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GROWING UP, GROWING OUT.

The compound where my apartment is located has about ten flats. I am the only unmarried tenant and I can only recognize two of my neighbours. Everyone minds his business. 


However, I couldn’t help but notice a certain neighbour of mine. Dude has a son who is extremely introverted. When all the children come out to play, this boy (let’s call him Sadiq) would sit outside his flat and watch sadly. It’s almost like he wishes he could play with the rest.

He has a poor relationship with his father, I noticed. A boy of not more than thirteen years old being treated like he is an adult. I’ve seen his mother only once and probably won’t recognise her outside. Quiet family, that one. I admire my other neighbours whose children welcome them back home with hugs and shouts of “daddy, welcome. What did you bring for us”. Sadiq simply comes out to take his father’s bag inside. He appears scared when anyone talks to him and I’ve heard his father call him a fool too many times. 

I am afraid for him and I wish his father knew what he is turning this boy into. 

This is the reality of some of us, our childhood years had us scampering about when daddy returned. When the assigned sentry yelled from the ‘mountain top’, “daddy is back”, we found our inner Usain Bolt and turned chaos into serenity. We grew up afraid of our fathers. I wonder to what end. What exactly were our fathers thinking, making us afraid of them?

Things were easier with the girls than with the boys. While the fathers had almost no relationship with their boys, the mothers had no relationship with their girls. Were they jealous? 

It is clear that Sadiq’s father grew up in such a home and this authoritarian attitude is rubbing off on his relationship with his boy who wishes he can play with his peers but is afraid of his father.

This boy will one day be fed up, fight with his dad and leave the house. He may grow up angry and transfer this anger to his own son. Plot twist? He may decide to never let his own child experience such an upbringing. This decision takes a lot of work and guts. It is not an easy path to follow – forgiving your parents and moving on – but it is the best path. I would know.

These children make huge mistakes later on. The love they lacked, they will crave and eventually do silly things if it means tasting just a little bit of love from a total stranger. 
This post is just me letting out baggage. I still greet Sadiq and hope one day, he’ll respond with a smile and join the others when they play monopoly. 

How was your growing up like?

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Posted by on March 30, 2017 in RANDOM THOUGHTS

 

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I AM AN AFRICAN GIRL

Aidee and Friends

Aidee and Friends

Not just an African, a Nigerian! Despite the ups and downs, there’s always a good thing to remember. There are those memories you can’t just let go. The African culture is unique in its own way. I  have had the opportunity to experience that awful, unhappy side of life. So I was listening to an old Nigerian song and I marveled at the memories it brought. The musician brought back the memories of our old culture just before it was taken over by civilization. The culture is so interesting that it is better experienced than read or imagined. Little wonder why foreigners are very eager to visit Africa. It’s a continent I always insist God chose to keep. Strange diseases abound, men kill men, children are orphaned, blood flows, illiteracy is widespread, corruption plagues the land but satisfaction is seen on every face.

You have to agree that Africans are certainly unbelievable! I am Nigerian, I was born in the South, grew up in the West, visited the North and have been fortunate to stay in the East. Everywhere, people are content. Palm wine continues to flow, Kola nut must be eaten, Dry gin must be ingested. The local kids mist learn to climb trees, use a catapult, ride a bicycle. Kids must learn to farm, never fear animals. Even the enlightened teach their children to greet. Respect is everywhere!

I remember one of my uncles told me, when I was 8 years old to ‘Digwe’, my dad never taught me the native language but I could comprehend so I knelt and said ‘Migwo’. Only then was the man satisfied that I was respectful. I learnt, while growing up in the West, to add the word ‘aunty’, ‘uncle’, ‘brother’ or ‘sister’ before calling the names of anyone older than me. I  learnt to be content with the little I was given. I learnt to read my parents’ eyes around strangers. Failure to learn fetched cane marks. We were flogged like goats, but all these have only helped. Who I am and who I will be is as a result of the typical African training I got from my dad.

I looked forward to festivals where I would see masquerades dance. Ogun, the god of Iron and Sango, the god of thunder were greatly revered, they still are. The rich culture of the land, the Fuji and Juju music genres as well as the ‘Bata‘ drum (talking drum) all made an impact. Even at this hour of instability and chaos, some people somewhere are preparing for a big party where musicians would be called to flatter the rich. The Yoruba people are always ready for some ‘Faaji’ (flamboyant lifestyle). They never get tired of Ikokore (water yam porridge) and Omi-obe with ponmo (meat hide). Mothers still tell tales by moonlight and children still hawk goods.

I could go on and on but in all, as Africans, we always look beyond the seemingly unpleasant situations, making time out for fun. I am very proud to be an African girl.

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2013 in Africa, LIFE, love

 

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