stop judging our bodies! – Okwei Odili 

stop judging our bodies! – Okwei Odili 

​When Malcolm X told a thick crowd of African Americans that the most abused person in America is the black woman, he didn’t say it under the influence of ogogoro or overfeeding.

He said it because among our people are men like Trick daddy, African American men who hate African American women. Because these men hate themselves. Because these men cannot fight for their mothers and sisters.

According to failed and now fat rapper, Trick daddy, African American women are ‘hoes’ that need to sit up before the Latina and white ‘hoes’ take all their men. 

SAD.

Let us bring it back to Nigeria where many women are bleaching.

I shared an article talking about the pressures on women in Nigeria to emulate fake/un-African beauty standards and it was a Nigerian man here who said, Are the women being forced by men to bleach? Well I’d like to tell you about someone I dated as a young woman, who actually bought me the cream to ‘tone’. I dumped him.

I will also like to refer you to mainstream Nigerian music videos by popular Nigerian males filled with non African women, who look different than us. Each one fairer than the next. Diversity is the spice of life, to me. So I appreciate everybody. But to belittle one over another, especially the queens, I can’t take.

Not everybody has the psychological strength to refuse what is subtly or not subtly drummed into their ears. So yes, because men and women rely on each other, they have the capacity to influence one another. So yes, the bleaching continues.

Africa is the seat of the diamonds and gold, cocoa and rubber, oil and super humans, yet we assist those who hate us, to hate us. How dare we assist them, to un-glamourise us, we who are queens and kings, colorful, even when we are sleeping.

SAD.

Time to stop this. Leave African women alone. Stop asking us about our hair, stop judging our bodies. Our hair, breasts, nose, hips, vagina and all are OURS. We don’t tell you what to do with your body.

And STOP that fucking picture where all we do is carry water or firewood on our heads in 2016. 

Stop comparing us to anybody because we are too damn magical for all your collective idiocies and divisional tactics.

– OKWEI-UGO ODILI.

Bisi’s Wedding Diaries

Bisi’s Wedding Diaries

5 October at 07:50 

As today marks exactly 30 days to my wedding, I will be doing 30 things to be grateful for. Today, I am grateful for #airport. I never thought in my life I would spend so much time at airports, neither did I know that the world will be my oyster. Coming from #Mushin, we were made to know that people like us can only dream. I am happy that like the dream of getting married, airport has given my dream of world domination wings to fly. #gaymarriage#30daysofthankfulness

6 October at 11:57 

Day 2 of 30 days to my wedding of 30 things to be grateful of. On the 6th October 2004, I sat on that sofa with Funmi Iyanda and I came out. She gave me the opportunity in no patronizing nor condescending way to tell my story. On that day I learnt the power of truth and authenticity. I learnt that life is what you make of it. I was a 29years old boy, just graduating from university with a prominent role in ‘Roses and Thorns’ a soap series on Galaxy Television. I lost everything after coming, but I gained today. Life was preparing for a journey beyond my expectations. In 29 days, I will say I do to a man I have come to find solace in his arms. #gaymarriage#30daysofthankfulness #newdawnwithfunmiiyanda #comingout#lgbtcomingout #authenticity #ido

7 October at 08:42 ·

Day 3 of 30 days of thankfulness of 30 days to my wedding. In 2014, around about this time, a friend sent me an email to a link to a fellowship program. I have applied for a couple before then and I have always been rejected. So when he sent me the form, I looked over it and ignored it. It will be another rejection. Two weeks later, my agent called me and said she saw a fellowship that she thinks will be great for me, it was the same fellowship. I told her I am not interested. She pushed me and I told her they will not pick me as I am not good enough. The following week, I was at Funmi Iyanda’s and she told me about the same fellowship and she was like ‘I am also a fellow of similar program with same organisation, I can nominate you’. She made me see why I should at least try.
So I went home and spent the night filling the form. I sent it to my agent who read it and made some corrections and add more information. She was angry that my low self esteem has made me leave out very important information. We sent the form and waited. A big part of me was waiting but the doubting part of me just kept telling me, get in with life. Few months later, I was in Berlin with my agent when the email came. I couldn’t open it. I thought it was rejection, but she did and screamed for job. I have been shortlisted. I was not happy, i felt it was just prolonging my rejection. Few weeks later, I did a Skype interview with the team in DC and few weeks later I received another email. I have been selected.
I became a fellow of @aspeninstitute and #aspennewvoices. It was a journey that changed my life. I started having platforms I never thought of in my life. I started having access to people that will look at me and instantly believe in me and want to help me make that dream come true. Through the fellowship, I was trained by @mothstories and then I did #tedxberlin and I have travelled around the world. I have written a lot of articles and became friends with @caitlynjenner and many more.

It feels so surreal when I think about it. It is this reason that today, on my 3rd day of thanksfulness, I want to thank the team at Aspen New Voices and my fellow fellows for believing in me.

10 October at 10:34 ·  

Day 6 of 30 days to my wedding of 30 things to be grateful for. Today I want to be thankful for my childhood. Many times we concentrate on the now and forgetting the journey it took to get to now. The laughter, the joy, the pains and the tears. My childhood was not perfect and I am happy it was not, but it was a journey I am proud of. I carry my joy and pains on the sleeves but most importantly, my childhood taught me what matters in the world. The essence of compassion, love and empathy. I learnt that sitting on the fence was not a neutral act. That silence is not golden. That boy can not and should not always be boys at the expense of girls. That I can play with dolls, pink dolls, pain my face and catwalk. Yes, sometimes I get beaten for it, but the hard headed boy I was, my passion and not the rejection was my childhood driver. As a loner, growing up in my head and in my world, I hardly make excuse for my action. I was thought to say sorry when wrong and never to say it unless I am sure I am wrong. I spent my childhood being a child and maybe that’s why, as a adult, I am still a child. Get angry like a child, smile like a child, think like a child, eat like one, sleep like one, and perform like one. I am Peter Pan but with the vision of an adult. Dear Ademola, Ojo, Kazeem, Iyanda Alimi, thanks for making the adult that is Adebisi Ademola Alimi. Next month I will marry my husband with the spirit of a child, will laugh with that spirit, enjoy the moment that my childhood has spent 41years preparing for my adulthood. In the presence of my friends, families and loved one, with shine on my face like a proud child, I will look into the eyes of my lover and say; I DO! #equalmarriage #samesexwedding#gaymarriage #ido #childhood #growingup

11 October at 11:55 · 

Day 7 of 30 to my wedding of 30 things to be grateful for. I want to celebrate everyone of you that has refused to turn a blind eye to bullying. Be it sexism, homophobia, racism, fatism, shortism and any other horrible isms out there that makes other look in the mirror and hate themselves. You bravely has given many people the courage to see another. You might not know this, but it is true. Every time to put a bully in their place and hug their victim, you have touched a life with love and compassion. Making life worthy is not in the amount of money you invest in it, but the amount of love. On social media a lot of people think it is their responsibility to invade other people’s space, call them names and tell them out to live their lives. I have been a victim of that. Many times I really would love to log off and delete my profile but gosh! You guys will not only stand up to these insecure people who wants to use other as a source of self confidence, but many of you will send messages and ring me. Today is to you. Thank you.
That is why I am begging you, that come the 20th of this month, join me and @glaad and other millions of people in the world as we say NO! to bullies. Turn your page purple in honour of people who lost their lives because of insecurities of others. You never know, you might just be saving the life of someone, destined to make the world a better place. Once again, to you all! Thank you #spiritday #spiritday2016 #ido #samesexwedding #gaymarriage#equalmarriage

Of presidential gaffes, royal paedophiles and the GEO bill

Of presidential gaffes, royal paedophiles and the GEO bill

Earlier this year the Gender Equality Bill suffered a great setback, not when it was summarily dismissed from the floor of the house at second reading, but when it was reintroduced to the floor after an outcry on social media.

It was reintroduced, you think, so why is 9jafeminista and most, if not all, feminists in Nigeria are calling that a setback?

The truth is that the bill that was reintroduced to the floor of the Senate is a shell of its real self. Every single section, every single word, that would give the Nigerian woman her rights to be human was expunged from the document. Leaving it as a  collection of words no better or stronger than ‘Ministry of Women’s Affairs’ established during the military dictatorship of Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida.

A distraction, a mere paper that will end up, at best, on the concurrent list.  Alongside other ‘unimportant and frivolous acts’ like the Child Rights Act, yet to be adopted by a ridiculous number of Nigerian States and the Violence Against Person’s Act which is presently only operative in Abuja and Lagos.

About five or six months ago we featured an article written by one of our contributors MaryAnne Kooda, during which she talked about a young girl of 14 Ese Oruru who was kidnapped from her home and forcibly married off to a man from the northern part of the country.  Rumor has it that the girl, who was pregnant during that period has put to bed.

The matter was taken to court, but we’re yet to hear anything about the outcome of a case that appears to be going the way of other similar cases.

A bigger case emerged yesterday. The Emir of Katsina kidnapped and forcibly married a young girl of 14 off to his aide.

A few days ago,  the Nigerian Presidents wife,  Aishatu Buhari, granted an interview to BBC Hausa, where she raised concerns about how her husband is running the country. She stated that she will no longer campaign for her husband.

The president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,  President Muhammadu Buhari, who is presently in Germany on some national business said in response to questions concerning his wife’s interview – “I don’t know which party my wife belongs to, but she belongs to my kitchen and my living room and the other room.”

The message that we’re living in a misogynistic country is pounded in on a daily basis by religious leaders, the senate and sundry stray people who feel threatened particularly by growing demands that women’s contributions to the economic growth of Nigeria should be acknowledged and women should be given their rightful status as enshrined in Chapter Four of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria(as amended)  and now Nigeria’s number one citizen has put his stamp of approval on the way women are treated with condescension and brutality in Nigeria.

How could any country planning to progress and play catch up with the rest of the world in all spheres continue to treat half of its population with impunity and believe they will continue getting away with it.

And how long will we, as women continue to take this treatment? How long will we keep mute, for how long will we keep starving ourselves so as to be acceptable? When are we taking our power back?

When will enough truly be enough?

A tribute to Fezeka Kuzwayo by Sybil Nandi Msezane

A tribute to Fezeka Kuzwayo by Sybil Nandi Msezane

Her name is Fezeka Kuzwayo affectionately known as Fez by friends. She was a loving daughter who took care of her mother and did her best to make her comfortable through all they had been through.

I am Khanga
By Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo

I wrap myself around the curvaceous bodies of women all over Africa

I am the perfect nightdress on those hot African nights

The ideal attire for household chores

I secure babies happily on their mother’s backs

Am the perfect gift for new bride and new mother alike

Armed with proverbs, I am vehicle for communication between women

I exist for the comfort and convenience of a woman

But no no no make no mistake …

I am not here to please a man

And I certainly am not a seductress

Please don’t use me as an excuse to rape

Don’t hide behind me when you choose to abuse

You see

That’s what he said my Malume

The man who called himself my daddy’s best friend

Shared a cell with him on [Robben] Island for ten whole years

He said I wanted it

That my khanga said it

That with it I lured him to my bed

That with it I want you is what I said

But what about the NO I uttered with my mouth

Not once but twice

And the please no I said with my body

What about the tear that ran down my face as I lay stiff with shock

In what sick world is that sex

In what sick world is that consent

The same world where the rapist becomes the victim

The same world where I become the bitch that must burn

The same world where I am forced into exile because I spoke out?

This is NOT my world

I reject that world

My world is a world where fathers protect and don’t rape

My world is a world where a woman can speak out

Without fear for her safety

My world is a world where no one , but no one is above the law

My world is a world where sex is pleasurable not painful…

She was a singer with a beautiful voice that could bring you to tears.
She was a fierce feminist and activist who spoke truth to power.
She was a friend and sister who checked on those in her circle without fail.


She is Fezeka Kuzwayo; daughter, sister, friend, activist, feminist, vocalist, writer
Say her name and stop this mislabeling her.
Just because the justice system failed her does not change that she was raped, yes Fezeka was raped by Jacob Zuma and 10 years of her life stolen because instead of solidarity she was vilified and attacked.

Say her name Fezeka Kuzwayo

Rest in Power sis…


We will continue to soldier on
We will keep you alive as we continue with the work started when you refused to be silenced and spoke of your RAPE, we refuse to have history write you as an accuser when you were raped.
You will be missed Fez
#sayhername Fezeka Kuzwayo

The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.
― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

the dangers of prescriptive feminism – Ayodele Olofintuade 

One of the things I’ve stopped doing, especially since after reading Ms Yemisi Aribisala’s piece, Sister Outsider, is discuss the pros and cons of feminism on social media.

Aside from being condescending the article is full of generalizations and you come away with the impression that the ‘new wave Nigerian feminists’ go around with a loaded gun forcing people to ‘convert’ to feminism.

That’s aside from their desperation to appear on the world stage by latching on to Beyonce and MS Adichie… But that’s a story for another day.

Of course in the middle of this long rant against feminism, MS Aribisala managed to name her favorite feminists, I guess so as to make a distinction between ‘good and bad’ feminists.

As an activist of gender equality and campaigner against DV,  rape,  homophobia and other phobias that have kept women oppressed for years, I was deeply offended by the article and rather disappointed in a woman I admired for so many years.

But…

I discovered that her opinions are no different from that of women and men worldwide who sneer at feminists.

They are obtuse, deliberately so. And in such cases there’s really no point arguing, they are best ignored.

However, I decided to break that silence today because of an article written by Ms Adichie where she made a distinction between her brand of feminism and that of Beyonce’s.  Something along the lines of my milkshake is better than yours.

Ms Adichie didn’t exactly say that Beyonce is not a feminist, she just tried to explain how their feminism differ.

These two articles have one thing in common. They are prescriptive. They are telling you the brand of feminism you should buy into especially if you’re looking to gain their approval.

While Ms Aribisala who is a self proclaimed non-feminist seem to be saying ‘if you must be feminist, follow ye the people mentioned herewith’, Ms Adichie seem to be saying ‘mine is different from hers!’

What these women forget is that feminism is about self actualization, it’s a movement that seeks to ensure that all peoples are provided a level playing field irrespective of gender, race, class,  sexual identity or orientation.

It stands to reason that people should be encouraged to dig deeper into this ideology, but more importantly stay true to themselves.

The danger of prescriptive feminism is that a lot of people will be left behind, the voices we are seeking to amplify silenced because they are not ‘our kind’ of feminist, dangerously mimicking the society we are trying to change.

Feminism is not young in Nigeria and there is no such thing as new feminists, we are just building upon the platforms of our ancestors. We are not neophytes, we are standing on the back of giants Flora Nwapa, Funmilayo Ransome Kuti, Queen Amina of Zauzau, we are furthering the activism of the Aba women who protested against taxes under colonial rule.
We are queer, straight, Christian, atheist, Muslims, we are home makers, stay-at-home moms, bankers, artists, musicians, writers, doctors, engineers, we are anything we say we are…

We are here to stay…

We don’t need your approval!

Mansplaining for Beginners

Mansplaining for Beginners

Aside from the Bro Code, real men don’t cry, men don’t get emotional, real men don’t wear pink, real men don’t scream when they are coming, real men don’t moan during sex and a lot of other rules on the list men are handed in order to earn their ‘manhood’ (otherwise known as The Hypermasculinity List), there is one particular rule that transcends all art, and logic, called mansplaining.

Now mansplaining is not to be confused with manspreading. Although they are similar in some ways, they are simply NOT THE SAME!

Manspreading is physical. Simply put, a man sitting next to a female of any specie or race (on a bus, in a plane, or a chair), will spread themselves in such a way that they’ll take up extra space.

Mansplaining is mental. It is an intellectual sontin that requires a little mental cogitation and a lot of condescension. In order to mansplain you must be able to fulfill two conditions;

  1. You must have a penis dangling between your legs, also known as a doctor peeped between your thighs and announced to your parents ‘it’s a boy!’
  2. You must assume that everyone who does not pack a penis between their thighs is socially, culturally, religiously, and most importantly, mentally inferior to you.

As this is a beginners manual we won’t want to confuse you by using a lot of big-grammar(which we might not understand ourselves) so we will try and make this as simple as possible. We will also try to remove our tongue from our cheeks since we know that Nigerians don’t do sarcasm, we prefer our slapstick comedies, thank you very much.

Now back to our main subject, mansplaining.

In order to be a good mansplainer, (or at least trying to have some basic knowledge of how to do this shit), you must adhere to the following rules as closely as possible.

  • Always start from a place of strength: What do we mean by this? You must always be conscious of the fact that you’re a ‘man’! You don’t need any other strength bro, being a man is enough! You’ve been told this over and again and we are reiterating it, being a man is enough! Being a man gives you superiority over any- and everybody. Being a man (especially in Nigeria) means you can get away with murder, rape, domestic violence, child-marriage and mayhem! (check out the amended 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria). So whether you’re in your teens or an adult, whether you have skills or not, always, always, carry around the consciousness that you’re ‘a man!’. Anytime you start doubting your masculinity, check into the nearest religious centre (Islamic or Christian) and you’ll emerge a new being.
  • Be prepared: Whenever you’re in a gathering and you get a whiff of any female around, be hyper-conscious of this fact and get ready to attack or defend whatever idea is being discussed.
  • Be condescending: Seriously women don’t know anything, (no we are serious) women are as dumb as two bricks, the only thing they have in their heads (aside from wool) is how to marry and how to have babies and how to beat up side-chicks. Really, women know nothing, starting from this point you’ll never go wrong. So no matter what is being discussed, once a woman makes a contribution to the discussion, remember this fact and look down your nose at them. Curl your lips, and then open that your big mouth and start spouting nonsense.
  • Have no fear: Now as we all know being afraid is not a manly trait. You have to be bold and brave at all times. For example if a woman is your lecturer or trainer or boss, make sure you’re ready and willing to correct her errors. Be sure you can tell her she is wrong about things you know absolutely nothing about. The first step is to explain to her what she is trying to say, because we all know women are stupid so she might not really understand what she is saying and it’s in your place to explain the things she’s saying to her. After that tell her YOUR own idea, which is naturally superior because… you’re a man!
  • Do not engage: For example let’s say you’re in a gathering, and unfortunately for you, there are only women in the gathering. Let’s say, a training, and you’re the only man there (Oy Vey! What a misfortunate sontin! What a wawuu!) Do not talk to those women, whenever you’re on break, instead of mingling, go and sit down with your phone and chat with your wife, main chick and side chick, but do-not-talk-to-those-women. Why? Because they might start to think that you’re mates and they might laugh at you when you start propounding your ‘manly’ theories.
  • Dealing with ‘those women’: There’s always one of them in gatherings these days, women who think they are as smart or even smarter than men. Those ones will never shut up, they might even challenge your ideas! (Shocking… we know). Whenever one of ‘those’ starts their rubbish just remind them that ‘I have one of you at home’. This is particularly important for married men or about to be married men, or men that have girlfriends or side-chicks. The ‘one of you’ that you have at home, might even be your housemaid, your mother or your sister, but be sure you say this and we guarantee that this will shock ‘those women’ into silence. And they will stand in awe of your mental prowress, they will bow at the feet of your intellectual perspicacity, they will kiss your little toeses etcetera, etcetera, etcetera

We know the above points are few but it’s getting really boring this mansplaining topic and one thing we are not, at 9jafeminista, is boring. You want more? Do some research.