The diary of a disgruntled Igbo woman…Part 1!

I often wonder why my people cherish the male child so much! Yeah yeah! They carry on the bloodline. Whatever?!! Don’t get me wrong! I love men. I had the most wonderful father any girl could have wished for. He granted my every wish and steered me in the path of independence. I am strong because he made me so; he was my anchor. And I have three loving brothers and they are all awesome. They are my protectors. I need not raise my voice when they are there to do the protecting (and bullying). *wink*…You know….But they are absolute slobs. They hate chores and consider doing their own laundry a chore (Imagine?!). I do the bulk of the chores at home and still serve them their meals. Yet, Africans still cherish the male child more than the female child. In fact, my people, the Igbos embodied this need in an age-old saying “Afamefuna” i.e. Let my household not perish. Oh! I get that! Believe me! ‘cos no matter how much I cherished and respected my beloved late father, I will ditch his name the second my hero comes along in a white limo. LOL – The Human nature, ever so fickle! My people, the Igbos also have a practice whereby the widow of a man who could not bear a male child in his lifetime, finds a way to give him one (or many) post-Morten. This is accomplished by searching out that flirty village belle with NO interest in education and a ‘sullied” reputation. If she’s a single mother, beautiful! If her illegitimate child is male, yay..!! Her worth is inestimable- The gods be praised. Her parents relieved…! She will be wooed and married by her husband’s widow and/or her daughters; taken care of in a befitting manner and sent forth into the world to bear fruits. Yeah! She’s been given a certified license to fornicate (Preferably within the Umunna .i.e. the late husband’s extended family, so as to preserve the bloodline). This may sound very absurd and epic to some of you but this practice is really prevalent in most states of the South-Eastern region of Nigeria. Appallingly so! So also is the practice of one of the daughters of a couple without a male child, staying behind her father’s house to borne him an heir- not necessarily from his loins. Just to ensure continuance of the bloodline. I have heard one girl shout to an adviser “ichoro ka be Nnam kpochie?!”- Do you want my father’s household to end? Now, when I think of ALL this, I wonder what is the ROLE of women in Igbo traditional societies? Not us, computer-cyber age women with our fancy degrees, cultured accents and silky Brazilian weaves. Nah! I mean the pre-colonialism women! Those breed of strong feisty but humble women with soot all their hairs. Those women! What exactly were their roles? Housekeeping? Child bearing? Warming the sheets? Farming the yard? Only this roles?! Chai! No wonder Aba women rioted! And women were often suspected of murdering their husbands. *sad*… It must have been frustrating and depressing living with those over-inflated egos strutting around like demi-gods because they have sticks in-between their legs! Imagine knowing you have NO value and can be replaced in a nanosecond if your factory settings have technical issues?! SMH… I am not criticizing my ancestors’ o! Ha! How dare I?! *shudders*… I’m just on my bed mulling over how women lived in those days. *another shudder*…. If you are not happy for the European invasion with their big ship full of foolish tools and objects, I am! Yeah, they raped, pillaged and stole from us! But they also left us with something invaluable; knowledge! For that I am eternally grateful. For, I could not have lived well as a Victorian maiden. With my hair in corn rows, jiggly breasts and using pieces of cloth for sanitary pad. Nor can I endure the long treks to the stream to fetch water, bare feet. Or playing “oga”, “nchokoroto” and hide and seek repeatedly for fun. Mba! That ain’t me, bayyby! I like my laptop, internet, fancy degree but most importantly I cherish my freedom of speech. All in all, the African life is HARD; not as hard for us, as they had it in 1900’s and earlier, but still hard. Let’s take a moment, to bow down our heads and remember the women who lived that we may be! God rest their souls; amen! Adieu ndi nne oma anyi! Adieu our humble ancestors.


About Egoyibo Okoro

Beautiful. Friendly. Opinionated. Feminist. Scholarly. Political. Christian. Sometimes, I write in Engli-Igbo and/or pidgin English. Just so you know, I am naturally disgruntled about a lot of things, most especially gender inequality, human rights abuses, racism and corruption. #EndChildMarriage. #EndTerrorism. #EndPoverty. #EndRacism. #EndImperialism. The Igbo say, "egbe bere, ugo bere, nke si ibe ya ebena nku kwa ya" - Live and let live!
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2 Responses to The diary of a disgruntled Igbo woman…Part 1!

  1. spacyzuma says:

    +1000 at “If you are not happy for the European invasion with their big ship full of foolish tools and objects, I am! Yeah, they raped, pillaged and stole from us! But they also left us with something invaluable; knowledge! For that I am eternally grateful”

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