Almost the perfect structure of the African man of your dreams, the height; towering above all the men Simferopol had to offer yet slender, not the muscular frame-work of most young men his age who have been regulars at the city gym, trying to build up to impress the European girls, broad-shouldered, with heavy woolly hair, full lips and a long chin blending with a thin cheek. Obiajulu had wide-set of wishful yet determined eyes. His hands were pretty hard from years of farm work and other ventures he loved back home. He was always almost admiring himself whenever he stood in-front of a mirror, if you had his physique, you could be tempted to worship yourself, by yourself. He looked nothing like Okeoma at all. Okeoma was a fair young-man, short and muscular. While they were together in Enugu, Okeoma was referred to by many as “nwude” the name of a popular short movie actor from the East of Nigeria, a name that stuck even after they left their hometown, Nwude.
Obi woke up groggy and alone, having no concept of time or place. Everything was unfamiliar. Then in a flash, it came to him slowly, it was summer and everybody on campus had gone home to see family; some to Nigeria, others to Syria, Libya and even Jordan. He was still on the bed a little bit tired when his phone rang, 11.13am on a summer morning! don’t they know what sleep is called in your community? he blurted when he answered the phone, but we are from the same community my brother and besides reasonable human beings have done meaningful things already, carry your lazy self out of bed and prepare I am coming over soon, I need you to follow me to the mall was the response from the other end of the phone, it was Okeoma calling, Obi hung up immediately. Bastard son of a reasonable father he muttered to himself. Obi had just had his bath and put on some clothes when he heard a knock on his door, the knock was loud and brief, he knew only one person to knock like that, Nadia.
African men don’t do feminists! Nadia, a Canadian girl in Obiajulu’s hostel shouted while letting herself in. Nadia was a self-proclaimed “female equality” activist, not anything like the musician Celine Dion, but beauty did not elude her,her dress sense was what Obi loved most about her, not her sexy accent or her finely shaped body. Ask an African man what he thinks about feminists. Go ahead, and record their answers so we can replay them later. I like a good laugh to start my mornings. If he is like 90% of the African men I know, his answer will be around the lines of, “You mean those white women who don’t like to cook?” or, “Those single women who can’t have babies?” or my personal favourite, “You mean LESBIANS?”. It is surprising that they some Africans still have regards for Chimamanda Adiche the Best seller author, I read the unchristian responses all the Igbo men gave her when she said in her interview that she would not change her name after marriage, you also should watch that interview she TED has on her then you would know that feminism has always existed in Africa as a continent. In premodern Africa we can look at women like the Amazons or Fon women of Dahomey. Or royalty who used their powers to demand justice like Makeda of Ethiopia, Nzinga of Angola or Mnkabayi of Zululand.
The term ‘feminism’ in Africa is obviously an import just like every other English or French or Portuguese term is. However, the feministic concept is not an import in the very slightest. They didn’t always call it feminism (the noun) but there have always been women who were feminist (the adjective). Nadia, say what you may, but I am not buying this idea of yours Obiajulu chipped in, hold on! I am not done she barked. Now answer me, If a woman walked up to you wearing a T-shirt with the words “African Feminist” on it, would you be intrigued or intimidated? Curious or concerned? Do you not do feminists? Or am I over-generalizing?
Who were you arguing with before you ran into this place like an Olamide fan?
Anyways, your opinions are yours, my thoughts are mine. Today’s women are also more likely to see millionaire author and single mother JK Rowling as a good role model than feminist icon Germaine Greer something I read on the internet, so my dear girl Nadia even without a fight, your feminism is coming to an untimely termination, Obi said laughing loudly…African men Nadia said, how do your women survive? Oh quite well answered Okeoma who steeped in while Nadia was still lecturing Obi. Nadia was already saturated with what was too her the African curse of “I am the man” so when she turned to see Okeoma who had given her a sarcastic answer to her question, strength failed her to carry on, so she left smiling.
What nonsense was that “Kim Kardashian” girl who knows nothing but to dress like her father is Aliko Dangote saying about women who want to challenge men? Okeoma asked rhetorically, my woman must be submissive, able to cook, more than able to wash, clean and massage my back o, I don’t want any stories at all with a woman who would challenge my every command and try to trade words, no way! Women should always be women nothing more. This “oyibo” people think they can make us accept every thing they want, he ended with. I totally agree Okeoma, although I am still thinking about this feminism thing, I don’t quite get it yet Obi said, but on making us accept what is good to them I agree, let us take into consideration the fact that they wanted Nigeria to legalize same-sex marriage, “oke ewu ana agba oke ewu ebe ya” does a he-goat go after another he-goat Obi teased “mbanu” No Okema shouted, both heading out.
Obiajulu always wondered about some questions like who owns the internet? How does the decision of the G8 affect every other nation in the world? The question he was faced with now was the question of feminism.
At Meganom Obi was still lost in thoughts could Urenna be a feminist? Is that why she never looks his way? If she was would he still love her the way he did? Did he even love her? or is he attracted to her curvy mountain of a body, he could not let Okeoma in on this one, as he dreads his tongue lashing Urenna in front of his face. Obi was silently wishing Urenna was not a feminist. He had lost track of reality, it was obvious as he walked past Okeoma who was waiting for him at the counter..
Are you alright Okeoma asked..Oh yes I am Obi answered just heavily bothered about something, but it’s no big deal, let’s hurry up and get out of here, I have a date tonight..Okeoma looked at him like he was a ghost, he knew too well that Obi had no date whatsoever.
Simferopol that night was cool, the night seemed longer for Obi as he pondered still.
PHOTO CREDIT: www.dotunsblog.com