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·Your Voice Matters· Photo by Nora Awolowo

‘History is storytelling.’

Yaa Gyasi

There was first confusion, indecision and then a thousand and one questions running through my mind as I got to the venue of the protest. Had I done the right thing? Did I belong there? I did not know anyone here, so where will I run to if it turns into a riot? Also, do I trust everyone here to remain on track and not cause a distraction? And most importantly, was I angry enough to participate in this protest? Was I rightly motivated to be a part of something this massive? …


Not alone. Surrounded by the people I love the most.

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Photo: Pinterest

The past few weeks have been filled with so much anger and despair over the death of the Hollywood actor who played the Marvel superhero character, Black Panther, the one and only Chadwick Boseman.

Coincidentally, the night before I heard of his death, I felt uneasy and developed this need to write on this piece that had been in my head for weeks. All that time, I only had a title ‘How do you want to die’ in my head, and before it starts to seem like a cry for help, no, I’m not suicidal. …


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Art by Collins Obijiaku

‘I think women want freedom. They want to be empowered. They want hope. They want love; they want all the things that I want, and I’m not afraid to say those things and act on them.’ — Rihanna

I spend what I consider an unreasonable amount of time on social media, often in between engaging in other work-related things and I can confidently say that nothing causes an uproar in the Nigerian community more than a woman saying she doesn’t want to marry, or have kids. Oh, the outrage! Like how dare a woman choose what to do with her life? The audacity!

There’s a Nigerian style to everything. For some reason, often without trying we tend to adopt a uniqueness to reacting to situations in an overly dramatic way. The Nigerian way of cooking for instance where you sprinkle salt until you hear a whisper from your ancestors telling you when it’s enough, and if the food turns out salty—you are nothing but a disgrace to your generation. Nigerians are known to be largely influenced by cultural and traditional standards and that is evident in their approach to everything. Even the ones in the diaspora, that even though surrounded by Western culture also hold some deeply rooted archaic takes in what the modern-day family structure should look like. And that is not to say that every part of the culture is unacceptable by modern day standards. …


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Faceless. Credit: Pinterest.

I live in Nigeria. Precisely in Lagos state. I only recently moved in February. It was not in the spur of the moment but it was rather pre-meditated. I had planned and plotted this for the longest time because I felt like I was loosing out on something I couldn’t quite place my hands on. Moreso, I needed a change of environment. I had grown up and lived around the same things and people for the longest time and I needed that to change.

I was barely three weeks in when I started hearing about the coronavirus in the news and instinctively, I panicked. I thought about the Ebola era, which was the first real health scare I had experienced. Ebola came into Nigeria in 2014, which is a long time now that I think of it and it was such a crazy time, filled with conspiracy theories, (even though not as ridiculous as the 5G theory surrounding the coronavirus). It even deteriorated to a point that people started using salt water to take their bath and some even went as far as ingesting unhealthy amounts of salt because they taught it would protect them from getting Ebola. I remember covering my body with scarves and avoiding every form of physical contact whenever I was out. …


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The past few months have recorded my struggle to feel something strong enough to spur me to express my feelings in a powerful way that when I look back at it, it reminds me of what I was feeling at that moment.

I haven’t found it.

It just occurred to me that I’ve always created from a place of hurt and the struggle to be heard. I wanted my voice to be relevant to something. I didn’t care about the fame or the numbers it did, what I needed was a channel to divert what I was fighting to keep still within me. A part of me hoped that by putting bits of me into something I thought worthwhile, I could put an end to what was pulsing and racing within. …


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I don’t vividly remember the first time I listened to Burna Boy’s music. It must have been at a party of some sort, where it was played over the speaker, or maybe on the streets. It’s all too unclear. However, what I do remember is how it made me feel. And to me feelings are more important that anything else, because that is what creates a connection between people and things, people and people, things to other things in this world of ours.

It must’ve been one of those days in the second week in August 2019 where I bent my head and cried for the first time since an incident, as my oral unit could no longer accommodate the bubbles of sorrow building up somewhere in my throat. Sekkle down by Burna boy played through the speakers of the Televesion set, as I sat at the edge of the bed and broke down in tears. It had been a rough month for me emotionally, even as my resilience failed me and I found no motivation to engage in anything at all, let alone anything productive. I was mostly numb, unimpressed, experiencing FOMO and self-absorbed in my melancholic state. Oh well. Jokes on me because I’m not even sure I could feel anything, so I couldn’t even tell if I was melancholic or not. …


How do you want to be loved?

In doses. In parts. Little portions that won’t overwhelm me.

Satisfyingly.

I want it to be unending. Like a fresh page, I want it anew like the morning air, untainted and innocent like a baby’s smile. Longing, but very aware in its self.

Equally.

The only thing we have to submit is our will to express our passion and desire to love. Be present.

Measurably.

Not in countable acts of love or timeline but in accountablity at any times. Timelessly. No good or bad days have a room to interrupt the process that we are experiencing. …

About

The Ugonna

only in death are we a master. feminist. nostalgic. living one day at a time. achiever.

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