OKECHUKWU

 

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Okechukwu.
I first heard this name as a 14 year old in High school. I had reported a guy who insulted our Mothers’ womanhood to a teacher and during the spanking there was a scuffle between the student and the Pre-tech teacher. Our Pre-voc madam came to class and said if whoever reported didnt report, this would not have happened. I didnt budge because not even my   nickname started with a W or ended with an R.

Students begun to whisper Okechukwu whenever I was around. And again, neither was my name starting with an O or ends with a U. Out of curiosity, I was told Okechukwu is someone who “chuks” or tells on someone. A cousin of konkonsa. You see, In Ghana, if you report someone for his bad deed, you are the Judas. Whether it is Judas is Carrot or Judas is Cabbage. You are a Judas.
Well, if the student was brought to the privileges committee, he would have said I heard it on social media and gone Scot free. Number one, I didnt hear him say it directly. Someone did the konkonsa to me. He didnt deny it. Number two. I don’t know if he used “Mu” or “Wu”. Whether singular or plural. There was a U and an insult.

Accra Girls’ was almost the same. You dare not betray you fellow sister. It was a closed sisterhood something. If you dared break the circle. You were given a big shove. Joys were collective. Sorrows were collective. Love letters were crafted together. Breakup letters were scribbled together. And Dissing letters were red marked  together. With a Coin for pure water. No matter where it was going to: Either to The blue shirts or the white shirts.There must be 5pesewas for pure water to cool his heart after reading 
If an Aquinas boy dissed an AGISS girl. It was a WAR declared. Want a witness? Come to Interco.

Out of procrastination . Largely intentional. I now write my two pesewas thoughts on what happened at the banks of a river in the middle of the land at the center of the earth. I saw the video trending but didnt  open it because I don’t like such stuffs. Especially when it ended on a bad note. (I later was forced to watch it recently during A T.V program.)
If not because of social media. This issue would never have being reported by the woman. After being given the money she went home. Right? Because she was afraid of being called an Okechukwu. However since it was Social media. It gained the attention of who it may concern. If she had gone alone. She might be asked to bring witnesses. Not one witness. Witnesses. Who dared witness against a police man in a police station? Just like reporting a catholic priest to a cardinal for sexual misconduct.
They would have said the woman was lying.
A phone did.
Social media did. Social media which is notorious for fake news is now in the witness box testifying strongly. Ooh. Hallelujah Meta! Since three is for completeness. Single Okechukwu is false. Evil. Judas is cabbage style . Plural social media Okechukwu is undeniably true. Some people are saying possibly the woman insulted the police woman. Na  nun da. She is not nkuto like some of  who sleep. Well, I am not here to talk about the hardships this woman was going through. (Was. I heard they are trying to compensate her.) If you did a little bit of science, you will discover that the nursing lioness is more dangerous than the male counterpart. She has to find food for her young ones. And you want to make a fool of her? Keep the bony meat she has stored with you for a rainy day? Hell has no fury like a woman scorned! Can I hear an Amen! That Amen is too weak. Can I hear a louder Amen!

This Hannah Tetteh Theory of disrespectful woman who needs the beating of a woman has being taught for too long. Every where. Communication is learnt. Which includes response. The response to an angry woman who has being tossed to and fro for 270 cedis is not putting her in the wrestling ring with a baby on her chest!

We all are culprits. My elder brother was so incensed with the guy’s attitude. I was like: ooh, but the way they are insulting the guy is so bad ooh.
He responded: “Did you see how he beat the woman? Giving her upper cuts? ” His eyes flashed red and his fist twisted.
“It reminds me of what Anthony did to Mama.”
Just last month, my mom left home and came under the afadjato to call me. (Telecom Network is bad there. ) In tears, she recounted how a young man beat her because according to her, the young man had dumped her kid goat in a well unbeknownst to her. When she complained, it resulted in beatings.
After comforting her, I asked her if she has summoned him to the chief. “Mei sama nei nye Mawu “. Many women like my mom have probably summoned their case to God instead of their Earthly counterparts. These goat and sheep judges? God doesn’t take sheep and goats. Does he? And when their God speaks you teach another theory. The Gambaga theory. This woman is a witch! If God could listen to the wails of Hannah, why wouldn’t he listen to the wails of a woman who drags her bare buttocks on the earth at night and calls your name amid sobs. For such women, Vengeance truly is the Lord’s. Later on, after seeing my brother for awhile, he came home. “I went to the Village”. My mom would be surprised to see him, because she didnt tell my 6feet 6pack macho brother her ordeal. I told him. You know, I am an accepted singular person Okechukwu. Konkonsa extraordinaire. I begged him not to go to the Village. You know, he can’t afford hospital bills. He came, I didnt ask Amanie. What happened in Afadjato mountains remains in Afadjato.

I had laughed it off. This Anthony guy would not have gotten me possibly. I told my brother. I knew the Village chiefs would do nothing about the case, and I was not ready to sama him to Mawu. So I would just have removed my lamb or goat bokoo.Silently. Pay a thanksgiving dime at church.Why would Mama tell a fully grown man: To beat her if he dared.

I dare with calculated risks. Hell has no fury than a woman scorned. I am angry now. And when I meet that Anthony of a guy, I will dare him like my mama dared him. If he reacts, Then I will drag him through the hilly road of Gbledi through gbeve to the nearest police station. Record everything. And if the police doesn’t react. I will not sama him to God above. (There seems to be a long traffic there. The go-slow is not fast tracking the judgements). I will sama him to the god of social media.
If a woman reports her husband to the police for misconduct, the flirtatious jezebel theory will arise.: She wants to find an excuse for cheating on her husband or lock him for good and marry another man. If she was being a good wife, her face will not have being scratched. It serves her right.
You know, there are thousand and one code of ethics for women to be successful wives, girlfriends, daughters, concubines. This can however not be said of the opposite sex. One of my Literary Mamas, said
“All over the world, there are so many magazine articles and books telling women what to do, how to be and not to be, in order to attract or please men. There are far fewer guides for men about pleasing women.”Chimamanda Ngozi

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If there are no guidelines for men, widening the prison walls will never do anything to deter them from treating women as second class humans. For some of us, we have our own rules. You don’t squeeze my hand as if you are squeezing water from a double decked cotton blanket in the name of a handshake and expect me to jump in a taxi with you for a date night. It might be too harsh a judgement. However, our elders say, “Agoro b3i  so aah , efiri anopa ”
Sometimes. You need to judge a book by first glance. Before you are entangled in that Ananse tintein of love. Where you say. “I Can’t leave him. I love him. He is the father of my kids” Be there and enjoy the love beatings. I hear the midnight sobs and kisses as they pass behind my window some nights. Many people have lived through it. Some however have come and gone with swollen faces and broken teeth and gone gone forever. And we grieve. We grieve in guilt because we have failed to provide the support for a sister.

I remember when we were in youth, the young men have something they recite in class. Church. So this guy, lemme call him Matthew was fond of just turning our hand until we the girls cried out loud. Or until I recited a line from his own theme: Respect women , girls and children.And he will slowly uncoil like a python leaving its prey after crashing her bones. It worked until I learnt to stop playing rough play with him.
Proper conduct of men needs to be taught everywhere. At home, church, the streets. The streets. Reminds me of an official thug with the signature bandana wound around his sakora. Ehem. I mean the one who enjoys the two packs of sugar. He said
A woman brought you into this world, so you have no right to disrespect one.” –

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If a street thug could say this…
Why would you a church fine ex boy friend tell a girl that if her mouth is blah blah blah. Her future husband is gonna shut her beak with slaps. I mean ex. Simple Past perfect tense.

I grew up with what some one will say is a stereotypical Commander Hill Ewe Father . Thank my chi I didnt grow up into a stereotypical “Efo Yoo” young woman. Yes, I have heard people say my dad didnt discipline meaning sound, meaning cohesivly beat me into submission. A crab doesn’t give birth to a snail. If genetics is something to argue with. For now, I don’t really care when I am talking with a man, he gets pissed off and stands and walks away. I don’t care. If he runs from me. Or flees. If you can’t hold a healthy discourse with a lady and agree to disagree. I don’t care. I don’t care If I am a repulsive young lady to some men. Chimamanda again said…
“Of course I am not worried about intimidating men. The type of man who will be intimidated by me is exactly the type of man I have no interest in.”Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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So I don’t need to pretend to be a low lying , African-Styled submissive lady to get a husband before I show him my true colors. Naah. I don’t want in-laws to sing into my husbands ears: Oya wo gyata bi…

That is what they will tell you. That women are arrogant when they reach positions of power. They will tell you That when you use the softly softly type or you use “Feminine humility” to get into such positions and now when you reach up there, you flex your muscles and say “I have arrived”.  If you are known as an assertive young girl. Those who truly know you before you assumed power will say at least. “Don’t mind her, that is how she is.” Isn’t it better than “She has changed ooh. She has become power drunk. Women and power. Hmmm” . You don’t have to be a fully grown woman with money and fame to be assertive.
Ehem, those guys who stand up when arguing with me. If it is to control your anger. That is just fine. I however feel that tingling emotions of victory. My annoying self.

Research has shown that the soft skills which is normally possessed by women is what employers are looking out for. Imagine if that police man was a police woman. Maybe. Maybe ooh.
And assertiveness is one of them. Madam Dosoo a Personality coach  reiterated it during the women’s conference recently. Demand for what is yours. You can also be a female Abraham who held unto the angel until he was blessed. You don’t always have to be a Ruth to sleep beside a Boaz to be honoured.
I am assertive. I am a woman. I am human. I have emotions. Those guys who have gone out on dates with me know I can be “helplessly” in love. That kind of p3tseeiii. Shea butter melting self.And maybe in bed. Maybe. I however have a Tilly A. Author mouth. When I am not the one supposed to give chalks. I will tell you I am not the one supposed to give chalks.
If the Police man could beat another woman, what about his wife? Hmm. She doesn’t want to be a singular Okechukwu.
Or he respects her because she is not a market woman? Onion seller? Are most banks not situated beside onion sellers in the market?
May I end this post with an east African poem  in honour of all the lionesses  in the world roaming and yet to roam  to feed their young…

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AFRICAN GIRL
African girl
Drenched in African heat
Gyrating
Not in disco ecstasy
But burdened
By the weight of life;
Firewood
For the family crucible
African woman
In far-off times
On those sun-beaten savannahs
Haunted by beast and serpent
You fashioned intelligence
And called your newborn
Homo sapiens
A living star
Whose light would outshine
All celestial stars.
Now he fashions star wars
And says you
Are underdeveloped.
Your ancient bones
Exposed by the eroding
African hunger
Lie sacrileged
Among museum trivialities,
And jesting
They dub you
Lucy the fossil.
Yet you still bear
The fire of life;
Barefoot
Like a lioness hunting
For her cubs
Kneaded by the African sun,
Buffeted by tropical storm
You roam the wasteland
Searching
For the ingredients of life;
Water and fire.
African woman
Mother of mankind
And its destiny yet.
. . .
African girl
You are a good . . .
Black . . .
Woman.
…..
Barefoot
Like a lioness hunting
For her cubs
Kneaded by the African sun,
Buffeted by tropical storm
You roam the wasteland
Searching
For the ingredients of life;
Water and fire.

From the Rastafari camp to the African girl/Woman: Respect!

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