#87. Floetry by JulietKego: The 7 Sins of Mama Nkechi
Eh, the elder have spoken with one voice:
For these 7 sins must she be ex-communicated
Banished from our lands, cast aside from our shores
Mama Nkechi must go, yes, this evil woman must die!
Number 1 (Otu):
Long before there was Monday to Sunday
There were Orie, Nkwo, Afo, Eke
Of the four days in our calender
She chose to be born on Eke day
This wicked, unruly, ungrateful child
That was the day her mother was to sell
The last of her farm produce,
But her labour pains came so suddenly and early
And all her barns of yams went bad
A child bringing forth poverty!
Number 2 (Abuo):
She came first and took all the life
in her mother’s birth canal
She snuffed the air off her twin-brother’s lungs
They brought out his limp form,
This long-awaited golden son
It is whispered secretly that her mother cursed her on that day
And refused to cut her folds a few months after
Why did the girl-child not come behind her son
Why did she not die that he may live?
A child bring forth death!
Number 3 (:
Before she arrived into the world
There were six siblings like her with folds between their thighs
Making her mother a laughing-stock before the clan
Of course, her mother was cast aside
As her father, Obi, took on a new, supple wife, Njide
With hips wide-enough to bear male heirs
Number 4 (Ano):
She grew up and did not fetch a good dowry
How could she? She was not cut
like the other nubile maidens
Who were presented in the King’s Court
A woman with uncut folds? A taboo! Onye ga nu?
She went away with the Fada from the church
to learn big, big grammar
Learning the strange tongues and ways of the pale strangers
Who came on a drum of the spirits, floating on deep waters
And till this day we do not know how she hoodwinked as a beau
Obianozie, the chief’s first son in far, far away Obodo Oyibo
Number 5 (Ise):
She must have used some juju on this fine young man
who would later become our beloved and wise king
Imagine, she bore him only three daughters
And tricked him to announce to the clan
and he changed the enshrined traditions of our land
How can a man not beat his wife? How do we control our women
Why should a mere girl be educated in school?
How can a King not take a second wife to bear him a son?
Who inherits his crown? His daughter, Nkechi? Alu, ma nu!
Number 6 (Isi):
When her husband died
She refused to swear an oath
She did not swear an oat submission, to be inherited by his cousins
Did she think herself too beautiful to be rotated
And cared for by these strong warrior-men?
She even laughed when ndi Umuada came calling
To tell her to sleep with his corpse
She poured away the sacred water used
to bathe our dead brother’s body
Instead of drinking it to prove her innocence
And ten years after his forever dance of the spirits
She dared to re-marry again and at that
to a strapping, handsome young man her age mate
In the next village; a doctor!
While our maidens and daughters still await suitors
who’s left to provide us with hefty bride-prices!
How she dishonoured our beloved King
With her mockery of our ways!
What sort of evil wife is this?
Now, his spirit will never rest in peace,
In the land of our ancestors
We no longer have peace in our villages
For there are now too many like her here
Eh! She raised an army of crazed women
And filled their heads with her nonsense
-The abominable thought that a woman
Deserved to have a voice!
To say what exactly? To who exactly?
And now her first daughter, Nkechi
Is walking in her footsteps
And she has continued the madness
Imagine fighting us, her uncles and father’s brother and cousins
for her father’s lands and possessions
Did she not know that his lineage is lost and gone?
Are we to suddenly bow down to a female King? Eh! Ewoo!
And now she has put our stories everywhere
She’s celebrated far and wide
The whole world looks at us as the guilty ones
Now it is too late to fulfill our plans
They all laud mama Nkechi, with her 7 sins!
She, who has desecrated our lands
And turned us into a laughing-stock
Who will save us from Mama Nkechi?
And who will save us from Nkechi?
Who will save us from the daughters of Nkechi
(c) Juliet ‘Kego Ume-Onyido