It is now generally accepted that for the African woman to be accepted as pretty or beautiful, she needs to be wearing a foreign hair popularly called wigs. The wigs come in various colours, sizes, forms and dimensions. As I previously pointed out, the industry provides jobs for several women and is a multibillion-dollar industry in Africa and globally.
The target is simple. It is the African woman who has lost her pride and sense of dignity. The present generation of African women dominating the social media, film industry and other social platforms have lost it completely. They are rich, they are famous and they are celebrities. But they lack one thing: self-dignity.
Again, l will go back memory lane. I am 46 years old and I remember growing up in Lagos, South-West Nigeria. My mother never liked the idea of my sisters putting chemicals on their hair and she frowned at it. Her take was that my sisters must always braid their hair the African way. It was the same for many families. Our parents did all they could to persuade our sisters and even some of us guys from using chemicals on our hair. The barber shop it was for us.
But just a couple of years down the lane. The dignity of the African woman has been completely eroded. She takes no pride in the colour of her skin. She takes no pride in the texture of her hair. She takes no pride in her curly, tangled hair. The African woman wants straight hair. It is so bad that so many African girls and ladies would not appear in public without the foreign hair.
It is going to be one of those huge tasks that we have ahead of us in Africa to reverse and revert the trend. But it is a cause some of us must continue to remind ourselves of. The celebrities and stars on Nigerian and African screens have failed Nigeria and Africa. They are big stars and they are the biggest hope of a trend reverse.
A few of our stars are featured here. There are several more. But we just need all of them to take up the cause and help us reverse the trend. They may also need help themselves because they will not be able to do something about it if they don’t realise that they too have lost their sense of dignity and African-ness. But with several million followers on Instagram and twitter, the best way to bring back the pride of the African woman is through these social celebrities and actresses.
Some may argue that they use the wigs for acting and work, but that argument does not hold water. What is wrong with acting and working with the African hair? Why must we act, work, live and go around with foreign hair? Why are we not proud of who we are and what nature endowed us with?
We need Africans to promote Africa. We need ourselves to sustain and maintain our values, culture and way of life. We have lost our languages. We have lost our mode of dressings. We cannot afford to lose our heads and our brains with the hairs. Something urgent need to be done.
In our schools, from the primary to the university, awareness need to be created about the pride of the African woman. One day l wrote to @iamlizzyjay about her natural hair and l implored her to keep it African. But l see how hard it is to remain pure and natural in the industry because she wore wigs a few times and went back to natural a few times.
@calabarchic does not even know where to stay. She is also back and forth. She’s trying to keep her natural hair but the industry and the “norm” for what a woman in Nigeria should look like is creating a lot of confusion. It is like if you are not wearing wig or a foreign hair, you are local. That is how terrible the image and dignity of the African woman had been battered.
You have to feel sorry for the African woman especially from the entertainment industry point of view. They need help. We need help because their takes have destroyed our values and expectations of the women that nature gave us. We need a return to the basics.
We need role models of African origins to keep African culture and tradition.
I look forward to the day that African women will look 100% African again.
African women should be proud to wear their natural hairs. They are beautiful just the way they are.
Nollywood Is Failing Africa
By Adeola Aderounmu
A few weeks ago l watched some films on a Nollywood TV channel. My attention was drawn to the appearances of the women in the various films.
The appearances of Nigerian women in Nollywood films are nothing to write home about. It may have been so before l left home in 2002 but definitely not as rampant as it is now. Regardless, the rise of the use of artificial hairs, now rampant in both real life and in the Nigerian movie industry is highly condemnable.
The almost complete disappearance of the African hairstyles in Nollywood films is extremely disturbing. In the movies l’d seen 100% of the women are wearing imported wigs/hairs. No one wore their natural hair.
It seems that our women are not proud of their natural beauties. This scenario is shameful and tasteless. It is actually also disgusting!
The continent of Africa had been suffering from colonial mentality for more than 500 years. When are we going to revert to our originalities? If not now, then when?
We have been lied to that we are inferior. We have been lied to that we have lower intelligence levels. We have been told that our skin is black and bad. We have been looked down upon and we continue to fight around the world that we are equal to or above other races.
We can leave our political calamities for once as the basis of comparison with other places around the world, though that is also a very difficult thing to do. For our political lives in Africa and how politics have been used to separate and destroy us cannot be overlooked. We are first judged by the outcomes of our political decisions and the implications on our socio-economic situations.
However, it becomes also very disturbing and worrying that we don’t seize the opportunities on other platforms we have to show ourselves in good light. By ourselves, we reduce or destroy our dignities. The appearances of the Nigerian women on Nollywood, are an admittance that African women have lesser dignity than other women around the world. The only way to turn this sad situation around is to reverse the trend, let African women look 100% African.
Nollywwod has the opportunity to showcase the beauty of the African woman but all she is showing is copied version of Hollywood women and copied version of some international celebrities that do not depict the true glory and beauty of Africa.
It is not a good development for Nigeria and definitely not for Africa when we replace our cultures, our traditions, our appearances and our dignities with foreign objects. We’ve lost it.
Nollywood in particular need to do a search within and start a campaign to promote Africa to the tune of 100%. Someone is going to ask what the roles of the government is in Nollywood that would make them do this. O well, Africa belong to all of us and we need to look inward and promote our traditional hairstylists and save billions of dollars that we waste annually on importation of disgusting wigs and dead people’s hairs.
There is a lot Nollywood can do for itself if it starts to act as a promoter of culture and custodian of tradition rather than a neocolonial stooge in the heart of Africa. We should promote our hairstyles and help African women and hairstylists travel round the world to showcase our hairstyles.
The onus is not on the women only. It is on all of us and our perception of beauty. Our men should be involved in promoting the glory of Africa too. They also must appear and dress African in our movies.
Viewers and watchers of the African movie industry have a role to play in appreciating our men and women as they do their best to maintain the African culture and tradition. We cannot condemn them by comparing them to foreign Hollywood stars. We are Africans.
It is Africa that should be exporting her tradition and culture because they are pure and golden. In these tradition and culture lie some hidden wealth of Africa that should be tapped just the same way we are imploring government to tap into both the natural and human resources in order to build a better continent to the envy of the world.
A word is enough for the wise. Let us join hands in various ways to promote these ideas and ideals. Africans in the diaspora also have their own roles to play. Keep your hair natural, keep your looks simple. Don’t change who you are because you are abroad. Be recognisable!
Share this view, spread the concept. Let’s win back our continent and our originalities. Every little way counts!
The Yoruba Union in Stockholm, Sweden successfully hosted its third annual Yoruba Day celebration. The event took place on Saturday the 23rd of May 2015.
The Yoruba Day in Stockholm is a day set aside to celebrate Yoruba culture and heritage in Stockholm the capital of Sweden.
The president of the Union Adeola Aderounmu in his welcome address trace the history of the Yoruba Union in Stockholm to 2010 when a group of young people came together to form the association.
The Yoruba Union was registered in Sweden in the same year-2010.
Yoruba Union in Stockholm is a non-political and a non-profit making organisation. This uniqueness distinguishes the Union from other associations that have been formed for the purpose of making profits or for self-aggrandisement.
Mr. Aderounmu stated that the Yoruba Union provides a social platform for the Yoruba community in Stockholm and even in Sweden as a whole.
The union provides a genuine base where members feel a sense of belonging and togetherness that have continue to contribute to the growth and development of the union.
Under the platform of the Yoruba Union in Stockholm the Yoruba culture and tradition is being spread and made known in Sweden.
The Yoruba Union-Stockholm is now very popular in Sweden.
In April 2015 Adeola Aderounmu represented the Union in a national televised live program. The Swedish celebrity TV-presenter Doreen Månsson, who spent some part of her early life in Ibadan-Nigeria requested the presence of the Adeola during a program that was dedicated to Nigeria.
In recent years the Yoruba Union in Stockholm has also worked together with the Modern Museum in Stockholm during the display of ancient art work from Ile-Ife at the museum which spans a period of about 6 months between 2013 and 2014.
The Union continues to receive request to represent and show the Yoruba culture in various ways and forms. The Yoruba Union has given lectures /talks bordering on the Yoruba Ifa religion and ancient art work from Ile-Ife.
Five days after the celebration of the Yoruba Day in Stockholm, the Union represented West Africa at this years Africa Day celebration in Sweden. Yoruba dance and songs were presented to the rest of Africa.
Yoruba Union is growing from strength to strength.
Over the past 5 years the Yoruba Union in Stockholm has put YORUBA culture permanently on the cultural map of Sweden.
This year the city of Stockholm Council through the department of culture gave some financial support to the Yoruba Union. This sort of partnership will ensure more progress for the union in the forth coming years.
The Yoruba Union has a close working relationship with the Nigerian Embassy in Stockholm. The Union is also a prominent partner with the educational institution-SENSUS, based in Stockholm and Gotland.
Mr. Aderounmu emphasized the positive roles played by the executive and the entire members of the Yoruba Union in Stockholm towards the sustenance of the ideals of the union and the continuous progress that the union continues to make.
He acknowledge their positive energies, innovations, determination and collection of life experiences that have been brought into play to mastermind the success of the annual Yoruba Day and other activities of the union round the year.
In her address the Head of Mission, Nigerian Embassy Sweden Mrs. Jane Ndem said that the Nigeria embassy in this era of citizen diplomacy strongly supported all Diaspora organisations and ethnic unions as their roles both abroad and back home cannot be overstated.
She urged Nigerians to remain law abiding citizens and should feel free to contact the embassy whenever the need arises. Mrs. Ndem commended the efforts and enthusiasm of the Yoruba Union in ensuring that the Yoruba culture is projected effectively to African and the rest of the world through the formation of the cultural group.
The highlight of the 2015 Yoruba Day was the special lecture given by Dr. Adewale Olu Adeniran the Executive Director, Center for Black Cultural and International Understanding, Osogbo-Nigeria
The title of the lecture was: Will The Yoruba Language Survive Beyond The 21st Century?
Dr. Adeniran emphasized the importance of speaking Nigerian indigenous languages to children at home especially before the age of 11 when the ability to learn languages begins to deteriorate as the brain begins to change physiologically.
He also lamented the lack of implementation of policy on the preservation of Nigerian indigenous languages. He emphasised the importance of making use of Nigerian indigenous languages as the language of instructions in early age schools and up to the tertiary levels.
Dr. Olu Adeniran deplored the elevation of the colonial language (the English language) above the other Nigerian languages. Making students textbooks available in our indigenous languages will also be a way to revive and preserve Nigerian languages so that they do not go into extinction.
While encouraging Nigerians in Diaspora to ensure that they make it a point of duty to ensure that they preserve their languages by speaking them to their children, he pointed out how Nigerian literary giants first mastered their indigenous languages before they became global names in the literary world. He gave the example of professor Wole Soyinka who won the nobel prize in Literature in 1986.
The full text of Dr. Adeniran-more than 20 pages-will be made available on the Yoruba Union website (www.yorubaunion.se)
During the celebration of the 2015 Yoruba Day, there were songs and dances in accordance to the Yoruba tradition and culture. There was fashion parade during which some of the popular Yoruba traditional attires and modern designs were on display.
There was also a session demonstrating how Yoruba women make and wear their headgears popularly called gele.
Guests, friends and members of the union danced to popular Yoruba music. They were also treated to exclusively Yoruba dishes.
Dr. Adeniran and Dele Momodu (in absentia) both received the Yoruba Union Lifetime Membership Award. They were also recognised for their contributions to the development of the Yoruba culture and Nigeria in general.
The event was drawn to a close by a vote of thanks given by Debo Faseyi and Ibrahim Onifade.
They thanked all the special guests and sponsors of this year’s event. They even extended the greetings sent by Dele Momodu who had made plans to be at the event but had to return to Nigeria from London 2 days before the Yoruba Day.
Among other dignitaries at this year’s event were:
Mrs Chika Nwachukwu, Counsellor and Head of Consular, Nigerian Embassy, Stockholm
Mr. Ali-Gombe Haruna, Head of Chancery, Nigerian Embassy Stockholm
Hajia Rafat Usman, Federal Ministry of Education, Abuja
The president of the Yoruba Union in Gothenburg Mr. Majekodunmi
Mrs. Victoria Majekodunmi, Engineer Olatunde Aluko, Princess Adetoun Lasebikan, Mr. Salimonu Kadiri, Ify Onuoha, Gloria Viegurs and Mr. Tayo Adeyemi-the editor of African News, Sweden.
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Cooking can be a form of relaxation. It is surely art. A nation or a country can be built on well laid foundations that start from the family.
Why Men Should Cook
By Adeola Aderounmu
A nation or a country can be built on well laid foundations that start from the family. I have argued for parental leave for both mothers and fathers in Nigeria.
Unfortunately there has not been any progress in that area. The typical Nigerian life is driven by harsh economic realities and unpredictable socio-political circumstances.
In one of the most complicated situations in the world, the influence of culture and religion in Nigeria provide for a lot of arguments and discussions on the roles of men in different functional and complicated family situations.
All the men in my nuclear family are great cooks. How is that possible?
The credit goes to our mother who complemented our education effectively on the home front. In Western Nigerian secondary schools (during my time) boys are encouraged to choose Agricultural Science and the girls Home Economics.
As I recall now it seemed that the society also played a biased role in determining the roles of men and women. Therefore it appeared that unless the boys took great interest in cooking or their parents especially mothers taught them at home, they always ended up unable to cook.
Many are quick to emphasize that it is the role or even the “job” of women to cook. In traditional African settings that is largely true. The last statement can be expanded even as a topic for an academic dissertation based on the settings of the traditional African societies and the division of labor amongst the men, women and children.
It has always been imperative that women are able to cook, I may state.
My arguments in this essay are towards the men. I think that the men should be able to cook as much as the women. There are many examples of men who are better cook than their wives or the women in their lives.
These arguments are based on the realities of a changing world that cannot be locked up in the past.
Why should men cook? I will draw mostly from personal experiences.
Cooking as I have found out can be a form of relaxation. A wrong notion might be that a man needs a cold bottle of beer after a stressful day at work.
If your kitchen is tidy it is one of the best places to retire to after a hard day’s work. It is a place where you can either throw away your disappointments or show your happiness for the day.
Under any of these circumstances above there should be no hindrance to showing love and care to your children or to your visitors or friends depending on the company you keep after work.
Cooking is art. By systematically creating a piece of meal or a nice, tasty diet from essential raw materials, you might forget or relish about how the day has been and cherish the moment when your children, friends or family enjoy the products your serve to them.
A man should cook to ease the strain on the family.
The children should not suffer or eat junk food simply because their mother is working late one day a week. They should not bear the brunt of their mother visiting a friend during the week or attending a ceremony on Saturday.
If the man is at home, he should be able to stand up to the responsibility of keeping the family going and cooking should be the least of his worries.
There will always be situations when the man is alone with the children at home. That time should not be the time to put up the “I don’t care attitude”. It should not be the time to insult the mother of the children simply because she is held up with another activity.
Some men will never accept that they neglected the obligation of learning how to cook when they were growing up.
Men don’t cook in my family is an outdated expression. When I went to the university I always ate from mama-put is the outburst of a lazy mind. Wake up and look around you. Face the reality of your time and brace up for the era you live in!
Many students can cook despite the fact that they ate at Mama-put and other decent restaurant-which one is your own?
Cooking helps the women to appreciate and boast positively about their men. They feel a sense of gender equality without struggling to achieve it. In a functional family this can promote sexual attraction and help the family to stay psychologically healthy.
I do not mean that cooking prevent separation or divorce. It is just one of the ingredients that help as long as the relationship exists.
When both men and women take turns in the kitchen especially when the turns are not based on a schedule, it helps the children to understand that they are required to also take responsibilities for many things in their lives.
The act of pushing blames or looking for excuses start from the family and children learn too quickly from their immediate environment.
Cooking helps children to learn in diverse ways. Science, art, creativity and mathematics are all embodied into cooking.
In Nigeria I can recall that we learned how to cook using a lot of estimations in our judgments of what is required or needed.
Now when I cook sometimes with instructions and using units like “deciliter” or other measurements-I appreciate the level of my mother’s mathematics. It is almost unbelievable what our mothers did!
I know some men take to cooking as a hobby. This means that, by looking or by some sort of interest they just got going at cooking and found it easy and lovable.
I am sure this category of men have found cooking as a useful hobby at those times they are alone as bachelors or married men whose wives are away for certain reasons. They are able to step-up and take charge of the kitchen.
Turning this hobby into a responsibility will be useful on the long run.
From the foregoing, the ability to cook can also help men (and women) to live independently if they choose to be single.
In my family the time between the secondary school leaving year and the university admission year was reserved for intensive course in cooking with my mother. Invariably that was the time you take over the responsibility of cooking for the others in the family who are at home or getting back from work.
Long before that time, it was recommended to be an observer as mama dished out orisirisi from different pots on our stove that was powered by the kerosene.
Growing up in my family back in Nigeria, I know that both boys and girls have equal abilities in the kitchen. I mean a balance of culinary skills. What may vary is the creativity that we add as we went our separate ways.
The documentation of my days at Jaja and Mariere Halls of the University of Lagos cannot be complete without the flavor and aroma the boys in the halls added to the hostels every day.
Later on I met a friend (names withheld) who told me that he could hardly make a cup of tea. He was actually not joking that he cannot even fry an egg. He frequents my room at the College of Medicine in Idiaraba and I always try to show him how I cook. His case was hopeless. He is still my friend today.
When I have had visitors at our home in Stockholm, some people were unable to hide their shock as to the long time I spent in the kitchen. I cook and I tidy up after cooking. Then I tell them why men should cook and tidy up. I hope some women are not fighting their men based on my kitchen behavior.
I do not believe it is the role of women to always do the cooking or tidy up. My mother would chase me out of the kitchen if I start to cook when the kitchen is dirty. In some extreme cases that I remember, she will put out the fire from the stove and I have to take it from the beginning.
There is a time to add the salt and there is a time to slice the onions. No stones in the beans or you’ll eat all the beans yourself. The rice cannot stick together and the tomato sauce must be well fried. Oh Mamma!
Today I appreciate those teachings more than ever before. You will never see me in a dirty kitchen. I can get ill in a dirty kitchen and that is not an exaggeration. It is not a function of wealth but common sense and lessons about hygiene well taken from my mother.
In Nigeria, many families will probably be unable to synchronize their meal times but with proper planning breakfast and dinner at home should be a possibility. Depending on the weekend schedules, families should strive to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner together.
People should stop giving excuses on why they cannot cook or eat with their family.
Like many other issues affecting the upbringing of children, many men will continue to blame it on “lack of time”.
There will never be enough time for what a man wants to do in his lifetime. The same is true for women. People should be taught how to manage their time using the family (spouse and children) as the starting point.
Parents should help their children to acquire cooking skills at home. Bring the children into a safe and tidy kitchen and show them how to cook.
It will be a long walk for the Nigerian society but it is achievable across all the regions if sensible and capable people take over control of the politics and the economy across all the various regions.
Nothing is impossible when there is a sincere roadmap that is not left in the hands of idiots and complete nonentities who are driven by selfish interests and absolute greed.
In Nigeria, it is imperative that the different regions are allowed to re-emerge.
There is a lot in the identities of each ethnic group that are submerged and lost in the name of unitary government that shows lack of respect to individuals and folk-group.
People should be allowed to tap into their cultural and traditional family values. They should be taught how to plan their homes appropriately with respect to family size and responsibilities.
It is time to lift the positive values within the family through regional adaptive education and merge them with the demands of a global village.
Properly educated children will build strong families and dependable communities. They will form the backbones of viable regions across Nigeria. The future can be bright and better.
My late mother’s teachings at home and an adaptive, undiluted education in Western Nigeria fit perfectly into a functional life at home and across the world.
The biggest news in Nigeria this week apart from the unending massacre in Northern Nigeria is the ritual forest discovered in Ibadan.
Those who are not used to the “juju” of Africa will find this difficult to comprehend. But in Africa, well in Nigeria, I can write about the possibility of using “african jazz” in the most negative ways.
This means that some people can use extra ordinary powers to make other people go crazy. It may sound out of this world to those who do not grow up under this type of clime. But we know that some humans in Nigeria possess the witchcraft or evil power to influence the progress and stability of other people.
Some individuals have this ability to place a spell on other people. So what has happened in Ibadan is the exposure of this “generational” or “ancient” power. It is unfortunate that these powers are used to suppress and harm other people.
Often, captured people (preys) are decapacitated and parts of their bodies are used for rituals. In modern Nigeria it is the politicians that usually engaged in patronising these ritualists. Some people who want to be rich at all/any cost also engaged the services of the ritualists. Not least among those who patronise the ritualists are church/mosque owners who want many worshippers in their servvices.
In all, money is the root of all evils.
Africa and Nigeria in particular would have been a glorious paradise if all these negativities are harnessed and used for things that are progressive in nature.
Rather than make rituals in this way, the “powers” of these people can be transformed into scientific and technological know-hows. It is possible through careful investigations and planning.
It is very unfortunate that Nigerians (now the yorubas) are using “juju” to enslave their own people, depriving them of their freedom and suppressing them mentally. In extreme cases many people have been killed in this evil Ibadan forest.
We saw this before in the Okija shrine in the East. We have heard of Clifford Orji and many other stories. It is sad that in the end because of the statuses of the people involved in the patronage, many investigations are swept under the carpets. Another shrine or ritual center soon rear its ugly heads.
One hopes that those who are rescued from the Ibadan shrine will be compensated, treated and re-established into the society. They have the rights to live their lives again. Those behind the Ibadan evil forest should be brought to books under the law.
The state government in Ibadan, in other yoruba and non-yoruba states where people have these “powers” should look for methods and ways to harness the powers in a positive way instead of patronising them for evil things. In our traditions and cultures there are so many things that we can bring to the fore/front that when properly utilised can advance the course of humanity.
What we should stop doing is harming our brothers, sisters, fathers and mothers. All humans are equal and have the right to freedom and pursuit of happiness.