She came shortly after Kirby was born. She came shortly after Will was born. She was there.

Oprah: I thought it would change just in terms of time. But my gift to her was a full-time nanny.

Gayle: Right. The kids are 11 months apart, and Oprah goes, “I got you the perfect gift.” And I’m thinking, “Oh, good. She’s giving me a double stroller.” Back then double strollers were very expensive. But the gift turned out to be a nanny! She said, “I want to pay the nanny’s salary for as long as you feel you need her.”

Oprah: She kept that nanny for like seven or eight years. But what I love is that even as a working-outside-the-home mom, she was always there to put her kids to bed. She said, “I want my face to be the first face my kids see when they wake up and the last thing they see at night.” So it wasn’t like the nanny came and—

Gayle: Replaced me.

Oprah: I admire a lot of things about Gayle. But when I think about the way she raised her kids, that makes me weepy.

Gayle: Why weepy? That’s so surprising to me.

Oprah: Maybe I haven’t said it to you very often, but I say it to other people all the time. Gayle is the best mother I have ever seen, heard, or read about. She was always 100 per cent there for those kids—to this day. We’d be on the phone, in the middle of a conversation, and the kids would enter the room. This just happened last week, and her son’s 19. She goes, “Hi, Willser. You got your Willser face on. Mommy loves you. Good morning, Bear. Hi, Kirby-Cakes.” She stopped the conversation to greet them and let them know that they were seen and heard. And then she came back to the phone and carried on the conversation.

These kids have grown up with such love and support from Gayle, and also from Gayle’s ex-husband. I love the way she understood that though the marriage was not going to work, her husband still needed to have a space to maintain a strong relationship with these kids. That takes a real woman. It’s always, always, always been about what’s best for her children.

Gayle: Years ago when Oprah was thinking of leaving the show, she said, “You should move to Chicago, and we’ll incorporate you into the show. And then at the end of the year, I’ll pass the baton on to you—but you’d have to move to Chicago.” And I said, “I can’t do that because Billy wouldn’t be able to see the kids on a regular basis.”

Oprah: I said, “Do you realize what I’m offering?”

Gayle: And I go, “Yeah, I do.” But the kids were young, and I just said, “No, I can’t do that.”

Oprah: That’s why she’s the best, and her kids are the best. Her kids are my godchildren. There are shots of me riding around on all fours with Kirby—you know, playing horsey and stuff. I remember when William first came to the farm: He was running around saying, “Auntie O, you have a pool and a wacuzzi? Can you afford all this?”

When he was little, little, little, I had all these antique Shaker boxes. He was stacking them like

Gayle: Blocks.

Oprah: And knocking them over. I went, “William! Put those boxes down!” These kids weren’t used to anybody raising their voice—they were never spanked or yelled at. So he was like, wacuzzi or no wacuzzi, I’m outta here. And he told his mommy, “I want to go home.”

These kids made a lot of noise, and there were all kinds of bright yellow plastic things that made noise. And the TV was on and the same video was playing over and over and over. But Gayle helped me adjust.

Gayle: I’m always kind of taken aback, Lisa, when Oprah talks about me and the kids because I see a lot of mothers who feel about their children the way I feel about mine.

Oprah: But they don’t always have kids who turn out the way yours have. Everybody wants to raise good people, not just smart people at Ivy League schools and all that but good people. You have to be a good person to raise good people.

Lisa: Do you two talk every single day?

Gayle: We usually talk three or four times a day.

Oprah: Then there’s my night call. When she was on vacation with her sisters, and we hadn’t had a conversation, I realized I felt far more stressed. I’ve never had a day’s therapy, but I always had my night conversations with Gayle.

Gayle: We talk about everything and anything.

Oprah: What was on the show, what the person was wearing. What I really thought, what she really thought.

Lisa: Let me shift gears. It feels as if people are always trying to enlist my help in getting some kind of a letter to you, Oprah—and it’s usually for a worthy cause. But I was thinking, Gayle, you must get that every hour of every day. 

Gayle: Well, I know what Oprah would be interested in hearing and what she wouldn’t, and, you know, I’ve figured out a way to politely decline. But I love that people love her so much and are so interested in communicating with her, so I never look at it as a hassle or burden.

Oprah: She handles it. It’s one of the things that’s so amazing about this friendship. Gayle is more excited about my success than I am. It makes her genuinely happy. We’ve been friends since I was making $22,000 and she was making $12,000. We’ve made this journey together.

Gayle: Not much has changed, except now she’s making a stratospheric salary.

Oprah: The first time Gayle spent the night at my house was because there was a snowstorm and she couldn’t get home. She was a production assistant and I was the 6 o’clock anchor in Baltimore.

Gayle: Anchors and PA’s do not socialize—the newsroom hierarchy.

Oprah: But I said, “You can stay at my house.” The next day, we went to the mall.

Gayle: Remember Casual Corner? They had those two for $19.99 sales.

Oprah: I ended up buying two sweaters.

Gayle: I had to call my mother and say, “You know my friend Oprah? Guess what? She bought two sweaters!” I was into layaway back then, for one sweater. [Laughter]

Oprah: Years later, for my 42nd birthday, we were in Miami, and I decided I was going to buy myself a birthday present. So we were on our way to the mall, and we pass a car dealership where I spot a black Bentley in the lot. I’m like, “Oh my God, that is the most beautiful car.” So we pull over and I go in and buy that Bentley right on the spot. And I say to Gayle, “This is a Casual Corner moment.”

They get it all cleaned up, and it’s a convertible. The top is down, and guess what? It starts to rain. It’s pouring.

Gayle: And I say, “Shouldn’t we put the top up?”

Oprah: “No. Because I want to ride in a convertible on my birthday!” Anyway, Gayle was like, “You’re going to buy that right now? Shouldn’t you think about this or try to negotiate a better deal?” I said, “Gayle, that’s the same thing you said when I bought the two sweaters.”

Lisa: What’s that Paul Simon lyric? “After changes upon changes, we are more or less the same.”

Oprah: The scale got larger. I mean, you need a moment of silence every time I write a check for my income taxes.

Gayle: I can’t even wrap my head around all this. I knew she was talented, certainly, but who would’ve thought that it would get this big?

Oprah: One of my favourite moments was about ten, 12 years ago when we were in Racine, Wisconsin. We’re caught in a traffic jam because everyone was headed to the concert hall where I was speaking, and Gayle says, “Where are all these people going?” We pull up to the venue, and Gayle goes, “What’s going on here?”

Gayle: The cops were lined up, double rows.

Oprah: Gayle’s going, “Who’s here? Who’s here?” I go, “I am, you nitwit!”

Gayle: “You mean all these people are coming to see you?” I could not believe it. That was the first time it hit me.

Lisa: Gayle, when you started at the magazine, did either of you worry that working for Oprah might change the dynamic between you?

Gayle: I wasn’t worried. I don’t think Oprah was, either. But people did say, “Oh God, you should never work with your friend.”

Oprah: But that’s how I know people don’t understand this relationship because other people’s definition of “friend” isn’t what ours is. Just the other day, I was doing a show about when your best friend is sleeping with your husband. The ultimate betrayal. Well, that is not possible in this relationship.

Gayle: What I know for sure: I will never sleep with Stedman.

Oprah: What did you use to say, “If you ever find me in the bed with Stedman—”

Gayle: “Don’t even be mad. Just scoop me up and get me to a hospital, because you will know I’m very ill.”

Oprah: “Carry me tenderly out the door.”

Gayle: So people ask, “But how can you work for a friend?” I say it’s because I know that the magazine is called O. The bottom line is somebody has to have the final word. Oprah’s not right all the time, but her record is pretty damn good. That’s not to say you can’t disagree.

Oprah: That’s why Gayle’s so great for me at the magazine—she’s going to have almost exactly the same opinion that I do. But when she doesn’t agree, she’ll fight for her opinion as though there were a G on that magazine. We have “disagree,” and we have “strongly disagree.” If Gayle strongly, strongly feels something about somebody—

Gayle: It makes her pause.

Oprah: It makes me pause because she’s been my—she’s apple pie and Chevrolet. She loves everybody. So if there’s somebody she doesn’t like, that will get my attention because she’s truly everybody’s friend—far friendlier than I am. I would not call myself a friendly person.

Gayle: I’m very social.

Oprah: I’m not social. Nor am I all that friendly.

Gayle: All Oprah needs is a good book. My only request when she’s building any house is, “Could I please have a TV in my bedroom?” She goes, “You’re the only one who complains about not having a TV in the bedroom.” I go, “Well, everybody thinks it, they just don’t want to say it to you.”

Oprah: I don’t have TVs in any bedroom except Gayle’s. In my house, there’s a Gayle wing.

Gayle: I don’t want to offend her, but I’m never afraid to be truthful with her.

Lisa: So I’m hearing about differences. What are the similarities? 

Gayle: We became friends that first night because, for the first time, I met somebody who I felt was like me. I’d never met anybody like that. Certainly not another black girl. I grew up in an all-white community. I remember getting embarrassed in fourth grade when a boy in my class named Wayne said, “If it weren’t for Abraham Lincoln, you’d be my slave.” I can remember that very clearly. Oprah and I had the same sensibilities. We liked the same kind of music. We thought smart—

Oprah: Smart and articulate—

Gayle: Was not a bad thing.

Oprah: We were the only black girls in our schools, and I was the only black girl in my class who loved Neil Diamond. So when you’re around black folks, and they say, “Who’s your favourite singer—”

Gayle: I liked Barry Manilow.

Lisa: Neil Diamond and Barry Manilow? You guys were made for each other.

Oprah: It’s that whole being-the-odd-girl-out thing—we didn’t fit into everybody else’s perception of what it’s like to be a black girl.

Gayle: But we still had a very strong sense of being black and were very proud of being black. So to meet another black girl like that was, wow! And we were the same age, we were both single, and we just immediately bonded.

Oprah: But she was clearly upper middle class, and I was clearly from a very poor background. Gayle had a pool growing up!

Gayle: I had a swimming pool, a maid. We grew up very, very well.

Oprah: She had a maid. My mother was a maid. You know what I’m saying? I’d never met a black person with a maid. It was like, “Lord, really? At your house?”

Gayle: So that’s how we became friends that first night, and we’ve been friends ever since.

Oprah: See, we were always together in the newsroom. I remember when they decided to fire me—

Gayle: Not fire, demote.

Oprah: They wanted to fire me, but they couldn’t because of the contract. My $22,000 contract.

Gayle: They had run a big campaign: “What is an Oprah?”

Oprah: I’d been on the air, I started in September. By April they decided it wasn’t working, because of the anchorman—

Gayle: Didn’t like you.

Oprah: But I didn’t know it. I was so naive. The day they decided that they were going to take me off the 6 o’clock news, I said to Gayle—

Gayle: I’m just typing away at my desk. She goes, “Get in the bathroom now!

Oprah: We’d always meet in the bathroom. We were, like, “Oh my God. Do you think Jerry Turner knows?” Of course, Jerry Turner was the main anchor who was kicking my ass out, but we didn’t know that. Jerry was like, “Babe, I don’t even know what happened, babe.” You know, “Sorry, babe.”

Gayle: I was stunned.

Oprah: It’s like your life is over.

Gayle: You were going to see your dad that next day.

Oprah: And that was the hardest thing because I’d never failed in front of my father.

Gayle: He was so proud of you.

Oprah: It was devastating. But God closes a door and then opens a window. If I hadn’t been removed from the news, the whole talk show thing would have never happened.

But I didn’t know that then. It was like the end of the world. You are the 6 o’clock main anchor, and there’s been this huge promotional campaign. But I learned from that. When I came into Chicago, I said, “I will not have a big ad campaign. I will earn the respect and credibility of each viewer. I will not set myself up to fail.”

Lisa: Gayle, has Oprah ever said anything about you on the air that inadvertently crossed the privacy line? For example, when I was pregnant, I had the show on, and—

Gayle: Oh, I know, I know, I know. When she said I pooped all over the table during the birth. People literally stopped me on the street after that one.

Oprah: You know, in retrospect I might have thought a little more before saying that. But I was talking about pregnancy, what actually happens—and that’s one of the things people never tell you. She goes, “Well, listen—”

Gayle: “Next time you’re talking about shitting on a table, keep my name out of it!” I was a news anchor by then: “I’m Gayle King, Eyewitness News.” And I’d get people saying, “Yes, I saw you on the news—I didn’t know you pooped all over.”

Lisa: Let’s stay on bodily functions for a second. My best friend, Brenda, and I have established the Sunny von Bülow pact: If something ever happens to one of us, whoever’s still mobile has to come by every three weeks and pluck any unseemly facial hair.

Oprah: We don’t have that pact because it would happen automatically.

Gayle: My only instructions have been to go get her journals.

Lisa: And if something happens to you? 

Gayle: I would just want her to be involved in my children’s lives—always.

Oprah: Which we would do. Her children are my children. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for her, there’s nothing she wouldn’t do for me. There is a line of respect that is unspoken, on both our parts.

I remember once when Gayle came to my house: I was already making a lot of money, and she was making not a lot of money. And we discovered I had $422 in my pocket.

Gayle: $482.

Oprah: Okay, $482.

Gayle: But who’s counting?

Oprah: I had $482 just sort of stuck into a coat pocket.

Gayle: In your pants pocket. You know how sometimes you just find a five? Or a 20 is like, whoo! She pulls out $482.

Oprah: Okay, you tell the story.

Gayle: In 20s. And I’d gotten to Chicago on a Super Saver ticket; you know, back when you had to buy 30 days in advance for a decent price. She was living in Chicago, and I was married, and we had scrimped—I remember that once Billy and I didn’t have $10 to go to the movies. He was in law school and I was the only one working. So for her to pull out $482 was like, wow! She goes, “God, where’d this come from? You want it?” And I went, “Oh, no. No. I’m good. I’m fine.” But I’m thinking, “God, that would pay the light bill, the phone bill, the gas bill.” And she just puts it back. It’s probably still in that damn pocket. She was just extending a gesture, just being nice: “Oh, you want it?”

Oprah: But years later, she said, “You remember that time you pulled out the $482?”

Gayle: I said, “I wanted that money so bad!”

Oprah: “I needed that money so bad, but I wouldn’t take it.” You know what that’s like? That is incredible for somebody like me who lives in a world where everybody wants a piece of you. I mean, people feel they deserve a piece of you. Strangers think that.

Gayle: Now I happily accept all gifts. No, but I just wouldn’t have felt right.

Oprah: She’s never asked me for a dime. There is a level of mutual respect that comes from being with somebody you know doesn’t want anything from you but you. There will never be an ulterior motive. I have to say, this would have been a much different relationship had that ever happened. Not that I wouldn’t have done it, but in order to have a real friendship, you have to be equals.

Gayle: That’s not necessarily financial equals.

Oprah: No, equal in respect. I can’t put myself in a position where I need you to do things for me or expect you to do things for me with any kind of strings attached.

Gayle: Yeah, I never feel lesser than, or one down. Never.

Oprah: But let me just say this, too. The person who has the money has to have a generous spirit. Early on, when I started to make a lot of money and we’d go shopping, I’d say, “Look, the deal is this: If you see something you really want, I’ll get it. I don’t want to play this, ‘No, no, no, you don’t have to buy that for me,’ because I’m really willing to get it for you.” I do that now with all my friends.

Lisa: That makes sense. Otherwise, you would have all this money and nobody to enjoy it with. 

Oprah: What you don’t want is a situation where the person always expects that you’re going to be the one to pay. Otherwise, you’re just the bank, and nobody wants to be seen as an ATM machine.

Lisa: People ache for connection. 

Gayle: They do, they really do.

Lisa: They want someone who doesn’t have an agenda, doesn’t see you filtered through the prism of their own needs.

Oprah: Absolutely not. And so in a way, our friendship is better than a marriage or a sexual relationship. You know, there’s no such thing as unconditional love in a marriage as far as I’m concerned, ’cause let me tell you, there are some conditions. So don’t ask me to give you unconditional love, because there are certain things I won’t tolerate. But in this friendship, there isn’t an expectation because there isn’t a model for something like this. There isn’t a label, there isn’t a definition of what this is supposed to be. It can be all that it can be, and it’s extraordinary, in terms of the level I’ve been able to achieve and to have Gayle by my side as happy as I am for those accomplishments.

Gayle: My God. Sometimes you don’t even realize how big it is. You don’t. Maybe I’ll get some perspective years from now when we’re sitting on a porch somewhere looking back on it all.

Lisa: Do you ever think about who’s going first?

Gayle: I think about when we get old, but I can’t imagine life without Oprah. I really can’t. I’ll go first if I can be 90 and you can be 91.

Oprah: Something about this relationship feels otherworldly to me like it was designed by a power and a hand greater than my own. Whatever this friendship is, it’s been a very fun ride—and we’ve taken it together.
SOURCE: oprah.com

 

Orphaned at 17, I Automatically Became a Mother of Four to My Siblings: Here is How We Survived

Hello DANG, I’m not a writer but I feel an urge to share this

Today makes it 15 years I’ve been an orphan. My parents were decent civil Servants: Mum a teacher and jack of any trade she was interested in, and dad an Engineer. We all fought for daddy’s approval. If you did well in school you were a favorite. Me? I was never close to first or second place in class. Rarely 3rd and mostly between 4th-10th place.

Life was comfortable and good…then, the worst day of my life happens. Both of my parents died on the same day!!! I still remember where I was when I heard…. I was in the house in Lagos where my family stayed anytime we come around. I was standing outside while my brother was in he bathroom while my aunt walked into the compound. I was not surprised to see her since she didn’t stay far away and would sometimes come around unannounced.

“There has been an accident, there was a plane crash and your parents were on it”. She said. I remember seeing the news of the plane crash shortly before then but it didn’t occur to me that was the flight my parents were on. Still standing as I stared at her in shock, I began to shake uncontrollably, everything became blurry as I felt like my body was no longer present in the physical

I snapped out of it quickly. “Oh Lord, my baby brother is about to turn 5. Will my sisters be ok?”. I couldn’t reach them immediately, they were in Warri at the time while I was in Lagos with my brother studying for our A-levels. I could hear my aunt’s voice, “We don’t know anything now, there may be survivors…”. I wasn’t listening, I also didn’t really believe her, I had quickly moved on to survival mode. At this time, I had not cried. We were taken to my Uncles house, where we found so many people crying and looking sober

I was thinking to myself, Why? What next ? What should I do mummy? How do I take care of 4 people?

I quickly realised, when you lose someone, theres nothing anyone can do or say to make you feel better NOTHING!!! I didn’t cry when anyone was around, I only cried from my sleep because in my sleep, I wasn’t thinking about how my siblings would survive. But my subconscious knew I had suffered a loss, so therein, I mourned. So many promises were made by uncles and parents’ friends but I think the most honest people said to me “All you have is one another”.

How true! Days and months and years ahead revealed the truth in that statement. I was scared my siblings would grow up without guidance. I wasn’t an academic genius so all I thought was how to find something to do to take care of my siblings. Help did not come where we expected but help came from people we had never even seen and never heard of. They knew my parents and came forward at the exact point we needed something to happen

I know not many people may have had their stories turn out this way, I can say that God truly is the father to the orphan. Today and at every memorial, I look back in gratitude. My lessons learnt;

– God always has a plan. You just need to trust and believe.
-The power of a praying mother never goes to waste

I have grown from being a scared, confused young Lady with so much uncertainty, to an executive in a multinational company and a very happy and fulfilled mother of 5 (My siblings and a beautiful baby girl). All lines have fallen in pleasant places and my gratitude to God and the people who came out of nowhere to help, knows no bounds

Written by Anonymous for diaryofanaijagirl.com

Lessons from dad

“Respect All, Fear No One”- Lessons From Dad

“Respect All, Fear No One”. This was one of the lessons from dad as I grew older

Every time there was an altercation and no one wanted to speak up, he would say this repeatedly. One day, I turned it on him

My dad refused for my sisters to wear shorts, I didn’t think that was okay as other kids wore shorts to the beach and we had to wear skirts. Also, it was cute and I liked to wear cute things. So when I was 14 and could save enough money to go to Katangora to buy “trending clothes”, I bought a denim short and a blue top with shoulder pads and ruffles.

During environmental sanitation which was observed on the last Saturday of the month, everyone on the street stepped out of their compounds to jointly clean the drainage. On one of those days, I also stepped out in my shorts and blue top

It was time to ‘pepper’ everyone on the street and also to make a statement to my dad

I remember him standing by the drainage resting on the rake, watching me walk up to him. Forcing a smile and twirling, “do you like my shorts?” I asked him. Even though I was shaking inside, I presented a bold front. He said calmly, “what did I tell you about wearing shorts?” “You told my sisters, not me. I’ve been saving up for a long time to buy this” I said to him…

At this point, my bravado was waning. “So you’re not afraid to walk up to me like this?” He said, now adjusting his stance, the rake on one hand and his other hand firmly on his hips. “But daddy you said we should fear no one” At this time, my voice was already shaking and I was about to cry. Even though he didn’t smile, as I write this I can still see the twinkle in his eyes as he looked at me, paused for a bit and said “Go and take it off so it won’t get dirty, you can wear it after environmental”

I could have hugged him if we had that kind of relationship. Instead, I ran straight to my sisters to brag. They were so jealous

I am the fearless woman I am today, because my dad taught me and then led by example

What lessons did you learn from your dad?

fiance younger brother

My Fiance’s Younger Brother Wants Me To Greet Him First…But Why Should I?

My Fiance’s Younger Brother Wants Me To Greet Him First…But Why Should I?

Yesterday evening, a friend of my fiance whom I shall refer to as O, told me he would like to speak with me on a certain issue. I was deeply curious. Although we are both on good terms, our conversations revolve round how to download free movies or which network currently has the cheapest data plan. So of course, permit my curiousity. O began a long sermon on how he had the best interests of my fiancé and I at heart and wanted desperately for us to succeed in our chosen endeavor. I thanked him. He continued saying that so far we have made him and his ancestors proud by how well we have both been conducting ourselves with maturity and purpose. I thanked him once again. Then he got to the crux of the matter. He said that he heard that I had an altercation with my fiancé’s younger brother over who should greet whom first. He looked like he had more to say on his mind, but at this point in the conversation he felt he should proceed only with a denial from me.. I smiled. Read also: Marriages in Nigeria are sustained by women

What had happened was simple. I was older than this brother by several significant years. I’d noticed after several occasions that the fellow never greeted me. He would walk right into a room where I was seated and plant himself comfortably in a chair without so much as a “Hi.” After greeting him once or twice, I made excuses for him. ‘I have a small stature, he probably thinks he is older.’ ‘ He wasn’t in a good mood.’ ‘ He was hungry.’ Etc…The situation however persisted so I decided to woman up and handle it. I called bobo’s attention to it and he called him out immediately.

Now this brother’s defense stupefied me. He said that “1, I was a woman and as such should greet him first out of respect. 2, I should have come to tell him myself instead of reporting to my bae.” At this statement, I realized his IQ was below par, so I decided never to bother my pretty head over that again. At this point in my narration, I expected to hear a firm approval of my behaviour from O who had been listening carefully. I was to be disappointed.

O clapped back stating that in his culture [Yoruba] the iyawo was expected to treat everyone from domestic fowl to ancient deity with deep respect, curtseying and genuflecting even in her sleep and woe onto her if the husband’s family greets her first. What a wawu! This would be the first I would hear of such a ridiculous culture. So, there is a problem if both men and women need respect?

It has become a very popular saying by family coaches, marriage counsellors and religious leaders. Every marriage seminar, handbook, relationship video or whatnot lists the number one rule as Respect your man. That’s all fine and good, I have no problems with that. However, I have come to discover that the basis for a large hunk of our ‘must-do’ rules in the area of relationships have hidden roots in our culture.

That’s right. No matter how enlightened we claim to have gotten, we seem unable to escape that chain round our neck, that brass clanging band round our waist that we have termed ‘culture’. Culture in its essence is not entirely bad, but neither is it entirely good. History has shown us that culture + relationships are a toxic cocktail for womenfolk as a large number of cultural do’s and don’ts have been oppressive to us. For instance, the cultural do of ‘Do everything to make your marriage work as a woman’ not only excuses the onus from the man but effectively ties the woman down in abusive situations.

Now, culture is defined as a ‘way of life of a people at a given point and time.’ What this simply means is that culture is progressive and can actually change totally depending on the age we live in. So, back to the question above, Is the number one need of a man respect? I proffer that the number one need of ANY MAN- male or female, child or adult is respect. I’m sorry I do not think that respect should be the prerogative of the male gender only.

A lot of the current brutality and terrorism in relationships we see today has its root in a lack of respect for humanity. Rape, domestic violence, abuse and a host of other vices has at its roots a deep void of respect. Everyone deserves to be respected. We should promote that the first and basic need of any human being is simply that the dignity of his person be respected. Simple.


NB: After being called out, Bobo’s brother has received sense and has started greeting me. Now, what would have happened if I had chosen the non-confrontational route instead? I would have had to endure a lifetime of disrespect even or especially in my marital home.
O’s status as official downloader of free movies has been reinforced. He tried and failed to escape the zone. I simply cannot take marital or relationship advice from the buffoon.

Written by whitemosquito for Diary of a Naija girl.

sextuplets

Nigerian Couple Who Tried To Get Pregnant For 17 Years Welcomes Sextuplets

On May 11 Ajibola Taiwo gave birth to sextuplets. Three boys and three girls—by cesarean section at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, United States. Taiwo was 30 weeks pregnant when she gave birth to her bundles of joy whose weight ranged from 1 pound, 10 ounces to 2 pounds, 15 ounces. While their mother was discharged on discharged her babies are still in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit, but are doing well.

“I hope for the smallest of my six children to grow up and say,‘I was so small, and look at me now,’” said Taiwo, according to the hospital’s press release. “I want my kids [to] come back to VCU to study and learn to care for others with the same people who cared for me and my family.”

This is the first sextuplet delivery in VCU Medical Center’s history. My Prayer for Mothers Who Have Said Child Birth is Not That Painful

The hospital stressed that these types of deliveries are complicated and require a serious team effort in order to ensure a safe birth for both mother and babies.

“The team quickly assembled to begin prenatal management and delivery planning including pre-delivery drills and resuscitation exercises,” said Susan Lanni, M.D., medical director of labor and delivery and maternal-fetal specialist at VCU Medical Center.

“A typical labor and delivery shift includes one, perhaps two premature births, usually with time in between. We had to coordinate with our colleagues in the NICU for six premature babies to be delivered simultaneously.”

Hospital officials stress that Mrs. Taiwo and her husband Adeboye Taiwo worked hard with their doctors during her pregnancy.

“We’re going through this extraordinary journey together with the family,” said Ronald Ramus, M.D., director of the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at VCU Medical Center.

“It’s not every day that parents bring home sextuplets. Mrs. Taiwo was eating, sleeping and breathing for seven. A lot of the support and encouragement we gave her to make it as far as she did was important, and one of the biggest contributions we made as a team.”

Mr. Taiwo praised the VCU Medical Center for all of their help and professionalism.

“The medical team is excellent in medicine and hospitality,” he said. “We are far from home but the medical team is our family. That is what got us this far.”

Congrats to the Taiwo family!