LOUD WHISPERS: Five Things That Made Me Happy Last Week

There is always so much bad news locally and internationally, one cannot help but be jaded by it all. Everyday there is someone who has been murdered, raped, kidnapped. Money has been looted (with looters conveniently not found or walking free), accidents happen on death traps which pass for roads, people waste away due to lack of adequate healthcare and teachers spell ‘false’ as ‘fulse’. World War Three draws closer tweet by tweet, our slaughtered daughters are buried far away from home and mad men with guns still go on rampage. Last week was no different, with its own share of bad news, but I am going to focus on the things that happened that made me smile, laugh and cheer.

  1. The ‘coup’ in Zimbabwe

It was a coup that was ‘not a coup’. Who wants to argue with the big man with guns? If he says it is not a coup who are we to say otherwise? General Constantino Chiwenga and his colleagues rolled tanks into the streets of Harare and declared that 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe a.k.a ‘Uncle Bob’ was safe and so were the rest of his family. This seems to be the friendliest coup ever. No one has died. Yet. No one has been dragged through the streets, deprived of vital body parts and then shot. Yet. The very patient Zimbabwe Generals are still negotiating a graceful exit for the stubborn patriarch who has overstayed his welcome. In the spirit of the camaraderie they all share as freedom fighters who liberated Zimbabwe from colonial rule and went on to direct the affairs of the nation for the past 37 years, Gen Chiwenga, and ‘hopefully former’ President Mugabe are working out terms. One would have thought that a 93-year-old elder would have the wisdom to know that not all trees in a forest can be uprooted. Mugabe went after one tree too many when he sacked his Vice President Emerson Mnangagwa.

I am not the superstitious kind, but is it possible that the late Sally Mugabe’s spirit took revenge on Robert Mugabe for receiving extra-secretarial services from his then employee Grace Marufu? As Sally Mugabe lay dying from a terminal illness, her successor was already in place. Grace had all the money, fame and glory, but never the love and respect of the people that Sally enjoyed. Now, poor Grace Mugabe, a.k.a ‘Gucci Grace’ is taking the blame for being the apple of her husband’s eye, and urging him to make plans for her to succeed him as President.  There were so many hurdles to be crossed to make the plan work, but they were addressed systematically. For example, a modestly educated ex-Secretary can get a PhD in three months if she is well connected. However, uprooting a Vice-President who has close links with the military was clearing one obstacle too many. Perhaps the senior clergy in Southern Africa can share Ecclesiastes 3 from the Holy Bible with ‘Uncle Bob’, ‘There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens’. There is a time to come. And a time to leave.

  1. The #Metoo campaign continues.

In Hollywood the chickens have come home to roost and there seem to be more chickens than the coops can handle. After the very hard fall of Harvey Weinstein followed closely by Kevin Spacey (sadly, he has taken ‘House of Cards’ down with him) other predators are quaking in their boots. Even former President George Bush Snr has been called out. One of the most powerful women in the movie industry right now is ‘Superwoman’ Gal Gadot. She has declared that she will not star in the sequel to the hugely successful Superwoman movie if the powerful producer Brett Ratner is not removed. Who ever thought a day would come when a ‘mere actress’ in Hollywood would call shots like that? In Nigeria, there have been questions raised about when the #MeToo campaign will be domesticated. Sadly, that is not likely to happen. The whole conversation will be turned on its head. I can just see the pre-emptive, ‘proactive’ headlines, ‘PA Sexually harasses Senator’ or ‘Governor bombarded with texts from female admirers’ or ‘Bank Manager cornered by naked customer’.

  1. Serena Williams marries Alexis Ohanian

The real-life ‘Superwoman’ Serena Williams has given a whole new meaning to having it all. On November 16th she got married to Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit in a fairy-tale ceremony. If Serena was a Nigerian, her friends would be begging her for the name of her Pastor, Imam or Babalawo. With one swing of her racquet she landed a young (tick) rich (tick), handsome, (tick) well-educated (tick) romantic (tick) husband. Considering how sporty Serena is (she won a title when she was eight weeks pregnant) it is unlikely that she would have settled for a man who does not know his way around ‘the other room’. Tick. Alexis is ‘brand new’, he has not been married before, so no alimony payments, and he has no ‘baby mamas’. Tick. As for regular women all around the world, they have to keep juggling the mathematics of two out of five, three out of five, and so on. Many young, single handsome dudes are broke or jobless. When rich women take it upon themselves to provide the shirts, shoes and cars, the men become lazy, dogs and abusers, usually in that order. This Serena woman is a serious prayer point, ‘May the blessings of Serena be your portion’. Amen. Alexis, you are a very lucky man. A beautiful, rich, smart, talented, world famous wife who already has a girl with you? No wonder you can’t stop smiling. Congratulations, both of you nailed it. Gbam!

  1. Elections took place in Anambra State, Nigeria

On Saturday November 18th, gubernatorial elections took place in Anambra State. In the week running up to the election, all the major political rallies took place with minimal disruptions. The people of the State went out and voted enmasse.  There was no fire and brimstone, and there were no treasonable radio broadcasts to keep voters from carrying out their civic responsibilities. Thank goodness peace and common sense took over. As I have said before, only a crazy or foolish person keeps a python as a pet.

  1. The Ake Arts and Book Festival, Abeokuta

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Three hearty cheers to my good friend, the remarkable Lola Shoneyin, convener of the annual Ake Arts and Book Festival in Abeokuta. This year’s Ake Book festival ran from November 16th-18th, and the theme was ‘The ‘F’ (Feminist) word. It was a wonderful program with book readings, art exhibitions, panel discussions, story-telling performances, poetry, crafts market and book sales. I spent time with my old friend and big Auntie, Ama Ata Aidoo, and the two of us recorded an inter-generational conversation with a young writer, Ayobami Adebayo. I was on a panel on ‘Women and Politics’ with Ayisha Osori and  Molara Wood, as well as a session on ‘Feminism across borders’ with Pumla Quola, Jessica Horn and Esther Armah. I was also part of a conversation on women and elections organized by Red Media. It was nice to see old friends again and make new ones. I was also pleased that my book ‘Loud Whispers’ was a big hit. There should be a book festival in every state of Nigeria or at least in every region.

There was a lot of bad news last week. I read it, saw it and heard it. There was good news too. Don’t we deserve something to smile about every now and then? Have a great week.

 

Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi is a Gender Specialist, Social Entrepreneur and Writer. She is the Founder of Abovewhispers.com, an online community for women. She can be reached at BAF@abovewhispers.com

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18 Responses to LOUD WHISPERS: Five Things That Made Me Happy Last Week

  1. Femi Diipo November 20, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    I completely agree that we do deserve these kinda smiles once in a while. Thank God for a great week, may this new week be better. Cheers

    Reply
  2. Dom Dom November 20, 2017 at 2:18 pm

    I’ve been hearing and following aké festival for a while now, sadly I’ve never gone for any. I must make it a task to be there next year, maybe I’ll finally get to see you then. Have a great week too ma’am

    Reply
  3. Olakunle Olajide November 20, 2017 at 3:10 pm

    Thank you for the realization ma’am, there are still reasons to smile even in the events of unpleasant news. Thank you for the wishes ma, do have a great week as well.

    Reply
  4. Fabia Mekan November 20, 2017 at 11:55 pm

    Thank you for setting the scene with your post Ma’am. Among the bad and the ugly which dominates the news it’s great to jump on the bandwagon of reflecting on the the positive. I had a pretty good week too. I learnt that physical and spiritual healing go hand in hand and while I was physically recovering from exhaustion I found my spiritual healing in my very proud spontaneous and impulsive pilgrimage to the Ake festival. Unfortunately I could only spend a day but it was the most amazing and intensely happy experience for me. Meeting you ma, and the legend that is Ama Aidoo was the cream of the cake. I got an autographed copy of your book and wished that I had more time to engage with you, but I am confident that that time will come soon. Two other happy news the wedding of Adesua Etomi and Bank W (I don’t know them and I wasn’t there) but it trended non stop in the last 48 hours. I am a sucker for new love and the hope and promise that it portends especially when it seems like the couple is equally and suitably yoked…the premier of Ego Boyo’s A hotel Called Memory #ahcmthemovie was also another high on many levels: first I champion the cause of women in film and the platform for alternative voice and genre’s and second it presented a much needed night on the town with my man. My theme for November has been ‘free yourself’… so far so good.

    Reply
  5. Ololade Mathews November 21, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    I watched the live video on Facebook and I must say, You are brilliant and graceful ma’am. God bless you and concerning the news that got me excited, Serena Yeah and then My niece who got missing after school was found by a good samaritan and she took her to the police station. I am so excited!

    Reply
  6. Gloria Olaniyi November 21, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    That Kevin Spacey news hit me o. I love that man a lot but then a lot goes behind the scene and I am happy that justice is taking its full course. I am excited about your outings too and I am glad Loud Whispers is making a hit. Bestseller on the way. I also got a copy and when I am done reading I will share my lessons.

    Reply
  7. Wilson November 21, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    Is there a way you can have school engagements? Like having to partner with university students and teach them etiquettes and life lessons via Loud Whispers? Maybe Loud Whispers can also be sold there but at a subsidized amount. It’s a suggestion thought because You are a real role model.

    Reply
  8. Bisi Fayemi November 21, 2017 at 8:16 pm

    Thank you for your kind comments dear friends. @Wilson, yes your suggestions are part of the plan. There will be readings in schools around the country.

    Many thanks

    Bisi

    Reply
  9. Molara Johnson November 22, 2017 at 11:52 am

    The Serena Williams thing got me happy and I sent the pics as a prayer to my very marriageable aged Female Friends. It inspired me to tell them that theirs is coming soon and its going to be superb. Concerning the #metoo campaign I am glad Gal did that and I wish the wall in Africa will be broken. The sexual oppression wall will be damaged in Africa.

    Mama, You inspire a lot of us via this site. I mean, I have come to know you more than anything on this site and I must say, this platform is transforming lives.

    Reply
  10. omilola Adeleke. November 22, 2017 at 11:57 am

    Thanks for giving us Loud Whispers. I got the book for my daughter and she read all in the space of three days and now, she visits the site frequently. in her words ”They have brilliant stuff here”. This got me excited and I am sharing this to make you know that this platform is worth keeping for a lonnnng time.

    Reply
  11. Victor Udoh November 22, 2017 at 11:59 am

    I am a regular and I will still have the hard copy of the book. It’s fun to know that it was a hit at Ake Festival. I watched it online via instagram and i was just having goose bumps all over me. The mugabe coup, I don’t even understand them in Zimbabwe anymore, some are saying he planned it because of Gucci Grace and some are saying he resigned. Whatever the case may be, God will Deliver Africa!

    Have a wonderful week ma

    Reply
  12. DSEED November 22, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    All good news. Touched and lifted from it. I choose to be happy.

    Reply
  13. omilola Adeleke. November 23, 2017 at 11:13 am

    Wow. We need to ignore the sad news and focus on the good news, it makes us appreciate life and the essence of living. I must say, Serena got me happy and the fact that she rocked her wedding dress with sneakers…Oh damn! What’s more original than that? I am also glad that the book is making great progress, Bestseller on the way!

    Reply
  14. Iniobong Akpan November 23, 2017 at 11:17 am

    This is a great site. I was at the festival in Abeokuta and I must say, You are really graceful ma’am. I got a copy of the book and I have started reading it. I was too star struck to get you to sign it for me but I am really enjoying the read.

    Reply
  15. Aderanti Esther November 23, 2017 at 11:22 am

    I missed seeing you physically but thank you for going live…I watched and listened to everything you discussed and I love your humility. When I saw the session with the other African Feminists and how you flowed through the conversation, I was just too glad and I kept telling people to follow this site. You are brilliant and Very Dynamic.

    And the news that got me happy, Yeah, Anambra state even though I knew willie would retain the seat and then the W’s. Jeez! Watching Banky and Adesua gave me goosebumps and of course Serena Williams. The Serena Williams story gave me Hope! I know mine is next.

    Thank you mama, God bless you and have a great week.

    Reply
  16. Samuel November 23, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    Yes ooo, Mama is so eloquent and i can say she has so many talents and she is using them effectively. Asides the talk and the book reading, who saw Mama acting to the poetry on stage?
    And seeing the ever dynamic and ageless Mama Joke Silva at LABAF, i think my mind is speaking to me. Sincerely ma’am, you are an inspiration to many and thank you for the vital knowledge you keep passing down to the younger generations. God bless you immensely.

    Reply
  17. Perpetua Dandeson November 23, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    We sure do deserve something to smile about every now and then. It’s important to focus or magnifying lens on the positives and not the negatives. We’re not denying the existence of the negatives. No. But we choose to magnify the positives, because it takes a toll on every aspect of our lives. Beautiful piece, ma’am.

    Reply
  18. Eric Onuoha November 23, 2017 at 9:19 pm

    Congratulations on the successful book festival. No matter the bad things that happen there is still something to be happy about. You sure had a blessed week Ma.

    Reply

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