WHERE IS THE TRULY AFRICAN WOMAN ?
BY OLAWALE OBADEYI:
There is something beautiful, unique and compelling about women who proudly strut their Africanness, at all times. For the sake of clarity, these women are set apart by not only their deep-seated convictions about who they are, they are also very comfortable in their own skin. What has also been clear to me about all truly African women is that they shun all forms of unnaturalness and artificiality. For good measure, I will always be drawn to women who have elected to wear their hair in its natural state rather than choose to spend long hours under those skull-burning driers at the salon. But, why do women take their very tender heads through such punishment and mortal disservice when being just natural is so painless and glorious? When a lot of African-American women are spotting the truly African look, by weaving their hair in the various styles available, it is saddening that most of the women in Nigeria and the rest of Africa will rather engage in all kinds of experiments with their hair. All in the name of looking exotic? Oh…spare me!
I keep asking myself what those women who use false eyelashes want. If God finished His work by creating women’s eyelashes the way He has, what sense or additional benefit can there be in extending them? Indeed, I have told a lot of women I know, who go down that abominable way, that they only look like the Egyptian gorgon at best and Owls at worst. And my concerns are legion still.
Apart from adding a couple or more inches to the height of the women who wear them, high-heeled shoes, for me , are tools of mortal damage. To be certain, I have seen women stumble and sprain their ankles with those satanic shoes on. Imagine walking with those shoes on slippery surfaces like those we have on the tiled floors of most offices. From the palpably difficult way in which most women, who wear these shoes strain to walk, I think the employers of the women can save more man hours and achieve greater operational efficiency by pronouncing wearing of those shoes outlawed.
Another tendency which has, consistently, bothered me about certain women is their use of false finger nails. But, in good conscience, what does anybody expect from anything that is false? I often wonder how women, who wear these nails, can eat, particularly, what we know as ‘swallows’. Again, how can a woman wearing false fingernails wash her hands thoroughly after using the Ladies? I really cannot stop wondering.
I don’t really care what euphemism some women use to defend lightening their skin, but, as far as I am concerned, nothing can explain away tinkering with one’s natural complexion. Yet, it is a puzzle that a girl or woman you once knew to be dark in complexion soon transforms into a ‘Caucasian’ after having toned or bleached her skin. But, I think this, largely, speaks to a woman’s self-esteem or lack of it. Or what is that song by the legendary American soul singer, James Brown all about when he wailed: ‘’Say it loud! I am black and proud !’’?
The truly Nigerian and by extension African women, in my view, will be able to stand their ground anywhere in the world, in their traditional wrappers and head gears and all other indices of their Nigerianness or Africanness, when they have equipped themselves with enough robust knowledge to make people judge them not by anything else, according to Martin Luther King, but only by the ‘content of their character’. So, dear Nigerian women, as you go around the world acquiring knowledge and pushing frontiers, be sure not to leave your origin and identity behind. That is why I respect the South Africans, for interspersing their dialogues with their native dialects, in most of their TV mini-series and soap operas. This will contrast sharply to how some Nigerians will turn their noses up in the air when you meet them abroad and speak your native tongue to them. It is even worse when you hear some female Nigerian On-Air Personalities, who come across as ‘neither-nors’ by sounding so disgustingly nasal and unnatural. But, as far as I know, anyone who disowns his or her identity on account of some distortion of the mind will only, ultimately, be a butt of ridicule.
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