COULDN’T YOU HAVE AT LEAST CLEANED YOURSELF UP?

COULDN’T YOU HAVE AT LEAST CLEANED YOURSELF UP?

PAPA: Giiift!
GIFT: Obidi, did you hear papa’s voice?
OBIDI: No
(Gift continues peeling the yam)
PAPA: Giiiift
(No response)
PAPA: Obidikeee
(The voice was louder this time)
OBIDI: Saahhh, I’m coming.
(Obidi looks at his sister as if to say I didn’t hear his voice before)
PAPA: Where is your sister?
OBIDI: She is peeling the yam sir.
PAPA: Where were you?
OBIDI: I was helping her sir.
PAPA: Don’t you have better things to do – better things than hanging around a kitchen?
OBIDI: No, papa – I was just helping her blow the fire.
PAPA: Are you mad? Your mates are playing ball down the road, it is my business what you choose to do with your life, not yours.  (Pulling his ear)
If I ever find you anywhere close to the kitchen, you will stoop down for days.
Am I clear? (No response) Are you deaf, am I clear?
OBIDI: No – I mean, yes papa.
PAPA: So you were with her, you heard me call you; she did not hear me call her. Tell her if I don’t see her before I open my eyes, she will stoop down too.
(Obidi holds his left ear as he leaves the room)
(A few seconds later, Gift enters and faces her father, fear is written all over her face)
PAPA: Why did you let me waste my voice, you want to tell me that you did not hear me ba?
GIFT: No papa.
PAPA: How will you hear me, when all you do is walk about the house, eating every food and blowing up? We cannot even find you a husband because nobody wants to marry a fat amoeba. Look in the mirror. If you can’t help yourself, nobody can help you. I am just saying my own.
GIFT: Sorry papa.
PAPA: Sorry for yourself.  Put off the light and lie down here.
GIFT: Papa, I cannot do it today, I have blood.
(Gift backs slowly towards the wall)
PAPA: Will you shut up your rotten mouth and obey your father, oh – I see you have another father outside this house that will be paying your school fees ba?
(At this point, Gift is  crying and dodging her father as he tries to reach for her)
If you don’t shut up, I will beat the living daylight out of you. Put off the light and lie down here my friend!
(Gift looks at her father and makes several kneeling gestures as she continues crying)
PAPA: That your cry will soon turn into something else if you don’t answer me.
( Papa grabs her by the elbow and forcefully places her hand on his crotch and he begins to squeeze himself with her hand)
(Gift is crying, but makes no sound)
(Papa pushes her down and rubs petroleum jelly between her thighs and begins to rub his penis between them )
(Gift just lays there, she does not move, she uses her hand to cover her eyes in the dim room and tiny sobs slips out of her. Papa uses one finger to move her panties aside and he takes his hand away immediately he realises that she truly had blood. Papa, let out a loud moan and pulls the left arm of her blouse down and he begins to fondle with her breast. Gift did not make any move. After some minutes, Papa stands up and zips his trouser)
Get out of here, if you say pim to anyone – you trust what I can do.
(Gift does not take her hand away from her face. She hits her leg against a stool as she makes her way out of the room)
PAPA: That is the only thing you know how to do, spoiling things.
(Gift sits on the floor outside Papa’s room – the shoulder of her blouse was slack on one side. Her hands are still on her face and this time, her sobs were a little louder. Her skirt was rumpled and Papa’s cum was already drying up between her thighs and from the way she sat, it was very visible as it formed a map on her dark skin)
(Moments later)
OBIDI:   Mama, welcome.
Mama:   Where is Gift, has she finished cooking the yam?
OBIDI:   Mama, I don’t know what is wrong with Gift o, she is just sitting on the floor outside Papa’s door and she is crying.
MAMA: Crying, why?
OBIDI:   Mama, I don’t know o.
MAMA: Is your father at home?
  (Mama asked suspiciously)
OBIDI:   Yes, he is inside.
MAMA: (Thinking aloud, as she walks towards Papa’s room) I hope this man has not done it again?
(Gift is already asleep by the time Mama gets there, Mama notices the cum on her   daughters thigh)
MAMA: (Mama is speaking to herself quietly)
Chai, what does this man want me to do, ehn? Nobody is even safe in this house. Is this how we will continue living? Look what he has done to the poor girl again! How will I even tell people – how will they look at us… at me?
(Mama spanks Gift to wake up)
(Gift opens her eyes and looks at her mother, her eyes are dry and she continues to stare without making any move)
Obidike get me some water.
MAMA:  You too, you just came here and started sleeping, don’t you have any sense at all? You earned this foolishness from your father. Couldn’t you have at least cleaned yourself up – what if it was someone else that found you like this? You people will not kill me in this house. If your father refuses to be sensible, does that mean you should also be senseless? You better start learning things for yourself, I cannot teach you everything. Just make sure you don’t say pim to anyone. One day, God will punish him in His own way.
(Tears stream down Gift’s eyes as her mother uses a towel to clean up her thigh. She does not make a sound.)

The End

An Original play by TIENCEPAY LAWAL

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Shagari Street

Shagari Street

It always begins with a song. Then memory sets in. Soon you are coursing down familiar roads, back streets, broken waters. Suddenly, you are back here again. It is the same house on Shagari Street with busybody neighbours.

You are one of the privileged few; you own a tokunbo car, you live in a self-contain, your white-collar job holds retirement benefits. And you worked for it; you earned by self-sacrifice as you soldiered through university fending for yourself.

It always began with a song. Fela. Then you lit your first cigarette. Orlando Owoh. Then you took your first gulp of liquor. You found your taste in forbidden substances, in the brew for the society’s dregs. The foremost reason stayed with you. You wear it on a locket, your mother, a maiden image just before Father desecrated her, left her for death.

Every time the thought recourse through you, you make  a fist and aim to drive it into wall, faces. You could not forgive the old bastard, not even at his funeral. You could barely hold the urge to grip his cold cotton-wool stuffed nose. Let him die again.

You carried the bitterness in a pouch, like bile. It stained your demeanour, left a tinge that earned the respect of men, the curiosity of ladies.

It was first trendy classmates, then desperate youth corp members, then she. You saw mother in her, didn’t you? It was the same eyes, you could swear on Father’s grave. It was the same smile too. Sade was a reincarnate.

Forbidden fruits never stayed out of your reach, pursuing a spouse out of the reach of your social class. Middle-class still you were. But education, you thought, was the cure to social divisions, the melting pot for unexplained inequalities.

She loved you. She treasured you. She kissed the strip of skin between your brows and yet, you did not shiver out of your dream. You had to have her, by all means. Orphan marries into Old money. Daughter of Millionaire Elopes. Perfect tabloid captions.

She left the old mansion in fair clothes and followed you to Shagari Street. You turned a princess into a house-keeper. She made your meals and your bed, and you both slept in it like young cubs. You kept her nights feverish and during her days, you fled to make money.

Then life happened. The cusp of love once filled with affection was diluted with reality’s tragedies. Tragedies you could live with. Tragedies she could live without. Then one night you returned and she had sulked back to the old mansion.

It always begins with a song. Burning Spear. You lit your first spliff. Bob Marley. Then you hit her on her return. Your bunched fist jammed into her translucent skin and called blood.

She returned but you didn’t. You did not forgive her; let soothing waters of love run on your hurt. Let the aqueous mixture sublime on the bed of passion, moans, and orgasms. You put a bottle of liquor in your right, a glowing spliff in your left, a condom on your member and you fucked the world instead.

You skipped nights and days, strayed into the dregs of the city to squeeze cheap lemon-sized breasts, oblivious of her missed period, her growing belly, your seed, the baby.

When her water broke, you were nowhere to be found. You were hustling the street for forbidden substances. Sade was wailing. Baby was coming. Sade was weeping, crying out labour pains on the floor of your apartment on Shagari Street. You were lying with a jaunty dancer called Linda. Sade stopped to cry and you shivered your orgasm. Baby stopped to move and you lit another spliff.

You returned to Shagari Street and you heard about their deaths. You had desecrated her, left her for death too.

You are Father.

Dami Ajayi

*First published on Mr Dami Ajayi.wordpress.com

*Published with author’s permission

…A woman is guilty of everything

…A woman is guilty of everything

Let me tell you one small something that happened yesterday morning.

As I alighted from the bus that conveyed me to my work place, a young man was making cat calls. Me, I almost never respond to anyone making psst sounds at me. If you can’t politely call out ‘hello’ or ‘excuse me, please’, then forget the message. But this one was persistent and as though he read my thoughts, he switched to ‘Excuse me!’ So I grinned to myself and turned back to him. He moved closer and pointed at my chest, muttering some words.

Man. You should see the little rush of embarrassment that ran through me as I looked down at my shirt and noticed that all the buttons on my chest region flapped open! And there was no camisole! And I cannot wear full fleshed bras even to save my life! Ha. I thanked him, walked a distance and buttoned up.

But this is what I really want to say: there are many guys who notice such things like a girl stained from her period, a torn slit in a skirt, straying bra straps, panty lines, unzipped trouser, a woman’s wrapper almost falling off and many of such sights. But you know what they do? They ogle and laugh and make jests and point fingers and take pictures and put them up on Instagram and Facebook with captions like ‘bitches’ ‘hoe busted’ ‘o boy, see bobbi’ ‘if they rape this one now, she will start talking’ ‘doomed for hell, indecent bastard’ ‘look at her, no shame. Cannot buy ordinary pad, but can afford that ugly makeup. Winsh’ and many other silly comments that will follow.

We live in a world where a woman is guilty of everything, both what she knows and what she knows not.

©Jennifer Chinenye Emelife

Have You Seen Her?

Have You Seen Her?

Five young men stood in the clearing, each bloodshot eye marked by a white chalk ring, an unending circle of love.

As they swayed to blood rousing beats from a fusion of flute, drum and fiddle, their black loin wrappers shimmered under the blinding sun.

Shaved heads tilted back, chiseled muscles vibrated as their hoarse voices rose in a collective roar.

“Please, have you seen our sister? She’s the first fruit of our mother’s womb. Pray tell, for we must know if you have seen the one whose ringing laughter filled our father’s home.”

Heavy silence from those watching threatened to suck up the air.

“We have not seen her,” they cried. “Not since the day she left our mother’s bosom, waving as she held on to her new husband’s hand for a journey of no return.”

Faces contorted, their twirls and stomps sent up showers of fine red sand. “Who knew giving out a daughter was such a dangerous thing to do?”

Covered with sand grains, the swaying crowd shook heads as tears ran down their faces.

“Did you ever see our sister in that faraway land?” Their roar asked. “Was she happy? Did she talk about us? Despite the time and space, we never forgot about her.”

Stilled by the lone wail of the oja flute, the young men held out upturned palms. “They told us the earth opened and swallowed her. No one said the hands of her husband pushed her into the hole.”

“Our eyes are heavy because we have not seen our sister. And the fresh grave yawning before us says we shall see her no more.”

Yejide Kilanko © 2014

Misogyny, Nollywood and the rest of us…

Misogyny, Nollywood and the rest of us…

From the Editor’s Desk: For the next sixteen days we will be featuring the thoughts of sixteen Nigerian Feminists on the state of Domestic Violence in Nigeria.

Nollywood will have a plot where a woman is raped, then will proceed to spend the rest of the fucking storyline focused on how absolutely devastated her husband is that his wife was raped. He can’t look at her. He can’t bring himself to sleep with her anymore. Marriage is fucked, cos hubby just can’t deal with this terrible thing that happened to him. Meanwhile, what is the actual victim doing all this time hubby is all torn up? Consoling the bloody idiot, begging him to please look at her, sleep with her, eat her food, let go as she’s let go. Kai!!!!!!

The other day, what else did Nollywood throw up? A man beats his wife whenever he’s possessed by the beating demon (sent by a woman whose sole aim is to destroy the marriage). Once demon temporarily leaves man, man will be all lovey lovey again with his wife, till the next demon possession. Oh, as you might guess, the demon-sender is the neighbour who’s always asking wifey what she’s still doing in that marriage after hubby has panel-beaten her. Of course, story ends when the prayerfulness of wifey gets demon permanently casted off & winchy winchy neighbor dies (you know that happens when demon-sending backfires nah).

Lawdhavemercy!!!! If many people weren’t digesting this trash, if many people aren’t being guided by media, this’d all be a big fucking comedy.

– Ugo Chime