• Articles

    The Beginning

    As a child, one of my favorite adults was Mummy Tolu. While growing up, she was a neighbor and what you could refer to as a ‘second mummy’. She asked all the important questions like “Is your mum back?” when my mum traveled and “have you eaten?’ when the answer was no. When I got into the boarding house as a student in Junior Secondary School 1, it became a thing that Mummy Tolu would give me rolls of milk, milo, and some detergents at the beginning of every term up until my last year in secondary school. If it didn’t happen, then resumption was incomplete. It always happened. I…

  • Articles

    Marriage Is Not For Every Woman

    I know exactly what I typed. Yes, that’s exactly what I meant to type. Now, before you feel a type of way, do note that I did not say “any” woman, because then, that would be another type of baloney. It’s tiring, to say the least, the way we manage to connect even the most casual cords in a woman’s life to marriage and someone she may someday be joined with. What’s even more tiring is the way that has been made the only acceptable reality. If you speak and your voice is a little too clear, you hear things like “is it someone like you that will find a…

  • Articles

    He Called Me Ashawo

    Two weeks ago, I was called a bedpreneur, or in popular Nigerian parlance, an Ashawo. On Instagram too, for that matter. But how did we get there? Summarily, two teenagers, a boy and a girl, were caught exploring each other in ways that were sexual in nature. The adults present, horrified that something like that was happening with teenagers, reportedly proceeded to punish the girl while admonishing her. All the while, the boy, her partner in exploration, was almost excluded from the conversation, almost as if the words of reproach had nothing to do with him. A man, a witness to this spectacle, became angry and proceeded to give the…

  • Articles

    The Sword Knows No Face

    “He was such a smart boy. He promised to always look after me and make my life better. He was too good for this world.” – Anne-Marie Uwimana, Rwandan Genocide Survivor, speaking of her son who was one of the 800,000 souls lost in the genocide of 1994. This woman, Anne-Marie, lost four children and her husband during the genocide. Even now, typing this, I can see her face in that BBC interview; the redness of her eyes and the brokenness that can be seen in it. I can see the many tales of time that the skin of her hands have to tell – tales of a pain so…

  • Articles

    A being, BEing

    Mama Tolu works very hard, the quintessential Nigerian mother. She wakes up at 4am while the world still sleeps and the spirits are prowling to cook and clean. When its 5:30, she wakes up the entire household; children for school, husband for work. She deploys her 3 pairs of hands to dish everyone’s food, while matching mixed socks, doing the dishes as they get piled up in the sink and refereeing fights that break out when the children break out fully from their sleepy state. At 7:30, she’s almost bouncing to get the kids to school and oh yes, there is herself to get ready because she probably has to…

  • Articles

    Call a thing by its name

    “When you name something, it comes into existence – did you know that? There is strength there, bone-white power injected in a rush, like a trembling drug,” – Akwaeke Emezi, Freshwater. Imagine menstruating and being ostracized singularly for that reason. Imagine being banished to a menstrual hut outside your house made from weak materials and barely able to stand against weather conditions. Imagine being so cold because of that and having to create fires to warm yourself up. Then, imagine dying from asphyxiation because you inhaled too much smoke from the fire you prepared to keep warm. This Chhaupadi huts are real in Nepal, and although they have been legally…

  • Articles

    Silence, and our culpability as a society in the culture of sexual abuse

    BY TAWAKALIT KAREEM   Silence, That magic wand that we wave in the hope that what has been done can be undone. The inaction we exhibit to somehow dull the deafening crash that a certain action has caused. Silence is the tool that we have by ourselves, made a weapon in the hands of the abuser. Some people are of the opinion that the occurrence of abuse seems to have increased in recent times. I disagree. I think the difference in this day and time is; there is social media and the very real reality that a story can go viral in a matter of minutes. My friend, Adebola Aduwo,…

  • Articles

    Men, I hope you allow yourself be human.

    Today, the 19th of November, is International Men’s Day. For some reason, a particular memory comes to mind while writing this. I was in JSS1, and I had gone to put a call through to my dad in what was the school’s call center. On ending that call, a swarm of seniors surrounded me and went on with; “Oh, you have a boyfriend and you’re just in JSS1,” “Can you imagine this small girl?” It took me a second but the web of confusion cleared and I realized it was because of the tone of my conversation and the fact that I said “I love you” at the end of…

  • Articles

    To all my Ladies.

    Today, October 11, is the International Day of the Girl. Today, I look back on the time that I have lived, and while a lot of things still irk me as it relates to society’s perception and relation with the girl child, I am excited about the lines we have erased and the dents we’ve made on the ceiling. A lot of people who know me will describe me as confident and self-assured, but I can assure you, I didn’t wake up like this. It took years of deliberate conditioning – of my mind, my outlook on life and how I fit into this equation. My father has been a…

  • Articles

    Let me tell you about my sister

    I have always loved my sister.   Apart from the fact she also had tenancy in my mother’s womb for a while, Cynthia – who used to bully me – was terrified of Yemi after the one time she stood toe to toe with her, a teeny 4 year old to Cynthia’s 7+, and warned her categorically to NOT bully her sister again or face the music! I don’t know what instrument she planned to play, but she was fearless, I can tell you. She protected my quiet space, after she came to understand it – which was a while – and would tell my mum to leave me alone…