Tuesday, 19 February 2013

In Nigeria, You’re Either Somebody or Nobody by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani

This piece is brilliant and I encourage everyone to read to the very end. You can't deny true talent when you see it! Adaobi captures the true state of the mental state of Nigerians in a brilliant and practical way, even though it is a sad situation that we still have this kind of thing going on in this day and age. Our fathers were a bit more direct, case in point when a girl brings home the man she wishes to marry, the father would ask without caution whose son the boy is. This is no reference to the moral or spiritual values his family has but to the size of their purses. But it is how this oppression of the mind plays in the lives of our generation, in the social scene, in school and in our relationships and marriages (topic for another day) that beggars belief. 

Read on and dont forget to leave your thoughts!

IN America, all men are believed to be created equal and endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights. But Nigerians are brought up to believe that our society consists of higher and lesser beings. Some are born to own and enjoy, while others are born to toil and endure.
The earliest indoctrination many of us have to this mind-set happens at home. Throughout my childhood, “househelps” — usually teenagers from poor families — came to live with my family, sometimes up to three or four of them at a time. In exchange for scrubbing, laundering, cooking, baby-sitting and everything else that brawn could accomplish, either they were sent to school, or their parents were sent regular cash.

My father detested it when our househelps sang. Each time a new one arrived, my siblings and I spent the first few evenings as emissaries from the living room, where our family watched TV after dinner, to the kitchen, where the househelps washed dishes or waited to be summoned.

“My daddy said I should tell you to stop singing.”

Immediately, they would shush. Often, they forgot and started again — if not that same evening, on a subsequent one. Finally, my father would lose his imperial cool, stomp over to the kitchen and stand by the door.

“Stop singing!” he would command.

That usually settled the matter.
I honestly cannot blame my father. Although they hailed from different villages across the land, their melodies were always the same: The most lugubrious tunes in the most piercing tones, which made you think of death.
Melancholic singing was not the only trait they had in common. They all gave off a feral scent, which never failed to tell the tale each time they abandoned the wooden stools set aside for them and relaxed on our sofas while we were out. They all displayed a bottomless hunger that could never be satisfied, no matter how much you heaped on their plates or what quantity of our leftovers they cleaned out.
And they all suffered from endless tribulations, in which they always wanted to get you involved. 

Go to The New York Times to read the rest of the article.

Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani is a Nigerian novelist and author of  I Do Not Come to you by Chance a novel which was awarded the 2010 Commonwealth Writers' Prize, first novel Africa. She studied at Federal Government Girls College, Owerri, and University of Ibadan. Her work has appeared in The Guardian and The New York Times.

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