Manfe is my home town. My whole life revolves around it. We are different from others. Our religions, festivals and our culture is distinct from others. Women in manfe, are taught to speak only when it’s necessary. If you’re speaking, it’s either when you’re serving food, or sending the children errands, or when doing business chores and the most important of all, when your husband or any man who’s above your age grade asks you to speak. Even If you’re beaten by your husband you are to remain silent. Basically, men are never wrong. It takes certain qualities to be called a man in manfe, otherwise you’re referred to as a boy. Someone could be sixty and still be called a boy. You must have achieved something really great. You must possess braveness and leadership to be called a man. You must have large farm produces every season or command an army of workers. No weakling can be called a man in manfe. As a result of that, Boys in manfe don’t get the perfect wife. Their wives have blemishes as far as manfe’s traditions are concerned. They are either short, or regarded as ugly or too fat or less hardworking or too big eyes, the list is endless.The perfect wives are reserved for the men. As a woman,If you talk too much, you’re likely to remain single for a long time, Probably till you die.
I am mabo, 21. As beautiful and hardworking as I am, I’m a victim of talking too much – as manfe would term it. When I was younger, I was very quiet and hardworking. I got mature very fast and I was fair skinned. It was a plus to my beauty. When I was 14, suitors had already started coming for my hand in marriage. Rich suitors. I became my father’s favorite. My mother’s co-wives became jealous because I enjoyed the privileges they and their children didn’t enjoy. I was the only child of my mother so it was easier to get presents from my father, especially the beautiful taffeta wrappers. My ego became inflated but i didn’t make it obvious. My father chose zuba for me and I was content with it. Zuba was the son of akonii. He had the largest number of palm trees in all of manfe. Zuba was a wrestler. I liked his physique, his posture, the aura of self confidence that saturated his presence and the way he smiled. Zuba was indeed a man.
After the marriage rites and just before I moved into zuba’s house, my father gave me the greatest honour any father in manfe could ever give. He let me attend the meeting for the elders who’s children had married. Since I was his début, he brought me along. The elders welcomed him with warm hearts. It made my father happier. I saw how the men expressed themselves, had a voice. Spoke when they thought it necessary- not when someone thought it was necessary for them to speak. Why was it different for the women? Why were we only permitted a limited expression? I asked myself questions that would remain unanswered. After the meeting which was really good for my father, Something was ignited in me. I began to see my self as equals with the men, with the boys, with everyone. I began to thirst for the implementation of this equality. I wanted to speak up, To have a voice as a woman. That was the beginning of my problems.
Zuba couldn’t handle the fact that I was unsubmissive and contending. He sent me home leaving me with a heavy stigma. My father disowned me. My mother wept and still weeps. I was all that she had. I can tell that she is happy because I didn’t allow my self to be suppressed and absorbed in manfe’s myopic traditions. But she wouldn’t show it, she couldn’t. We barely spoke. I moved away, Close to the forest. Temane loves me because I am bold and not afraid. I met him at the forest. He’s a hunter. The best in manfe but he’s an orphan so he’s unimportant in manfe. With temane, I’ve realized what love is like. Love is something no woman in manfe would ever experience. They’d only be content, like I was with zuba. I don’t regret speaking up. I never will. Temane and I will leave for Ironmei tonight. We’re leaving with my mother. She fled the house for my sake. She wanted to be by my side. We’ll start our lives afresh. I’ll bear children for the man I love and we’ll raise them to express their selves when they think it necessary. Manfe would be a thing of the past in a few moments.

Published by akudo okechukwu

I'm a content writer, copywriter creative writer and digital marketer. I help people and brands grow. I also sing pretty good (irony)

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