Friday, 20 January 2017
Victimhood is not a Virtue.
People don't die in my Village; they were either killed by a wicked Uncle or Aunty or more still by an Angry wife. People in my Village don't die of Natural causes especially when they are rich and well-to-do; they were either poisoned or charmed by witches in their Umunna. I know because I have been a Victim of different Circumstances. My Grandfather died at a ripe age of 83 but my Uncle Obiajulu was accused of his death; which means he didn't die of a natural cause but was killed by my uncle over a land dispute(they had a brief land issue few days before my Grandfather passed on). What a Coincidence?
My Father died in an Automobile Crash in Lagos when I was 13 years and my Mother was accused of his death by the members of our Umunna. My Mother is not a Mechanic neither does she knows anything concerning Automobile apart from driving but since my Father was Rich and well-to - do, he was certainly killed by his 'wicked' wife. So my Mother have to prove her that she's 'innocent' by drinking the water used in washing my fathers' corpse and also had to sleep with his Corpse for 4 market days. My mother's hair was forcefully shaved by the Umuada and she had to mourn my father for the next 3 months. Now for non-Nigerians Africans in diaspora, when a woman 'mourns' her husband she doesn't have to do it just emotionally; she must do it both emotionally and physically so her hair has to be shaved against her own will and she has to wear white clothes and jewelleries for 3 months but if a Man 'mourns' his wife, he doesn't have to do it emotionally and he doesn't have to wear white clothes and jewelleries, all he just need to do is to wait patiently for 3 months before picking a new wife ; in that way he looks more 'responsible' to the Society.
Of course this is not the first time I'm discovering gender injustice in some African Cultures but I'd like to talk about how it has affected me and my family. My greedy Uncles were not interested in my mother's innocence but in my father's properties and investments. We were thrown out of our family house in Lagos and I couldn't do anything because I was young and female and my younger brother (who was assumed to be the successor) was barely 9years old so we had to forego all my father laboured for. We were just fragile in the hands of our Umunna because my brother is not yet an Okolobia nor a Dike and so we couldn't fight back and even if he's now a Dike, a strong man what will then be the fate of myself and my Mother. Will that avert the stigma that comes with Being Female?
My father while he was alive called me Akunna which means Father's Wealth and my Mother still calls me Nwanyibuife which means A female child is something but after my father's death I have had many Questions concerning these name and I don't know how true and valid the name is in the Society.
All these happened years ago, am now an Adult and Sometimes whenever I think about the things my Umunna did to my family I am tempted to hate them and to hate men too but they are not necessarily bad people but a product of a Society that treats women badly. I know men are not that bad but just privileged. Privilege blinds because it's the duty of privilege to blind and sometimes we have to take off the Glass of 'privilege' so as to see very well the Nuances in the Society.
I have since discovered that Victimhood is not a Virtue and being treated badly does not make one somehow morally strong. Being the Centre of Attention for a Negative thing does not make one a Celebrity; I know because my mother was later labelled a Witch who ate her husband. We have to change some culture because someone once made them to suit their time and if the full Humanity of the female gender is not our culture then we have to make the change now.