Sunday, 14 May 2017

Gender issues in Africa.

Ogbenyealu; The Capitalist Igbo.
Actually the Igbos were the first indigenous capitalist tribe in Africa. It has been our culture even before the Arrival of the 'colonial masters'. Ogbenyealu is a female name that translates to 'Never to be married by a poor man'; putting a price tag on a child @ birth is a pure capitalist choice and in a way sexist. What else is Capitalism?  We have different systems of oppression and all are built around gender. Gender is a problem because of sexism and gender is the foundation of every systems of oppression.
I was about 9 years old when my younger sister Obiageliaku was born, three months later she was baptised in a Catholic Church and after her baptism well wishers prayed for her to grow into a beautiful woman and for good suitors to locate her when the time is ripe! I was slightly startled, for heaven sake she's but a child and if she were to be a boy, good health & prosperity would have been the prayers of well wishers and of course not a good wife. I noticed the problem of gender at a very young age by observing the world in the way it treats women for the sole purpose that they're females. So my sister grew up into a girl who lived her life always keeping in mind that marriage is the ultimate as such she automatically inherited some marital books with funny title from my mother, books with title like 'How to deal with a nagging husband' 'The Virtuous Woman' and the list goes on. This is the typical case for girls in Africa.
So I stumbled upon this picture online.
A culture in Ethiopia where women begged to be flogged in an effort to prove their love for men; it was then it dawned on me that gender as a system of oppression is still predominant in Africa. For things to change, we have to start raising our girls and boys differently.
We teach girls compromise in Relationships; give up your dream; Quit your job so that you can take care of your family. We teach girls self reduction and self sacrifice as the only way of showing/increasing their worth in life; 'I gave up my job in an oil company just to show my love for my husband' and I think this is the dumbest idea we give to females. Stay down and keep yourself down and you will be rewarded with a cookie. If you're the breadwinner in your family, pretend not to be. Never show that you're more intelligent than a man otherwise you'll threaten the man and this has got me thinking, why should a man feel threaten by a woman's success? Girls eventually grow up into women who have turned pretense into an Art form and this is the worst thing we do to girls. We do a great disservice to girl, gender as it functions in Africa (and this cuts across other continents) is  a grieve injustice to both boys and girls. I am angry, we should all be angry towards gender issues because anger has a long history of restoring peoples dignity.
What if we raise our children differently, what if we teach them that compromise is something that is supposed to be associated with both gender. What if we teach them to love by giving and taking?
To all the girls; love by 'giving' & 'taking', and when you're are giving too much than you are receiving you will know. Dare to speak.
Next post will be about Marriage. Is Marriage a thing of ownership or partnership? Is it an Achievement? Drop your comments or send them to my email address:

Thursday, 4 May 2017

The Rapist & the Rape Apologists.

About 6 years ago in one of Nigeria's campuses, a young girl was raped by four boys in a room and there was outrage online but I was surprised at some of the comments made by young Nigerians (both girls and boys) concerning the Rape. Comments that would sum up to;
●Yes Rape is bad but what is a girl doing in a room with 4 guys?
●Why didn't she scream?
●Am sure she wasn't decently dressed. She tempted them!
Now I want you to see the inhumanity in these statements and the gravity of its contents.
People tend to occupy the World in the way they socialise to it. In Africa young people are taught to always blame girls (rape victims) for the Rape. While I was in secondary school, my teachers taught us to always cover our nakedness 'properly' so that we won't seduce men and avoid the risk of being rape victims. I really found this alarming as it contradicts some of the knowledge I have about Africa; Black women were known to be expose their bodies and were never ashamed and most importantly there was never any case of Rape. We teach girls shame! Cover your legs and we  make mistakes of always linking morality to dressing. In the process we raise girls who see themselves as sexual-prey who must tend to the fragile ego of men and create space for men to be monsters and sexual-predators. But the truth be told;
● Men are not Monsters.
●Women are not sexual-prey.
Rape is not a spontaneous action, it is a premeditated act of wickedness and as such rapist should be punished. Men should know that 'No' is a No and no matter what circumstances,whether the victim is drunk,drugged, or sober her opinion must be respected. Being a Rape victim comes with stigma and trauma and a struggle to overcome both and move on with life. It's an injury to one's dignity and the after effects can be devastating.
Most Rape Apologists often think that being a rape victim will make one morally strong and perhaps dress 'properly' to prevent future occurrences but victimhood is not a virtue. They always give excuse for men to be sexual-predators but thank God for civilisation:for the sole purpose of civilisation is learning, unlearning and relearning. We have to unlearn some of the false ideas we have about rape and to learn that rape is not an involuntary action (like blinking of eyes,in that sense we can relearn good ideas and tackle rape cases seriously. If a married man rapes his wife, he his guilty of Rape and we shouldn't in anyway try to be apologetic about the issue and waving it off with comments like;
● Afterall he paid for it.
●She's supposed to be submissive...and all manner of silly statements.
Rape is Rape and we Africans must treat it like it is.