Mothers of Africa

Benin City, Nigeria
It was just before twilight and on this day the cloud was dark, promising rain sooner or later. I was coming from evening mass and as I hurried down the road connecting Saint Albert Catholic Church to the Clinical Students’ Hostel (University of Benin), I came across my friend Abigail. As always we kicked-up a conversation about her dreams as a Nigerian woman. Abigail has just completed her final year papers at the Department of Microbiology, University of Benin. As we discussed, I asked her what she would like to do next, since she will officially be a graduate in two weeks’ time. Although not sure in her response, she revealed that she was seriously considering to pursue medicine. And according to her, this was the course she applied for before she was “given” microbiology.

I was not impressed with Abigail’s idea of returning to school to study for another six years before she qualifies as a doctor. However, I was more depressed by the fact that her major reason for this consideration, was for her to study a course that will increase her chances of being employed! Frustrated with this idea, I desperately explained to her, the concept of Entrepreneurship as I wrote in my last article “THINK AGAIN”.

But just as the discussion was coming to an end, Abigail threw an unexpected bomb! She told me how her roommate, Jezebel, had advised her to forget about the stress of returning to school. Instead, she advised her to prepare herself for a “better Husband” (in most cases, the words “better Husband” do not mean a man of good character, but rather a “very wealthy man”). The truth still remains, as much as we have women who are working hard to see that the world is a better place, we also have so many young women who still want to fold their arms and wait for a very ‘Rich’ man (their Messiah) who will marry them and take them to their dream land! How can a young woman of the 21st century still have this mentality??? Such women continue to live among us, in Nigeria, in different African nations and the world at large.

An African woman must have a mentality different from that of Jezebel! You should have your own dreams! Indeed marriage may be good; in the sense that many people are the products of the marriage between their parents, but there is so much more to it! We the mothers of Africa want so much more today; society demands that we must bring a lot more to the table! How do you explain to your boyfriend, fiancĂ© or husband that marriage is a partnership in which he is the person that pays the home bills and the children’s school fees, buys the food for the household, while you do practically nothing?

Imagine you are the one who is the man: you pay for everything in the house, you bought the food stuffs, you are the only one working and your wife is not - Only for you to come back from work tired and food is not ready? I do not support the oppression of a woman by a man, especially in a marriage setting, but action speaks louder than voice. Therefore, women must learn to work hard, be independent and contribute meaningfully (especially financially) in their homes. If not, our campaign for women may not be better than a cup of water wasted on a stone.

I have not forgotten the fact that in many relationship/marriages, the reverse is the case i.e. the woman is the breadwinner and the man seems to be doing little or nothing, but this article is directed to women because I want us to keep our own end of the game water proofed.

Shout out to all the ladies who are trying, in both little and big ways, to contribute to their communities. I want you to know that your effort is recognized and appreciated. Keep soaring; the sky is your starting point. The future is bright, we must get there! ("THE FUTURE WE DESIRE")

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  1. You are so right! The social norm is grossly responsible for some of these unfortunate imbalances. Indeed if the oppression of women is to be eradicated, women too must make conscious efforts to eradicate the inequalities. They should be in the forefront and holding the banner for change, through a change in mindset to start with. Most inequality situations arise mainly because of unequal financial contributions to run a common home, thereby making some men often arrogant, and feeling entitled to be ''worshiped''. The problem with social norm and gender expectations in our society is that they evolve very slowly - but the educated youth owe the rest of the society - they must become role models by charting the new course of change. Change your mindset for the better. Linda has captured it, and it will be needless to replicate her voice. Williams Iheme

  2. This is so true. We all have to give back to our community in any little way as we can..

  3. wow!this is it.Linda,you just nailed it,kudos to you.Sometimes i wonder why a 21st century woman would take marraige as a route to supposed 'financial freedom'.what about your 'self satisfaction';something you only get through your positive contribution to the society.My dear sisters,anyone with such mentality is actually a shame to sisterhood,with all your supposed education?Its really baffling.The future of Africa is in our hands;its our duty to chart its course and we'll do it excellently i believe.God help the african woman!

  4. Linda, you have a correct mind and a good thinking. I like, how you are focused in explaining your point. This is how a movement start and keep it up. We are no longer in the time of our grandparents , the world is constantly evolving so should our approaches and behaviors in everything we do. Luckily in our generation ,we have a lot of ways now to connect to wide range of people at any given time. I will meet you at St Augustine and we will surely exchange ideas for the greater good. Emeka