9jafeminista: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Osundolire Oladapo Ifelanwa: I am a BIG dreamer, child in an adult’s body, an architect in Real Estate. And I love to write. I
once attempted to travel from Lagos, across the Sahara desert to London by road with Newton Jibunoh.
9jafeminista: You sound like the very adventurous type. You’re a biker and a mechanical toys lover … You own a bike right?
Osundolire Oladapo Ifelanwa: Yes, I adore sports bikes and I would make them my primary means of transport if I could. It leaves you to the thoughts in your head and 1000 rpms revving beneath your yansh. I genuinely love adventure. I think being born a Nigerian limits how far I will be willing to go for adventure. That notwithstanding, I still scrape the little I can to sate my adrenaline thirst.
9jafeminista: Would you say being a man is also an advantage? I know very few female bikers.
Osundolire Oladapo Ifelanwa: I can’t tell. I haven’t been a woman before. Truth is I’ve only met one. I only see a few like Speediva on the road with their Yamahas. On a serious note, I think our society silently limits women’s foray into the adventurous.
9jafeminista: How many women were on that trip through the Sahara?
Osundolire Oladapo Ifelanwa: On the Sahara expedition we had quite a number you’ll be amazed to know, almost 15. And there was this one Sola Obiwusi who clocked more driving time than almost every other guy. She practically singlehandedly drove even when she took ill on the trip.
9jafeminista: How many men?
Osundolire Oladapo Ifelanwa: Men were about 40. Or let me say 30 taking out the camera crew and soldiers and officials.
9jafeminista: How far did you guys get?
Osundolire Oladapo Ifelanwa: We went as far as Agadez in Niger Republic.
9jafeminista: Why didn’t you guys finish the journey?
Osundolire Oladapo Ifelanwa: War in Libya. Coup … in Niger. We could have become diplomatic bargaining chips with the size of our cavalcade.
9jafeminista: In the story you sent to us (coming up in our next issue) you examined the life of a house maid. Especially the under-aged ones in Nigeria would you say the girl’s experience kind of sums up the experience of housemaids? Generally
Osundolire Oladapo Ifelanwa: I can’t say for certainty but I believe largely it does. We treat them like property don’t we?
9jafeminista: Why do you think the maltreatment of maids is the norm?
Osundolire Oladapo Ifelanwa: Because we lack what I call mutual self- respect.
9jafeminista: What does mutual self -respect mean?
Osundolire Oladapo Ifelanwa: Older people to younger people, employer to employees, parents to children … masters to servants. I want to believe we believe subordinates do not have as much right to existence as superiors have. So we ride rough shod over their person, goals and super impose our wishes on them.
A maid for instance can’t ask for a second helping. She shouldn’t have an opinion, she should just be the silent mule that hauls the family’s cargo. How does one live like that?
9jafeminista: Would you say this is a result of the fact that generally women are expected to be all of the things you’ve listed above? The neck, the one that should not have an opinion? The one not allowed to go on adventures because it is dangerous?
Osundolire Oladapo Ifelanwa: I think we limit girls in a sense.
9jafeminista: Have you ever wondered why there are more female underage helps than male?
Osundolire Oladapo Ifelanwa: The males are a threat of theft and peadophilia. More so we tend to believe girls do better as house helps. Even though we started that indoctrination when boys have the liberty to play football while their sisters are busy helping in the kitchen.
9jafeminista: In your opinion how are women limited and how does this affect men?
Osundolire Oladapo Ifelanwa: Women are limited by the patriarchal structure of the world in general. As girls, they can’t climb trees or fight. As young women they should keep their virginity for their husbands (don’t get me wrong I advocate for keeping ones virginity). They can’t leave home till they marry. They have to change their names when they marry. They have to be the one to stay at home to cater for kids while the husband provides.
I think this subjugation gives men power. But in the same breath I think an equal appreciation of our complementary roles is essential to prevent anarchy. I also think embracing fairness and having a mindset of reviewing age old ideologies will help restore that balance.
9jafeminista: Were you a Virgin when you got married?
Osundolire Oladapo Ifelanwa: Yes I was. Oops! No I wasn’t…
9jafeminista: But you advocate for virginity before marriage
9jafeminista: Isn’t that a little hypocritical?
Osundolire Oladapo Ifelanwa: It’s not hypocritical. Sex outside marriage is a sin. Selah. That I failed at it doesn’t mean I don’t consider it the ideal thing.
9jafeminista: In your collection of short stories ‘On a lot of Things’ you were able to write comfortably in the female voice how were you able to do that?
Osundolire Oladapo Ifelanwa: I think I am 70% female. In my constitution.
9jafeminista: Would you say you’re a feminist?
Osundolire Oladapo Ifelanwa: I dislike the tag feminist as I observe it’s becoming a haven for bitter and reactive women to society. I prefer the tag humanist.
Osundolire Oladapo Ifelanwa: (laughs) Yes
9jafeminista: Really? Go on then… Tell us why? Have you seen it in action before?
Osundolire Oladapo Ifelanwa: I haven’t seen it in action before but I premise my belief on the fact that there is more to this world than the things we see and in that little grey area, super natural powers exist. I believe well over 90% of the cow horns tied in red scarves are just charlatan bullshit. But that doesn’t invalidate my firm belief that there is dark magic if I can call it that.