Akwaeke Zara Emezi is an Igbo and Tamil writer born in Umuahia and raised in Aba, Nigeria. Her first full length novel, Somadina, was selected as a finalist for the New Visions Award by Lee and Low Books.
Published by The Sable E-Mag, her latest short story:
I took one of my taxis to the estate so that no one would recognise the car. The security at the first gate waved us in with a cursory flick of their torchlights, not bothering to bend to the window. After all, the taxi was only a common yellow, not the oil black that would tell them they could smile with expectation and not the shiny sugar red that would merit at least a curious glance through the glass. I did own cars like those, but I’ve long found the poor man’s yellow to be the most useful. I inherited them all with my father’s company when he stumbled to his knees and quietly died during a morning jog two years ago. My mother became a muted and folded woman after that, thinning out until I grew concerned about her fragility. Every time she blessed me, her palms felt like spun paper about to flake gently over my scalp. It had been nothing to do my duty, to ease her mind, to come home and take over.
As we pulled through the second gate, I turned over the invitation in my hands, feeling out the weight of the heavy paper. The driver spun the steering wheel slowly and drove the taxi into a corner of the sprawling parking lot. He was one of the few that I trusted, a sour old man with sharp ears, selective hearing and he was a beast behind a steering wheel. I handed him a fold of thousand naira notes and he handed me a mask in return- soft leather, made in battered oxblood. When I held it briefly against my face, it felt like another skin.
Aima had left me five weeks ago, after I watched her crumple against a wall while sobbing that I would never marry her. I didn’t mean to just watch, I knew I was supposed to pick her up, cradle her against me and tell her that I loved her, that of course I would marry her, but the raw bitterleaf truth was that I didn’t recognise the hysterical woman she had become. The things she said sounded like another woman’s mouth had eaten hers. When she finally stood up and looked at me with completely betrayed eyes, I didn’t recognise myself either. Tonight, my intent was to forget about both of us, the interminable drive to the airport and how she didn’t even turn around for a last look … (keep reading)
I actually had to remove negative comments about this from the caption box before i re-blogged. The sad thing is, that the people who make negative comments about this picture, are hypocrites, who insist that everyone should respect their right to voice their opinions but criticize anyone who does not agree with them.
Everything you posted here is rubbish.
1. You didn’t have to remove negative comments. Why? I didn’t make any. This is what I posted in quotes “Someone shared this on facebook. They were 100% serious.” - I was bemused and found it funny, hence the ‘lol’ and ‘wtf’ tags, but I wasn’t negative. I didn’t insult or criticize anyone. Stop making things up.
2. Where did I say people don’t have the right to their opinions? I’m subjected to biblical sermons on FB daily. I never engage, even when there are direct attacks from people who post these things towards people like me and people I care about. I have better things to do, like laugh about the absurd things they post, when I know for a fact that the people posting those things don’t live up to what they are posting.
3. I didn’t insult or criticize anyone. That bears repeating again. In fact, I purposely made it vague by describing the person who shared this as “Someone”. You have no idea what kind of relationship I have with this person, and whether I have a right to criticize them. I definitely do btw, but I didn’t.
4. This is my personal tumblr page. This is where I share my opinions. It is my own space. Get it? Of course I’m not beyond reproach.
5. I never said people couldn’t believe whatever they wanted or say whatever they liked. I do reserve the right to laugh at absurdities on my own personal page. For instance, I’m currently laughing at you right now. Thanks for the laugh!
6. I’m not really sure why you’re even here. I’m a godless heathen who engages in premarital sex. You’ve definitely come to the wrong place for your moral indignation.
7. You really came for me over this picture? For real? Alright then. Remember to take it easy on me kind sir. What would jesus do? I’m a heathen you know.
8. Perhaps you should pray for me. Deliver me from my lascivious and lustful ways. Who knows, maybe one day we could pray and read the bible in bed together like the people in the photo. Wouldn’t that be nice?
I woke up really early this morning to fry plantain. See my life.
AE Cartagena de Indias 006 Seriesby Angèle Etoundi Essamba
Photo by Herman Leonard (Source)
Thelonious Monk upon arrival for a performance at Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, February 14 1964 (photos by Jac de Nijs)
yep. This was actually a ‘program’ started by the Fascist/Catholic regime in Spain during Franco’s dictatorship. The idea was to steal babies from ‘left leaning’ parents, poor single mothers and sell them to right wing parents. The Spanish Catholic church has been quiet about this, but there have been dozens of protests and lawsuits. Investigations are still going on. There’s a really interesting documentary on this, I’ll have to find it.
This is another reason why I have zero respect for the Catholic Church in Spain, or Franco sympathizers.
Briefly recapping my night out in Lagos, Nigeria and watching the interaction between a Nigerian prostitute and a foreigner. It’s not an uncommon sight, but I suppose having interacted with the man first hand (he works for my friend’s father) and him revealing his viewpoint as a white man clearly still feeling superior in a black man’s land; it was just left a very bitter taste in my mouth to watch this beautiful, young black woman be handled by him….
Similarly in the Port Harcourt area where there are a lot of oil refineries and where there are white expat enclaves, this is standard. Many young girls are sadly trying to land a rich white man so they can be taken care of. There are also some who become housegirls, cooks or cleaners for them, but there is a sexual arrangement in exchange for providing them with employment, food and shelter. It’s desperation and crippling poverty. School fees are expensive, and you know in Nigeria, some parents can’t afford to send all their children to school, so it’s usually the oldest who gets an education. If it’s between a boy and a girl, then the boy will be the one sent to school. With the girl, they figure she will find someone to marry her.
It’s a double whammy really. The multinationals these white expats work for like Shell, Chevron, Agip etc have destroyed the Niger Delta with oil exploration. The way many supported and sustained themselves is gone because of pollution. People are desperate, and desperate people will do anything. So after the employers of these expats have decimated these places after decades of exploitation, they now come for cheap sex. No matter what the sex workers are getting paid in Naira, it is cheap when compared to the Euros and Dollars expat workers get paid in. The rate for sex is always affordable for a white expat. This is why they are there.
Most of these girls start out young. Some places are worse than others. I’m sure you know that Calabar is pretty popular with white tourists. They love talking about the scenery, the culture and beaches. The new thing is the Calabar Carnival. Yes, that’s it, old white men are coming to Nigeria for Carnival. I hope no one believes that. If anyone believes old white men are flocking to Calabar for beaches, resorts, nature’s wonders and to take in the culture, then I don’t know what to tell you. Many are there for young girls. If they are sent there for employment, then the cheap sex is a bonus. It’s a well known thing that people don’t like to discuss openly, in part because many parents are complicit. Some sex workers got their start by being coerced by their parents and guardians, but again, it’s a thing that is taboo to discuss. They will deny it, and Nigerians don’t openly like to discuss anything relating to sex. Here Nigeria is, the largest black population in the world, but they like to pretend that sex isn’t happening. Everyone is “pious” and “moral”. In Nigeria, they knack like rabbits, but it’s always in secret.
A lot of press has been given to places like Thailand and the Philippines with regards to sex tourism in the last decade. African countries are slowly becoming a destination for many Europeans because of the lack of scrutiny and the way people turn a blind eye. These white guys are pretty open and brazen about it because Nigerians treat oyinbo people with respect, and are generally deferential towards foreigners because of their economic situation. In turn, these expats have free reign to run wild and do whatever they like, and they are doing just that.