My friend, Grace (not real name); Her mother died a few years ago.
Grace is from Nsukka, Northern Igbo land in Nigeria. Before her mother died, she acted as though she was mentally ill. Rumor had it that her mother slept with other men aside from her husband and just before dying, she was made to confess her infidelity. It’s a rumor because I cannot ask my friend if it is true.
According to the traditions of parts of Nsukka people, a woman is bound by the law of the land to stay faithful to her husband else she will be struck by the gods.
Historically because polygamy was the order of the day pre Christianity era, women were bound to stay faithful to a husband that had numerous wives and concubines on the excuse that he needed a large family for his farm.
This is not a morality class so forgive me or not, it doesn’t matter anyway, if you think I am in support of “infidelity” or “promiscuity”.
Today, I mean in the 21st century, polygamy is practiced by a fraction, yet this law which binds women is still in place without an extension to the men. I’d rather the law be abolished and trashed because why does anyone want to police what people do with their genitals?
Anyways, man and woman take an oath of forsaking all others. The man goes on to “unforsake” others and nothing happens to him. In fact, he is considered a real man. While the woman is still bound by that law that was made in the era of polygamy.
She “unforsakes” others and she is struck with mental illness and eventually dies. Why is this tradition still in place? To keep women in check.
Are women your properties?
To make sure she is not having extramarital affairs: how is that a problem?
Heck, there is a caveat of the law that forbids the man to eat his wife’s food if he knows she is having an extramarital affair else he dies.
Two adults decide to be together and some outdated tradition that shouldn’t have been made in the first place is checkmating the woman. It’s giving misogyny.
These are the issues.
Marriage as an institution was designed to hold down women. Oppress women. Kill women.
Laws are made for people and not people for the law. It is time such traditions are discarded.
What is good for the goose, should also be good for the gander. If two people decide to go into marriage, women should not be bound by traditions while the men are free.
Women are deciding not to get married anymore and society is screaming blue murder.
The de facto maids are resisting and no longer want to offer free labour.
Women no longer want to be controlled even to their sexuality and patriarchy is shivering.
Women are asserting freedom from the chains. From oppression. From being treated as second class citizens. Women are questioning the status quo and some women from Nsukka have said no to marriage from Nsukka men as long as the tradition exists.
It’s an upheaval.
Women are wiser and until total emancipation occurs, the movement is on to keep teaching until the unlearned learns.
Until women who are gatekeepers of patriarchy realize their folly.
Until men realize that women are not properties to be owned and subdued.
Until then, our pen will keep dancing.
*Drops pen for now. Will pick it up in a minute again*
Written by Ezinne.