A good number of people must have read Buchi Emecheta’s Joys of Motherhood. The story is basically about a woman’s quest to find fulfillment through childbearing and the process of motherhood. But unfortunately, the reverse is the case in Nnu Ego’s situation. The story is a reflection of the psychological mindset of Africans concerning issues of family, child bearing, and motherhood. Our focus today is the irony of being barren with one man and becoming a mother with another, paying close attention to the difference between Lagos’ lifestyle and the Ibuza’s lifestyle.
Looking at the major character Nnu Ego, her failure in the marriage to Amatokwu- as she is considered a failure for not having children- leads to her second marriage to Nnaife Owulum in Lagos. On arrival, Nnu Ego was disappointed with Nnaife’s look and particularly his one room apartment which he keeps as one of the rewards for working for the Meers.
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Compared to her father’s big compound in Ibuza, Nnu Ego had to manage the one room apartment with Nnaife. She despises his job and questions his authority as the man of the house. Looking at Nnu Ego’s story, it is very very easy to condemn her for despising Nnaife, but considering her struggles, we would discover that indeed Nnu Ego is a strong woman. She had to walk through all the sufferings with Nnaife in one room apartment. Worse still, Nnaife Owulum married a second wife in their cluttered one-room apartment.
Living in Lagos can be very demanding. Issues concerning landlord and accommodation is real wahala. Accommodation breaks family bonds. If a girl gets to know, that you live in a room apartment, or you with your parents – she would run. No queen wants to suffer like Nnu Ego. At the end of the story, Nnu Ego suffered, and she was not even compensated by her children. The family moved from one room apartment to another and finally to a mud house in Lagos. Nnu Ego ended up going back to Ibuza empty handed.
We cannot erase the fact that a lot of people, who relocate to Lagos, start their lives in one room apartments and with time move to flats, duplexes some even buy properties in Lagos. Living in one room apartment or one bedroom flat with a focus for the future is not a bad idea. However, it becomes bizarre, when becomes a lifestyle without a vision for change.
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Ladies, should not despise men who live in one room apartments. Of course, women are queens, and they should not suffer, but kingship does not always start in the Palace, it starts with the heart.
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