The raving mad black woman

……Sometimes, trying to hold onto that ship in the midst of a raging black storm is not something that can be accomplished. Recognizing this natural human failing, accepting it and letting go can save you from sinking to the bottom with that ship. A battered ship on the raging waves of life is prone to take down hanger-ons, knowing when to let go is crucial to survival.

This brings to mind the issue of women in Africa and the role they play in their own oppression. Are we really powerless or do we simply accept this role assigned to us by men and society? Subjugation, oppression, intimidation, manipulation, abuse, confinement are all different names we use to describe the masculinity of our environment. On the average, an African woman is marginalized and oppressed until middle age. Where is her agency in the twenty-first century? Where is her liberty to make choices? Heaven forbids she has freedom to take decisions,even in matters that may directly impact on her, she has no voice for her opinions. She body lacks space and agency in the African world. The society dictates and demands she conforms to its expectations: total obedience to and containment to a male authority. She goes from being a daughter, to a sister, then a wife and mother and progresses into being a grandmother. She is not recognized outside the male space. A woman cannot be in her thirties, unwed, single mother and living alone. Then she is regarded as a woman of loose morals and values. Nobody asks what happened to the man who raped her, her parents who disowned her for the very religious values they taught her to follow and on which basis she refused to have an abortion. No one asks of her pains of single motherhood, of her fears that her daughter may one day fall victim to the ‘overly’ nice ¬†uncle that always bounces her 5 year old on his thighs and waits to wave to her when she goes to school in the morning. No body knows about the ‘overtime’ she has to endure at the office so she can keep her job, keep her daughter in school and provide for her little family. She isn’t asked how she pays the rent, car bills, electricity and buys birthday and wedding presents for her few remaining family and friends. None of that matters because she must be a bad woman and incapable of thinking for herself.

The other management executive, the avowed queer. Why did she choose this sexual form of expression? Why isn’t she ‘normal’ according to the dictates of society? Why isn’t she under a man as every woman should be? Why isn’t she home nursing three kids with a fresh bun in the oven while she runs after her little devils as they trip over everything and scream their head off so she can’t have the afternoon nap the doctor recommends? Why doesn’t she get any credit for the full-time job of running the household? If it was so easy, men would have chosen that job i guess. Why is she queer? What pains did she find in ‘normal’ relationships? What infidelities, betrayals, shame and lies was she dealt? When the tables are turned, how many of these injustices would our Nigerian/African men tolerate themselves. How much abuse can they stand before they resort to their ‘solutions’? How much of such options or agency does the woman have to exercise such ‘solutions’ too? let’s question ourselves among ourselves and find an answer to this lack of agency and the oppression it is wreaking on the African woman.