Sarafina 2

…inspired by true life events…

Everyone knew there was nothing Nneka could do to the girls. If she even tried to raise a finger on them, it could as well be the end of her study in the school. The school was quite strict about fighting, regardless of who started it or who was at fault; both parties would be dealt with properly.
“Anyway, take this money and here is the list of the things you are to buy for me and Benita.”
Demilade was in a rebellious state, so she did not move an inch, but just kept looking at Nneka and Benita with disgust on her face. To think that her mother had handed her over to the two girls when she first came into the school was quite hilarious. Her mother had been concerned about the big physical state of the girls in her class that she quickly materialised two guardians for her precious, small-statured daughter. Nneka and Benita had been a few notes richer that day.
“See how this one is looking at me!” Benita shouted, pointing at Demilade with her right index finger, while the left hand rested akimbo on her hip.
Omolara quickly collected the money and the list and pulled her friend’s hand as they walked to the cafeteria. She then scanned the list. It was the usual junk they bought- ice cream, snacks and more ice cream, or rather, lolly.
“Have you watched Sarafina?” Omolara asked, trying to make conversation with her angry friend.
“You are like the one-millionth person that will ask me that question. What’s the big deal about the movie?”
“I don’t know.”
Demilade gave her friend a questioning look.
“I’ve not watched it either ,” Omolara said.
They both laughed and ran to join the queue of people at the snacks’ stand. Then they noticed that the money was not complete- it wouldn’t have been enough for all the items on the list.
After arguing a bit, the two friends agreed to balance the money out of their own lunch money. Omolara believed it was a mistake and that it would not happen again.
But she was wrong. It happened again and again- every week day.

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Ever since Bayo had met his distant cousin – Layi, the week before, he had been staying with them. Funny enough, he had not even recognised Layi, it was Layi who did. Poor Layi however had to go through a bit of family history and some very long time memories about when they were all kids and played in the gigantic family house in the village, for Bayo to remember. Then Bayo narrated his story to his older cousin who was more than happy to share his room with him.
He had met the very lovely family and had loved the way he was immediately accepted into the family. One would think he had been staying with them as long as possible. He liked the fact that Demilade and her siblings were pleasant kids who seemed to obey their mother’s every word. They even understood their mother’s body language- she did not need to say anything for the kids to know when to keep quiet or politely reject an offer.
He was curious however to know why they were not allowed to go out of the house to play with other kids, except once in a blue moon.

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Demilade’s mother wanted the best for her children in all ways. She did not like the environment they lived as it was not the kind of place she had dreamed of raising her children. But as fate had it, that was where her husband could shelter them in the meantime. So she tried not to let them mingle too much with the other kids, especially those she knew had a bad reputation.
She knew she had good children, but her aim was to make them better. Better than she was when she was their age and better in all aspects than their peers. That was anyway every mother’s dream.
She feared the most for her daughter, Demilade who seemed to be a quietly different child. She was clever and was quicker to listen than speak. This made it difficult to know what was on her mind or what she felt about an issue.
On one Saturday her mother checked in her children’s school bag and she saw a wristwatch in Demilade’s bag. Throughout that weekend the little girl did not hear anything more than how one needed to be contented with what they had and that she must return the item back to the owner first thing on Monday morning (despite her telling her mom it was Omolara’s watch and that she forgot it in her bag when they were all practising for their forthcoming inter-house sports competition).
So the next time someone forgot her mathematical set in Demilade’s bag, she hid it before entering into the house and picked it on her way to school where she kept it the next morning. Better to risk it been stolen where she kept it and save herself from the ‘contentment’ sermon.
And this was exactly one of the reasons her mother feared for the girl. She just hoped that her cleverness would not put her into big trouble one day.

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Demilade did not like Bayo but she did not show it. She was excellent at hiding her feelings whenever she so desired.
She was however forced to see his face almost every day- after all they lived under the same roof. She did not allow her dislike for him interfere with her love for music and this was the only thing that kept her going to her Uncle Layi’s room- but only when her uncle was around.
“Uncle see everybody is talking about one film like this…erm… maybe safarina or something…” she was saying when her uncle cut her short with his laughter.
She frowned. “What is funny now, enh?”
“It is Sarafina dear, not safarina.”
She twisted her mouth in a funny way.
Layi had just returned from school and had not even changed his clothes when Demilade barged in. He sat on the table in his room and stretched out his left leg.
“Now that you are here, make yourself useful.”
Demilade looked at the outstretched leg and twisted her face even more. She was unfortunate to be the one to untie his shoe lace and help him pull off the shoes- that was her younger brother’s favourite pastime.
While on the second shoe she said, “This suffering is too much Uncle Layi. Your shoe stinks and I’m about to faint.”
Feigning pity her uncle replied, “Oh, sorry dear. If you faint how will you be able to watch the movie I just bought?”
“Which movie?”
“Sarafina!”

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Ever since Demilade saw the movie on their VHS player, she had grown even smarter. She believed that if Sarafina could have been of great help to her country and was able to fight for freedom, then she was also able to fight her bullies- not with physical weapons but intellectual ones. She therefore sufficed a plan which she told her best friend and co-victim. Omolara was not cut out for trouble. She was willing to continue running their errands and even using her money for lunch to balance up the incomplete errand money.
“What will happen the day our lunch money cannot make up for the balance Omolara?”
“I don’t know. I have never thought about it.”
“Well we are now. And I am going to do exactly as I planned. Are you with me or not?”
Omolara looked down and shut her eyes. Then she nodded.
“Good. You take Nneka while I take Benita.”
The bell was rung then.
It was break time.

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Bayo’s luck was getting better and better. Since he insisted on getting a part time job, Demilade’s father got him one at a nearby company. He worked in the evenings as a casual worker and the benefits there was even more than the pay. Their pay was daily and it was given to them immediately after the day’s job.They were usually paid 50 Naira per day. And as at early 1999, #50 was the highest currency denomination in Nigeria.

Silver’s diary

“Peace” of advice

Dear diary,

I was in a public bus the other day (a one-hour journey), trying not to breath as often as I was normally supposed to. Now you must be wondering why I may have wanted to kill myself. No be so o. (NOTE: no one can commit suicide by holding their own breath).
It was the woman that was sitting beside me-to my left. She had this terrible smell oozing from her direction (thanks to untidiness) and to worsen it all, she was sitting by the window. So with every wind blow I was greeted by an unpleasant slap of her aura. Not just that, she iced the cake by eating boiled egg and roasted groundnut (who does that?).
Anyway, that was not all I was suffering in the bus. On my right was another woman and her overweight son. The boy was about three to four years old according to my guess and he was really giving his mother the time of her life. He pointed at everything the hawkers paraded and cried every time the mother shook her head or said no to his request or ignored him all together.
We were almost half way to our destination (of course I was checking my wrist watch every other minute) when we encountered a little traffic jam. The child saw a hefty man carrying a big carton of plantain chips and as was his habit, pointed at the man and made a ‘come’ gesture with his small pudgy fingers. The poor man took the cue and ran towards our bus, shoving aside two biscuit sellers that were talking. When he got to the bus he stretched his hand into the bus with three chips in it and asked the child’s mother how many she wanted.
In the twinkle of an eye, while I was praying for the bus to move because I was beginning to suffocate, the child snatched one of the packaged chips and started using his tiny teeth to open up the chips.
To cut the long story short, mummy had to pay for the chips, the bus found its way out of the traffic, I was still in the middle of a crisis (make that two crisis), the little boy ate one of the chips, threw the rest out of the window when he saw a chin-chin seller and screamed in tears when his mother ignored him.
Suddenly the driver turned back and angrily warned mummy to caution the screams of her son. That was when the woman on my left-Mrs Egg and groundnut (Mrs EG for short) turned to mummy and told her that she had spoilt the child. She analysed how the child should have been beaten from the very first time he cried for her to buy him something. Then she should have dealt with him when he grabbed the chips and also she should have given him serious beating when he threw the almost untouched chips out.
For as much as Mrs EG was killing me with all her smells put together, I could not help but smile at the words she told mummy.
Unfortunately however, mummy was not at all pleased with the words of advice.
She sparked in fury.
She adjusted in her seat so she could face her adviser and balanced her son (who was no more crying) well on her laps. She analysed in many ways why and how Mrs EG should mind her own business. The difference in the two women’s analysis was that mummy did not stop talking until we reached our destination (eighteen whooping minutes). And by the way, she did not forget to also remind Mrs EG of her stench state.
Mrs EG was quiet throughout the ranting.
Every other person in the bus was either not in the mood, not ready to be insulted or just enjoying the show. So no one said a word.
I was still in the middle of a major crisis.
Dear diary, I cannot say how gloriously excited I was to finally alight the bus of drama. I immediately wiped my face of all mummy’s angry spittle (I dared not wipe it while the action was on, probably she would have turned her rage on me or something).
Funny enough, as I turned back (I don’t know what I wanted to see), mummy and her marvellous little boy were buying yoghurt from a vendor. Her eyes met mine and she gave me a once-in-a-life-time kind of evil eyeing.

This experience taught me that when l eventually have my own children, l will train them well (so help me God). I won’t wait till they start embarrassing me in public and having others insult my parental power. There is nothing like “too small” in disciplining a child.
So what do you think?

Sarafina

Good people!
Over the next few weeks, I will be presenting to you, Sarafina. I hope you enjoy this series and also learn, because like it or not, it REALLY happened.
So enjoy (and learn).

…inspired by true life events…

Demilade was a tad too smart for her age.
She was ten. And it was in those days when majority of ten-years-olds didn’t know the correct English name for their private parts. It was around the time when girls used to wear long, extremely bright-coloured gowns that had numerous layers underneath, with white socks that had net for lips and matching shoes that had little block heels.
It was not that long ago though. It was that time when ‘ten-ten’ and ‘suwe’ were the ‘games of life’ (for girls and some boys) and video games-family com was becoming the game that rock (for boys and some girls).
It was 1999.
Being smart, she was in her second year in junior secondary school and was among the smallest in the girls-only school: smallest, both in age and stature.
Luckily, she had a friend- Omolara who was few months older and had almost the same stature as her. Both of them were however victims of some of the bigger girls in their class, since the very first year in the school.

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Nneka and Benita were the class bullies who, whether knowingly or not, made Demilade and Omolara feel even smaller than they already were. The two little girls were usually sent on errands during break period by the bigger girls and they were damned if they stayed too long at the cafeteria, or if they bought the wrong items.
The errands gave the two girls time to talk and they got to know each other better. They also fantasised the day one of them would stand up to Nneka (she was like the leader). Then they would laugh about the thought of it and run towards the cafeteria.
Nneka was very light skinned while Benita was very dark skinned. They were about the same height but Benita was bigger than Nneka, while Nneka had way bigger breasts than Benita.

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Bayo just got admitted into the University-again, but his greatest challenge was where to stay. Yes, he had heard that there was hostel provision for freshmen particularly, but he was trying to economise all the resources he had. Staying in the hostel would take almost all he had, after payment of school fees and every other necessary due.
His father was dead and was not missed – he never was much of a father anyway. His mother was a road-side trader who tried her best to send him through secondary school, while his younger sister learnt a trade. When Bayo gained admission the first time and told his mom, she was so sad that she fell sick. She was sad about not been able to provide the money her son needed to further his studies. Therefore, Bayo had to stay back for two years. He did all sorts of menial jobs and gathered money. He was determined to go to the University.
Now, two years after his first admission offer, he was back at the same University and terribly needed a place he could stay, at least for his first year in school. He intended getting jobs he could do alongside schooling, so as to make ends meet.
It was one very sunny afternoon, after library registration that Bayo heard his name from his left, around where the school shuttles were parked. It was in the direction of the sun and he had to quickly shield his face with his hand. Someone was walking towards him with one of those student bags hanging on his right shoulder and big boots on his feet. Bayo couldn’t place the face, but he sure could see that this person was smiling rather too widely.
He slowly walked towards the man.

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Demilade was a music lover. She loved odd kinds of music- not the type her mates listened to. She loved listening to every word the singer said and tried to relate to the singer’s message. She liked Lagbaja’s Baby Tani ko fe wa (sugomu) and The Lijadu sisters’ Reincarnation the most, because her uncle- Layi, usually played it every day on his old gramophone that he inherited from his father, that is, Demilade’s grandpa
Layi was a younger brother to Demilade’s father and he lived with them. He was in his second year in the University- the same one Bayo got into. Layi had the luxury of a whole room to him and so was very possessive of his room-he furnished it to his taste and made it a ‘home’ for himself.
Demilade, against her mother’s instruction usually went to her uncle’s room whenever her mom was not around, to listen to music. Layi was always obedient to Demilade- he always played the songs for her, since she didn’t know how to operate the gramophone. If he refused to play it, or he delayed in playing it, she would pest him for the rest of the day. It was only when her mother was around that she was no pest, else Layi would tell on her. And Demilade’s mother was one big disciplinarian.

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Nneka and Benita wanted to ‘up’ their bullying, for they felt Omolara and Demilade were even enjoying the errands they ran. So Benita suggested that they still send them errands, but not with the complete money for the goods to be bought. At first Nneka felt it was too much. After little persuasion from Benita, it was the next line of action.
So it was that on a Friday break period, before the two ‘victims’ could run out of the large class, they were summoned by Nneka.
“Where do you think you’re running to, you little rascals?”
There was no reply from either of the girls.
“Can you not hear me? Or have you suddenly gone deaf and dumb?” Nneka said, trying to be calm.
Still, no answer.

Hello!

So, I am back.

Sorry for the long break. I can assure you it was for a good cause.

I will get back to posting as soon as I finish cleaning up all the cobwebs and dust in this blog (lol).

Okay. I will be starting a series on Tuesday, titled Sarafina. It is a story inspired by series of real events- I mean true life stories. 

And the long-vacated Silver will resume writing in her diary soon enough. (Hint: Silver is now a big girl. She has grown.)

Anyway good people, I welcome myself back.

 

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