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Love and War

Sonali-_Everything_is_fair_in_love_and_war

“Everything Is Fair In Love And War” by Debajyoti Das , Raiganj

He always had to be right so I left;
we both had to win so we lost each other. 

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Class Injury

Black Girl

“Girl in the Window” | Prudence Heward

It’s almost hypocritical for me to write about the struggles of the working class- I try as much as possible not to say “lower” because of the negative connotations that are often associated with the word. I’m a citizen of two countries; I’m in the university, and I’m okay, health-wise. I am a little girl’s dream come true- me, I’m the little girl. I did not state that I “was” the little girl for a reason; our little, inner selves never just disappear, even when our bodies change.

My parents were in the lower-middle class, status-wise, when I was growing; they were both lecturers. In reality, although we had an “okay” house and at least one functioning car, and my brothers and I went to good schools, we were still members of the working class. I used to daydream a lot more than I do now- there were a good number of excursions and items that I wished I could afford. Don’t get me started on the inferiority complex that I suffered from too. I wore my mum’s hand-me-down’s majorly.

I did phone-call business for my mum (20 naira per min.) and sold recharge cards under an MTN umbrella with two chairs. I sold pure-water and “minerals” (pop)- I hawked for a day around my house and never did it again; I preferred to sit. Then we got a small kiosk and I began to sell more stuff till my dad completed his building of proper shops. Men would pull my growing breasts back then, when I wasn’t looking. It made me angry and resentful- I was like 11 or 12- but I learnt the art of sucking things up very quickly.
I used olo– grinding stone- to grind peppers, fetched water, used wood or coal to cook whenever we ran out of kerosene, and all. My life wasn’t the hardest. People who lived close to me were not very wealthy either- “a face-me-I-face-you” apartment building, one ile-alamo– clay house… it wasn’t the fanciest neighbourhood. Thinking back to how people used to stare at me in envy like I was some princess, we (my family and I) really were local champions.

The Janitor

“The Janitor Who Paints” by Palmer Haden

We don’t celebrate the working class enough, hence, the urgency that people place on being wealthy. You’re nobody in the society except you are rich or can pretend to be. It has gotten worse with the advent of the social media- there is this desperate, adoration-seeking urge that people have to display a level of wealth/influence.

Class injury sits with you in different ways: One way is that you feel uneasy in upper-class settings when you become a member of the middle-upper or upper class. You miss the joys, the struggles and the pain that came with being in the working class, and you feel like something is missing in your life, or you don’t deserve to be where you are, or you feel guilty/bad because some people are not enjoying life as much as you are.

Another way that it manifests is that you try to get away from the people you used to be like as much as people, even members of your own family- you don’t want to be reminded that you used to be poor. You don’t want to remember the struggles, the hurt, and the societal “shame” that you used to experience. I see people like that a lot on social media. “I’m not poor, and I don’t sit with the poor” type thing.

I’m still a member of the working class; I came into the country that I currently live in some winter ago, with a few clothes and some books, and there has been no drastic, overnight, lottery-winning change in my life.

Class shapes every aspect of our lives, and those of our descendants, and I find it quite interesting; our society and inequality are pari passu, and we’ve been taught that it’s okay. Even if you are not part of the 1%, don’t be at the bottom among the 99%.

In conclusion, the point of this whole epistle is- while you struggle and hope for better days, you should be proud of yourself and your class. You are not a failure if you are not rich, and you’re not inferior either. It’s easier said than done, but be grateful for what you have, and find joy in the little things.

Stand tall and proud wherever you go; don’t put yourself down for anyone, and don’t let anyone put you down. Acquire new skills, develop yourself, and be innovative, not necessarily because you thirst to be one of the 1%, but because you want to build yourself and contribute your quota to your society. A line from Badlands goes like this- “poor man wanna be rich, rich man wanna be king, and a king is never satisfied…” 

Pregnant with Love

You knew what you were doing,
having unprotected intercourse with my heart,
thrusting boundaries ever so often,
coming anywhere and anytime to see me,
releasing undiluted words into me.
This love is yours and I can’t abort it,
and if you kill this baby,
it’ll kill me.

Make an Eclipse, or Not

Eyes

Oh, moon!
Why are you so afraid of being with the sun
now that he has asked you to?
Why are you so reluctant now,
if your left eye has been an eclipse
since the day of your birth,
and your right eye’ll remain an eclipse
till the day of your death?

I see how you linger afer work
to catch a glimpse of him,
and how he arrives earlier than usual
to catch a glimpse of you,
and how you both blush beautifully
when you see each other in the mornings.

Note: The eye is like a total eclipse. The pupil is the eclipse and the iris and “white” parts of the eye- the iris and the sclera- are the rest of the sky. Also, I was referring to sunrise in the “…linger after work” part…

On second thought, total eclipses are not beautiful or cute, except to the humans who watch below [social-media folks and outsiders], who may or may not know what the couple [the sun and moon] go through in reality. Realists know that whenever a sun and a moon come together, neither of the two is really happy; it results in a lot of dark times.

A moon will never be compatible with a sun. Opposites attract each other ’cause one would often be fascinated by the other, until one begins to take the other for granted, and the other begins to abuse their partner, verbally and emotionally. A business-oriented man who wants to climb the corporate ladder as quickly as possible falls in love with a union activist or a reclusive painter- a sun falls in love with a moon- and they expect to be happy if they commit to each other? Ummm… no. 

Even love will not keep them together.

“Us” Died

Our light became darkness.
Our love became hatred.
Our laughter became silence.
Our future became our past.
I knew “our” was dying
the day you came home with “my”.


“Our penis” became “my penis”.
“Our children” became “my children”.
“Our house” became “my house”.
“Our mother” became “my mother”.

Puppy Love

“I love you” and
“you’re the one that I love”
never sounded so different like it did,
the first time he said the latter.

It felt more like an “I am yours”
than a “you are mine”.

It felt good.

The African Woman’s Dilemma

25555648_1538370519611644_756203203_n1. “You shouldn’t restrict a man’s sense of freedom; you have to let him explore if he chooses to. You can’t be possessive of men; they are not built that way.”

 

2. “He has been seen in hotels several times with different women. It’s such a shame that his wife can’t keep a man.” 

Objectivity

Don’t inherit someone else’s enemy/enemies as a sign of loyalty. 

If you know your friend is wrong, speak up and tell them the truth, while standing by them. If you inherit someone else’s enemies, and I’m writing from experience, you will be surprised when the concerned parties reconcile and leave you out in the deep, looking daft…

Pro-Black Should Not Be Anti-White, and Vice-Versa

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More time should be spent uplifting ourselves and one another, as Africans in and outside Africa, than on tearing other people down.The latter should not even be done at all. If injustice is committed against people of your race, face the black person or the white person or whatever person(s) that is responsible and criticize them violently. Don’t attack the whole race.

We were called “monkeys” and “apes” in the past, and the weakest comeback would be creating an Instagram page to inform the world that white people’s skins stink when they don’t have their baths, and whites and blacks should never intermarry. The door! 

More hate between the races is created for followers and likes, and also to seem “woke”, when those “pro-Black” pages are published. Ankh symbols, numerous pictures of Nefertiti and Pharoah (who were Black, yes, but Moremi, Kurunmi and Jaja of Opobo- who were direct ancestors- are never mentioned).

There’s so much richness in the Yoruba and Igbo and Hausa and Ashanti and Tiv histories and cultures, to mention a very few, that have not been adequately explored and discussed. 

Also, those pages tend to be against the Christian religion. All religions have their elements of truth to them but they all have their strengths and weaknesses. That you “worship” Jesus and you eat children shouldn’t make me hate Jesus, or that you worship Allah or Ifa and you rape rams shouldn’t make me hate them. You are not the totality of the religion. 

If you don’t like Jesus, or Ifa, face and honour the ones you like, and uplift them and yourself. Osun olomo yoyo, Oya ayaba Sango, Yemoja-Olokun-Olosa, Esu laalu ogiri oko, Sango (kawo kabiyesi o), Ogun alagbede, Osanyin, Ifa asoro dayo, to mention a few, and all the ancestors (iba e, iba e, eni to nu) are there. Who cares if Jesus was white, black or grey. I embrace all religions; it’s not a competition. 

Afrofuturism should be embraced and more time should be spent fostering love and growth only, rather than ruining people’s healing, spreading hate among the races, and bringing some people down to make some others better. Pan-Africanism must be done correctly.

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