Friday, March 30, 2012

Till death do us part: Saint Kevin strikes back

So on Facebook, a well meaning female lawyer and probably close family member makes a case for crowning Kevin the Saint of husbands (click here)
The letter is as verbose as the other but it further sheds a little more light on the Onuchukwu home. (To her credit, she did not cast any smear on the late woman).

I summarized the salient points below:

1.       Ogochukwu suffers from endometriosis of the lungs. (Endometriosis is a gynecological medical condition in which cells from the lining of the uterus/womb appear and flourish outside the womb, most commonly on the ovaries. Sometimes the cells can pass through the blood to other organs. In Ogochukwu’s case they grew in her lungs – a rare complication)
2.       St Kevin knew about her ill-health prior to their marriage but because he loved her, he still went ahead (though she should have been considered to be damaged goods)
3.       He spent over 80m in their 12 years of marriage maintaining her health.
4.       He provided her with nannies, state of the art cars, drivers so she could live a pampered existence.
5.       He never raised his hand at her.
6.       Her mother in law worshipped the ground she walked on.
7.       Though friends and family had tired of Ogo’s ill health and childlessness, Kevin faithfully stood by her.
8.       A doctor had suggested that the removal of Ogochukwu’s ovaries would improve her health but the husband said No. His faith was later justified as they went on to have 2 kids after 7 years of childlessness.
9.       Kevin loved his kids and provided well for them.
10.   He did not attend his daughter’s christening cause he had to go away on business not cause he rejected the child.
11.   His wife’s car is unsold and still parked in their home.
12.   The letter and info on the Ogorip website are false and baseless and Ogochukwu had no input to them. The individuals that sponsored these false / fabricated website publications are hiding under the name of late Ogochukwu to cause damage to the families.
13.   The individuals were probably Ogochukwu’s sisters who were home breakers and opportunists/gold diggers encouraging her to fleece her husband and disobey him


My View
The families of Ogo and Kevin had no love lost between them.
Ogochukwu’s health was a drag on their dear brother's resources.
Due to her sick status it seems she became a pawn used by both her husband and sisters.
The lawyer’s rebuttal doesn’t necessarily mean that Ogochukwu was not an abused wife. Paying huge medical bills isn’t a sign of love (infact it might be a reason for resentment and anger), nor does providing nannies and a driver. Most middle income Nigerian families can afford help/sssss please.
If a doctor thought ovariectomy would resolve her health issues, why didn’t he let her have the procedure? Isn’t it possible that the subsequent childbirths helped to deteriorate her health faster?

Anyway I’m almost sure there will be a 3rd installment from Ogochukwu’s sisters cause they have been made out to be the villains of the piece.
I doubt I’ll read it whenever it surfaces.

Ogo is at peace now. The rest of them should go hug transformers........ooh wait, don't. We need you alive to care for the kids left behind. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

My date with Chimmy Adichie

Hi people,

I’d planned to blog strong this month all about women, empowerment feminism. Here I am 2 days to the end of the month with only two posts to show and over 5 drafts. Life happens that's what. Good things though. All to be revealed in good time ;).

Now onto my date with Chimmy.
What?! Don’t tell me you guys don’t know we are BFFs? Well, now you know.

So I got to meet the feted Nigerian writer Chimamanda Adichie at the Guildhall, London where she delivered the 2012 Annual Commonwealth lecture 'To Instruct and Delight: A Case for Realist Literature' (Author of Purple Hibiscus, Half of a Yellow Sun, This Thing Around Your Neck).
Close-up appeal
I wish I had a cool picture where we sat like Sistas discussing writing, happy feminists and Ibo culture. No siree. Instead here I am looking like a ‘Mad about you’ fan.

Here are snippets from her engaging lecture. (watch it here or read the full transcript here).

I read human stories,’ she said, ‘to be instructed and to be delighted. I also read to remind myself that I am not alone.

when we read human stories, we become alive in bodies not our own ... It seems to me that we live in a world where it has become increasingly important to try and live in bodies not our own, to embrace empathy, to constantly be reminded that we share, with everybody in every part of the world, a common and equal humanity.

I discussed her speech with a friend post-event and commented that some parts of Chimmy's lecture ‘choro ndi Britain okwu’ (challenged Britain):

“When I went to the US to go to university, I met a number of international students. From Jamaica. From India. From Kenya. And I soon realized that while we were very different, we did have something in common, something that the students from China or even Senegal did not. A certain way of being and doing, an almost intuitive way of understanding each other. And I would argue that it was not simply because our countries had been colonized by the British, not because we came from places where lawyers wore funny white wigs, but because we had, from childhood, read British books. We read Charles Dickens and Enid Blyton, we read of cucumber sandwiches and ginger beer, and our imaginations were bound in a common familiarity. There was something in this discovery that moved me, although it also left me newly astonished at just how the British had managed to meddle in so many parts of the world”.

Chimmy also spoke about the evils of colonialism and how the British empire’s indignity to man was swept under the carpet with “bloodless words like ‘amalgamation’, ‘pacification’ and ‘bloodless rule’”. It was the truth alright and I was impressed by her forthrightness. You see, it’s the kind of finger-pointing you might expect from a Soyinka, an Achebe not a budding writer (so to speak) who is being tenderly courted by the West. Moreso when you are standing on the host’s soil.

But my friend’s viewpoint gave me pause for thought - That maybe therein lies her attraction to her courtiers. Her refreshing candor and loyalty to her roots. Her pride in her Nigerianness. Her boldness in broaching subjects which other budding writers might have been silent about. Her consistency.
I agree with him.

So at the reception following the lecture, I beheld these two men chatting. One was holding a book. I noticed a word that looked like K-Leg on the book cover and I thought, did someone actually include K-Leg in their book title? LOL.
I went closer and asked if I could see the book. Indeed the title is “K-Leg Protocol” and I was actually speaking to the author and his friend. They were of course Nigerians (Or is there another country that uses K-Leg in their lingua franca?). I read the blurb. Sounds interestingly vague. Didn’t get to ask questions cause his friend kept prattling on about why I should buy the book.

Still on writers. 
At a friend’s house later in the week, the buzz was all about Chibundu Onuzo’s “The Spider King’s Daughter” which was being launched at Waterstones earlier in the afternoon. A copy of the book was in the house and I glanced through. Hmmm, let me just say that 15 yrs ago I would have begged, bribed or helped the book take a long walk in my handbag - ‘the things I used to do for a good read’. Enough said.

An Irish friend was raving about Chinua Achebe, Ben Okri, Camara Laye’s books. While I appreciated her diverse library I was happy that I could introduce her to contemporary Nigerian writers whose books are as ethnic and entertaining as ever.

Here’s to Nigerian writers. I am so proud of you!

p.s. Remind me that when next I have the opportunity to meet an author, it would be nicer to come along with a copy of their book for autographs. 

p.p.s. Chimmy’s husband is like the best kept secret, Haba!. She has refused to introduce us and Google hasn’t been helpful.

K-Leg means not straight (like legs which are K) awry, off kilter,. hence In Nigeria when you say “plans have gotten K-Leg” it means “plans have gone awry” off-kilter”).

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Till death do us part? Please No

Prof sent me this 'letter' from the grave by an Ogochukwu Onuchukwu. The link is here.
First off, may her soul rest in peace, Amen, and if this were Nollywood, may her anguished spirit trouble her husband till he makes reparations at least starting with caring for their children.

It’s a pathetic story of domestic abuse. While this wasn’t physical abuse you can see how psychological/verbal abuse can be as damaging as a knife in the heart.
Her story also brings to light so many other issues in the larger society – 
  • the do or die attitude towards marriage by women (how many times must we discuss this?), 
  • domestic violence form extended family e.g. In-laws which is also rampant, 
  • Spousal inheritance and how wives are overlooked, 
  • Stigma attached to childlessness, 
  • Rejection of the girl-child, 
  • Rejection of imperfect children. 
 Ogochukwu sadly represents a large percentage of Nigerian women who think their worth is validated by the love of a man and childbirth. I think this is a most selfish self-absorbing preoccupation which adds no value to womankind.

International Women’s day was celebrated this month. A day we celebrate women who have made contributions to their society, to the world despite the limitations placed by their gender, environment.
e.g. Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti is mother to Fela, Olikoye, Beko Ransome Kuti (all notable and illustrious sons), but when her biography is read, the first paragraph will be about her amazing achievements as a warrior and activist while her equally notable children will be mentioned in the second paragraph. Her bravery lives on in her children. They are what they are because they had a mother who showed them that they could do whatever they wanted to do. Not a mother who’s sun rose and set on their father.

In all her tears one thing stood clear. Ogochukwu had substituted love for self with love for Kevin. She had supplanted her desire for God’s love by her desire for her husband’s attention. That’s not real love. This mental conditioning, this mental subjugation, this self martyrdom has got to stop!
She didn’t say he threatened her not to leave ala Jennifer Lopez’s film ‘Enough’, rather I am wont to believe that if she had made the decision to leave, Kevin and his family would have given her a befitting farewell (tic), swept the house clean to welcome in a new wife.

I remember the character Crystal played by Kimberly Elise in For colored girls. Crystal was married to a former soldier suffering from Post Traumatic Distress syndrome. He abused her and the kids for months, years. But she stayed on trying to be a super hero. Hoping to change him through her loyalty/faithfulness prayer and love (pride disguised as love methinks). Then one day her husband threw the kids out of the window in his bid to hurt her. C’est la Vie.

As she mourned and sunk into depression, can you remember one of the chats she had with Phylicia wherein she was blamed for the loss of her kids. For not trying to leave? I read comment sections where people said Phylicia was wrong to say that. Too judgmental. You haven’t walked in her shoes etc etc.
Let’s be real here. If a stranger hit your kid, would you pat his head and say “it’s alright”? 
No, you’ll call the cops on him/her.
How about if the stranger slaps you and stomps on your feet. Would you say “Thank you and turn the other cheek? Well you might turn the other cheek then, but from that day on, you would wisely give him a wide berth for your safety (or you could tell your mean brothers to beat him up).
Why then would a woman put up with a husband-turned-stranger in her matrimonial home? If the man who professed love to me, worshipped the ground I walk on suddenly turns into an abusive stranger am I obliged to stay with him? Is that what for better, for worse is? I think not.
The self/marriage preservative thing to do/say is ‘Husband I still love you but you need anger management/drug rehabilitation etc CAUSE you are no longer the man I married’ and as you say that, you give him a wide berth and move out or at least plan towards that if incapacitated.

Let’s stop putting up with sh##t or encouraging our friends, daughters, sisters, brethren to put up with it in the name of marriage or ‘what will people say’ or worse ‘for financial benefits’.
If we do, then we should be ready to keep burying them young.

RIP Ogochukwu Onuchukwu and truly, may your life teach others what marriage isn’t.

Disclaimer – ‘I am aware that there are women who walk in these shoes who wish to leave but lack the means, the support etc etc. this is not for you. This is for those who can’t bear the thought of not being Mrs. Somebody. For those in abusive girlfriend/boyfriend relationships right now..who are eyeing the price (an engagement ring) instead of their future health. Them who have ears listen..

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Unsung Heroines in my neighbourhood Meme

Happy Women's day everyone!!

So my girlfriend asked members of a group on Facebook to talk about what they love about being a woman.
Here's my take. Please don't laugh :)

I am also thinking that we should continue this in a sort of Meme for international Women's day/month. You can tell us what you love about being a woman or 
about a woman whose life/doings/resilience/achievements inspire/inspired you. It can be someone famous, it can be the little lady in your neighbourhood, it can be your grandaunt in the village. Tell us what it is about them that touches you and please if you can, one of these days please tell them.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Can a Woman Propose to a Man? (A Male POV)

Myne’s post inspired this conversation earlier today. I thought it was funny, enlightening and share-able

Ginger: Can women propose to a man from Myne's blog post
Prof: yup
Ginger: my answer to that...
Prof: I read it
Ginger: Ha, Myne. no be me and you oo. If na Oyibo i fit. But African man MBA.
Fa fa fa foul!! I totally see where Deronks above is coming from and can envisage it.
Let the man do the chasing please. let it be all his idea. In this I will play the culture card. It is not our culture.
Same reason why i could never approve of getting pregnant before marriage.
Till our marriage is signed sealed and delivered I aint brooding no baby.
I don't want to be remembered for pushing a man.
I can hint, and I can give ultimatums like ‘guy if you dont get your act together
before this year runs out, I am walking away’ ala Craig David...
Prof: Hmmmm, Interesting answer
But I don't totally agree.
Every r/ship is peculiar and it depends
Ginger: Well, me no want peculiar
Prof: laughssssssssss
It all depends
Ginger: which nonsense peculiar
most times, the woman already sees a marriage before the man
and they scheme and they nag and thay ask all the
'where is this relationship going 'questions
Prof: :)
Ginger: what is the manly man waiting for?
Prof: It still depends on the two people involved
Ginger: ka agbanye ya ring na aka? (for her to put a ring on it?)
Prof: U are straying from the topic
Ginger: I'm not
I am rehashing a typical relationship
Prof: It's possible that Man A is the type a certain Woman X will never propose to
but could propose to Man B cos of the kind of person she thinks he is
E.g. How she thinks he'd handle it
Ginger: and why should a woman still propose after all the green light she has shown?
Prof: What's a proposal anyway? "Will U marry me (on bended knees)?
Technically, yes
Ginger: She can stand straight don’t worry
Prof: But a babe can propose in so many other ways
Ginger: ok. agreed different relationships/diff peculiarities
Prof: It all depends
Ginger: etc
you should know your partner etc etc
There are few men shaa that are receptive to it
I have just told you that I will find it easier to do it to an Oyibo man
Prof: See ur life?
Ginger: even to toast an Oyibo man
Prof: Na colonial mentality go kill you :P
Ginger: yeaah. like it is acceptable there.
in isnt
even if i come onto a Nigerian guy who understands, what of his friends, his family
Prof: That means he'd go spreading the news?
Ginger: its not the type of giggly story you are happy to share...oh Ginger proposed to me yesterday
Prof: Then he is not a man
Ginger: Dont we spread the news when a man proposes?
Prof: Laughsss
U are women
That's d difference
Ginger: in the spirit of equality and fairness should we hide it when a woman proposes?
Prof: Laughssssssssssssssssssssss!!!
Ginger, leave me o
Equality & fairness!
Ginger: going to copy and paste this bit of the convo on Myne's page
ewu gambia
Prof: LOL!
Ginger: but really na
Prof: Approved
Go ahead
Ginger: So you have seen all those engagement/wedding websites, haven’t you?
Prof: Post everything not just the part where u seemed to be winning o
Ginger: When the question 'how did he propose?’ is asked
Prof: LOL
Ginger: should we hide the fact that ‘she’ proposed?
Prof: Forget the website and the whole Hollywood entrenched thinking
Ginger: ahh ahh
Prof: If dem no come get website nko?
Must they have a website?
Ginger: which one is hollywood entrenched?
Why shouldn’t they if they had always wanted to?
Prof: Hollywood entrenched=pop culture= website/Man proposes kneeling down etc etc. Did U not see the couple in Sex & The City? Each marriage/relationship is unique & two people involved should make their own rules as long as it fits them. They don't have to play for people to cheer. Just saying, not that I personally would want a woman to propose to me (and that is the crux of the matter)

Ginger: I agree, proposals don’t have to be something elaborate.
Prof: Just saying there's nothing wrong or UnAfrican abt it
Ginger: ok.
Ginger: In fact here goes. Prof will you marry me?
Prof: No, it doesn't have to
On chat?
Ginger: lol
Prof: Call me and say it
Ginger: all na proposal na
Prof: LOL!
Post ds on your blog o
Ginger: if a man proposes to me online it is binding
Prof: Really?
Ginger: yes ke
even though i will yab him for the rest of our marital life
Prof: I'd have to chew that. Never thot of it b4. U might be right
Ginger: okay that’s a no then.
No probs
Prof: Afterall, we spend 70% of our lives these days online
I was talking about eschewing the online mode not d proposal itself
The answer is yes
Ginger: Sorry
I've moved on
Prof: Laughssssssssssssssssssss
Ginger: Ewu meeee
Prof: U just smashed my heart!
Ginger: akuko
Prof: Nonsense
Ginger: see, if you were in the spirit
you would have said yes before all that pre-meditation
Prof: Oh, I am not a spirit
We should run the application again
Ginger: dream on, dream away…
Ginger: so why dont you want a woman to propose? And I have got other questions..
Prof: LOL!
Ginger: does he still get her a ring?
Ginger: who asks for whose hand in marriage with the parents? Who pays dowry?
Prof: Now, proposing in d 1st place by d woman was to find out sth
‘If d guy is ready to be with her for life’
Just like it serves that same purpose when the guy pops the question
In this case
Our man is a bit "unconventional" or shy or sth
Or maybe just waiting to be proposed to
U know d way babes wait
So, the girl pops the question
Prof: He says yes
Ginger: okay.
Prof: and then he wakes up
Ginger: lol
Prof: or he smiles and says, "I thot U were never gonna ask"
Ginger: lolsssssssssssssss
Prof: "What too U so long, baby?"
Ginger: I'll just clonk his head
Prof: Laughsssssssssssssss
Ginger: anu mpam
Prof: LOL!!!
Ginger: he is waiting for all my eggs to die ee kwa?
Prof: LOL
So he now says, Ok we need to call your parents/go to d village
Thanks for bringing me to this point
for understanding me
in my own unique way
Ginger: lol
Prof: and then everything continues as before
Ginger: I haven’t forgotten the first question though
Prof: Ring gets bought,
everything gets done the "conventional" way
Ginger: thanks for the enlightenment Prof
Ginger: Interestingly some real life proposals i read, played out just like you explained
Prof: A proposal= a question
Ginger: Yep
Various stories of women proposing
and they said their men still proposed in their own time in the end
Prof: U see?
Ginger: So maybe women proposing is just not taken as seriously by the man
maybe it hastens things a tad bit..but everything is still at his own timing
Prof: I’m back. Checked out the link. got engrossed. Wow!
Ginger: I know. Yay to the ladies.
Ginger: Here’s another interesting link
Prof: I do agree with your last statement. It's sad isn't it, the way men get to dictate the pace of everything? 


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