Who Will Speak For Women In Africa?

 

By

Uju Okeke

 

 

 

 

 

Ugoyo was born into the family of Elewes of Ogui kingdom in Africa

Her father Mr. Elewe refused to visit the clinic when he was informed that his wife gave birth to a sixth girl. He sent a message to Mrs Elewe not to bother returning home.

It took Mrs Elewe’s relatives several days to prevail upon Mr. Elewe to give her another chance. This was after Mrs Elewe stayed with a fetish doctor who bathed her in stream at midnight to wash off everything that connected her with bearing girl children

Mrs Elewe on returning to her matrimonial home resumed conjugal relations immediately as Mr Elewe was unwilling to delay in having a son. The gods smiled on her again as she took in barely one month after the birth of Ugoyo though she heard some women died from this.

Immediately she took in, she was taken back to the fetish doctor so that he will turn the sex of the foetus to male

Mrs Elewe, delivered a bouncing baby boy named Dataka. Mr Elewe and relatives were elated. The fetish doctor was honoured for successfully exorcising Mrs Elewe of the female child spirit

Dataka had the attention of all sundry for saving the family from the shame of loosing family name.

While growing up, many advantages passed Ugoyo by and went to her brother, with whom she was unequal.

Dataka was sent to school unlike Ugoyo who by the way was brighter. Well it did not matter as nobody wastes money educating a girl who will soon marry. They also said school had bad toilet, was too far, and she could be kidnapped on the road as the route was unsafe.

Ugoyo grew up lacking care but was dutiful and obedient, enduring the gruesome pain of circumcision, she was told she needed it for marriage.

One day old men came to their house. She was told to come greet her husband though she was yet to form breasts. The prayers said she will bear many sons.

The old man hit her and she ran to her parents who told her she was inferior to her husband and must have really offended him. They sent her back with relatives that begged for her. When beatings left scars on her, he was praised for loving her enough to correct her.

Seasons passed without pregnancy, more beatings happened and strange females frequented who she must serve.

Fetish priests prepared concoctions and prescribed healings including sleeping with her unconcerned about sexually transmitted infections and disease as procreative ability determined her womanhood.

He called her ‘man’ and threw her out, In-laws despised her, Women mocked her, Neighbors said she was bad luck, Society called her witch, her parents said she was a disgrace. She was told that Infertility diminished her humanness

Old man husband died and Ugoyo was forced to sleep with the corpse and drink water used in washing it to prove her innocence and non complicity in the natural event of death.

Rumors spread that government made laws but there was no change and nobody was prosecuted. She heard city dwellers mention Constitution and human rights but could they change culture?

Ugoyo was hungry and poor with no means of livelihood. She had no inheritance from her parents being female or old man husband, being childless. Smiles disappeared from her face; she was sick every day. She desired death and Death came. Her corpse was thrown into the evil forest.

Who killed Ugoyo?

There are many Mrs Elewes and Ugoyos in our world. Do you know any Mr Elewe, Oldman-Husband, In-laws, Neighbors, Society or even government dealing with Mrs Elewes and Ugoyos? What part are you playing Perpetrator or unconcerned onlooker? Will you join me so that we leave no one behind and end violence against women and girls today?

 

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