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Friday, 19 February 2016


She watched the television keenly, this interview was very educating and mind stimulating. She now had reasons to admire the prolific writer the more. Since she joined this school of thought, she came to look up to Amara Dike, the forerunner of African Feminism, her book “Girl Power”, had earned her the Nobel Prize for literature in 2009. She believed so much in the liberation of the female gender, loosening of African ideals and values to accommodate the girl child. To be a feminist was not just a wavering decision that would change with conditions, it was Chidinma’s philosophy, yes! She had no business submitting to any man, she was a person herself, a human as well with equal opportunities and potentials to prosper. She had already declared her stance to her parents. They had tried all possible means to dissuade her but to no avail; she wanted to be treated like her brothers, why won’t they do the dishes mama? She always asked. “Mma, they are men and they have other things to do, other responsibilities.” She didn’t blame her mother much, Mrs Ella Agubata did not visit the four walls of the university so she had no exposure. “But mama they should also help in cooking, I do all the work alone and they just eat.” Mama would look at her like she vomited abomination. “Mechionu! Nne biko, is this how you plan to disgrace me when you get married?” She would always defend her sons. Why couldn’t father allow her to visit her friends and return at night like her brothers? He also had the same answers, “Nne you are a woman, you are not supposed to stay out late, ehn? Don’t you know people would start to see you as a bad girl, ehn? Don’t you know that with that kind of reputation, no man will want to marry you?”
Finally, she had met someone that encouraged and supported her feminist ideals. Why was a woman caged like a bird and only men were granted freedom in all respects? She was different from most girls whose major aspiration was marriage. She always felt disgusted with their low level of thinking. Surely there were better things to achieve than marriage, why tie yourself down? It’s not as if she did not want to marry, no, she would marry at her own time, when she was ready, after all men also married at any time they deemed fit.
She hated the country, in fact, the whole of Africa, how could they be so savage in reasoning? What annoyed her most was the way religious institutions reinforced female gender subordination. She remembered challenging one of their pastors some years back. He had been screaming, “wives submit to your husbands, he is the head of the family!” Chidinmma had got pissed and asked a question before walking out of the congregation. “Why don’t men give birth to children? They should share in some of our responsibilities! Submission my ass.”
That night her father cursed her for disgracing him in such a manner. He blamed her mother for not being able to tame her. Chidinmma was not the least perturbed by her father’s ranting, after all, she was a matured lady and knew exactly what she wanted. She could as well cease living with her parents because she had just started working. The only regret and pain she felt, was her mother’s teary face. The poor woman wiped her face with the edge of her wrapper and kept crying, “you have disgraced me.”
She had made up her mind, nothing was going to change that. She had a good job, a house, a car, she did not need a man to validate her success; she was self-made.
Many years later, Chidinmma had blossomed fully and was ripe for plucking. Who could resist the light skinned beauty of Imo State with her elegant features? One would wonder if she had Caucasian blood. People already nicknamed her ‘Nwa Oyibo’ (halfcast). She was 27 years old and ready to settle down.
Chidinmma had met and married Barrister Odogwu  Emenike. He, like herself studied a professional course. She studied Chemical Engineering. Their marriage began to have potholes after the honeymoon. How could he refuse doing chores and expect dinner? And afterwards play with her body like it was some game. She had asked for a maid, and this was his reply, “how can we have a maid? We don’t even have a child yet.” She couldn’t take this nonsense, and her repulsive mother in-law kept visiting her and observing the house, nosy old bitch! With much pressure she had gotten a maid. Now, she could concentrate on achieving her goals and earning a promotion at her office.
However, the marriage of two years crumbled when she caught her husband having sex with the maid, he did not even wait for her to file the divorce, he did it himself and later married the maid. He kept on telling her about her arrogance, her foolish pride and how she was a disgrace to womanhood.
She felt the height of rejection, he did not even beg to be with her, her mother did not console her, she had become subject for gossip. Well, although bitten, she would not abate, she was a feminist! And could not submit to any man.
She got married again,and again, each marriage ending with no issue. Could it be her father’s curse? Well, probably not, Africans and their stupid beliefs!
Years rolled by slowly, she was hardened now, but age changed people, and she would hug her sweater against the chillness of the weather. As the laughter of families filtered her deafened ears, she would look at their faces, not understanding why they laughed but she felt their happiness; children, mother and father, she looked away and felt empty. Her hearing had gone worse, and she was approaching 60 alone; no child, no husband, no family because she had blocked them out. But time changed people, but could she change time?
She stared again into the brightness of the sun. How illuminating, and the beautiful spray of colours on the chameleon that hid on the tree, arrrrh, she was alone now, all her friends had families to get back to but all she had was deafness and feminism.
Maybe if she was given a chance she would have changed, maybe she would have married again if she wasn’t deaf, just maybe, but on that fateful day, precisely, March 15, 2013, Chidinma Agubata was buried in the state cemetery. She had no church (she was an atheist), no friends and her parents died long ago, her brothers would have nothing to do with her.

On that bright morning, she lay quietly, and stiff, her eyes were closed, with wool stuck in her nostrils, she had a smile on her face, and she wore white with red roses, we bade her adieu. The unhappy feminist had fallen, survived by none.

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