LOUD WHISPERS: A Conversation With Mummy

BAF: You look well mummy. Lovely as always

Mummy: Thank you my dear. It is good to see you again. It has been a while.

BAF: I am sorry it has taken me this long to visit. I have been busy.

Mummy: It is alright. You always keep in touch so that makes up for it. Thank you for checking on Mama Agba (Grandma) recently. She was so happy to see you.

BAF: It was great to see her too. She is strong and alert for a 96 year old. I was scared for a while, I thought she was going to pass away. Can you believe what she told me? She said if she dies she wants a funeral that is grander than that of Mama Banwo her co-wife! So they want to carry their rivalry to the grave? What is it with old people from your area and funerals? Mama Agba never asked me for anything over the years till she wanted to do the final funeral rites for her mother who died forty-five years ago! She has not asked for anything till now, only to make a request for a grand funeral for herself!

Mummy: (Laughing) They believe that how you are buried is an expression of how you live. If you live a good life, no matter how long or short, you should be buried well. Old people are envious when they attend or hear of the funerals of their peers. For them it is a form of competition. That is why the funerals in those days used to be done in phases. The first phase was the internment. The second and third phases would be done within seven years. However, with modernity, the last phase was either postponed indefinitely or skipped altogether. If Mama Agba had not finished the three phases for her mother, it would have made things difficult for us when her time comes.

BAF: Mummy, funerals are for the living, we are the ones who pay the bills. The dead only show up in a coffin and it does not matter if the coffin costs N5,000 or N5 million. Enough about funerals. I hope Mama Agba hangs around a bit more.

Mummy: You know you are very much like Mama Gbegi, my grandmother, and your great-grandmother. She is what you people would have called a feminist these days.

BAF: I have heard that she was a formidable woman.

Mummy: Yes, she was. She did not tolerate any nonsense and she was always standing up for people, especially women. Her daughter, your Mama Agba, was supposed to marry someone else. Mama Gbegi did not consent to the marriage because the family she was about to marry into had a custom that required the young maidens in the family to dance topless round the town during their annual festival. My grandmother felt the practice was backward.

BAF: That is very interesting, I never knew that. I am sure it was unusual for women at the time to speak out against negative cultural practices. No wonder people were in awe of her. People make it sound as if feminists are importing foreign values. Perhaps we should spend more time talking to the old women in our communities about acts of resistance. Was that her decision to make though? What did her husband have to say?

Mummy: I don’t remember much about Mama Gbegi’s husband. I do know he was a wise man and probably thought it best to leave his wife alone. There were many ways in which women back then showed their displeasure if they were treated badly. My mother, Mama Agba, used to quarrel regularly with my father, especially when he started marrying other wives. He used to beat all his wives, but he did not beat my mother. One day, Mama Agba decided to stand up to him. My father tried to beat her but she grabbed a stick of her own and ran out to the front of the house, yelling his name and daring him to come out and face her. My father was too embarrassed to go out and beat his wife in public. From that day on he never beat her again.

BAF: People are alarmed at the rate of divorce amongst young people these days. It is indeed an issue of concern but people are very quick to pass judgement on others when things go wrong. We need to be careful because each person’s story is different. Everyone is a relationship expert these days.

Mummy: There have always been cases of separation and divorce, it is nothing new. In our time, women had fewer choices. If you have a good education or you have a means of livelihood, you can stand up for yourself. A lot of women who were treated badly did not leave because they had children and could not leave them in the hands of a strange woman. So they stayed and put up with a lot. I know women who ended up in mental institutions or lived miserable lives because they were unhappy. Don’t you remember Papa Tumi who lived across from us in Fadeyi? He used to bring girlfriends home and Mama Tumi would cook for them. She used to confide in me and I told her to get her priorities straight. I advised her to get a means of livelihood and be able to fend for herself. A man will not disrespect a woman who can add value to his life.

BAF: That is what you and daddy always told me. But we also know that a lot of women are penalized for being independent. People say they can’t be controlled and are not submissive and that is why marriages are failing today.

Mummy: There is a difference between being strategic and being foolish. Any woman who submits herself to a life of slavery and abuse is a fool. A smart woman makes sure that she has choices and uses them wisely. The problem is that a lot of young women today want to get married at all costs without understanding what marriage is all about. Many of them just want a big wedding. Young men too want their egos massaged when they can’t even feed themselves not to talk about feeding someone else. One of the secrets of the relationship I had with your father was that he treated me as an equal partner. He was way ahead of his time. His friends who treated their wives the traditional way all had problems and would run to him for advice. There was a time your father said I should not work because he did not want men harassing me, you know I was very pretty……..

BAF: You still are!

Mummy: After a while, because I nagged and begged, he gave in. He quickly realized the difference in his life. I was able to contribute towards the running of the family, I was happy and he was pleased that I was happy. Don’t mind men, when we were in England he did not mind me working then because we had no choice, he was studying and we both had to work.

BAF: I will try and find time to go and see Mama Agba. I want to hear more about her life. I hardly know anything about what life was like for her when she was younger. I am sure she has a lot of stories to tell. Even you, every time we spend time together, I learn something new.

Mummy: You can’t expect old people to open their mouths wide and tell you everything just like that. One of the reasons why young people have problems today is their lack of privacy. Everything is on Facebook. You have breakfast – Facebook. You go on holiday – Facebook. You have new shoes – Insta …. what do you call it?

BAF: Instagram

Mummy: Yes, Instagram. And Twitter. Why are people so crazy?  Why would you want to show off your money for all the world to see or allow people to see your wardrobe?  Awon Ojuorolari (those who have never seen wealth before). You have dinner with your husband or wife, everyone should know.  Iranu! (nonsense). There is a Yoruba proverb, when you have an early harvest of yam, you eat it in private.  You don’t know who is unhappy with your progress. These days it seems as if the more information you share, the more famous you become. When you fail or make a mistake the same people who were applauding you are the first to make fun of you. They were never happy with your success in the first place. If you are on Facebook every day, you should not be surprised with the results. Do you think we did not have scandals in our time? Of course we did, but fortunately there was no Facebook!

BAF: Mummy, it is not that bad. Social media also has its uses, but yes, there are excesses. I am happy you are on Whatsapp, at least that is useful for staying in touch with me wherever I am.

Mummy: Yes, it has its uses but the excesses are getting too much. Don’t they have better things to do. Even the Whatsapp is getting to be a problem. People post all kinds of nonsense. All over the world, people are making progress, new things are coming up. Here it is all prayer and miracles, when you try to do new things, there are always obstacles. You people in government need to work harder, there is so much suffering in the land. That is one of the reasons why people go on social media to ease their tension.

BAF: The government is trying its best. It is not easy though, we need to be patient.

Mummy: They are trying but they should do more. It is hard for a hungry person to be patient. When someone is hungry, they will turn to whoever can feed them. You had better hurry up and do not give room to those other people to come back. I watched their rally on TV and they were using your mistakes to campaign against you. You need to find a solution to Boko Haram, you need to listen to the Igbo people before they start another war. Look around, there are too many young people unemployed. If you don’t find something for them to do, that is who they will use to continue to cause problems for the country. Look at America. That is how they allowed Donald Trump to get in. Can you imagine, America of all places.

BAF: Mummy mummy! Always current! Don’t worry, things will get better soon. We all need to change though, it is not only the government that has issues, we all have a role to play.

Mummy: Yes, we all do. That reminds me, here are the CVs of people who you need to help.

BAF. I have told you to stop collecting CVs from people Mummy. Why are you always doing this?

Mummy: If I refuse to take them they will accuse me of blocking their blessings. Let me at least be able to tell them I have passed on their message. I know it is not easy but please try.  I will continue to pray for all of you. May you succeed in all your endeavors and may your own children look after you in your old age.

BAF: Amen mummy. Okay, I will take them. I promise to visit again soon. I love you.

Mummy: I love you too my daughter. God bless you.


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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22 Responses to LOUD WHISPERS: A Conversation With Mummy

  1. Femi Diipo August 21, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    Wonderful interaction between a mother and her daughter, touching both societal and family affairs. It’s just amazing the huge lessons one can learn from mothers like this. Ma, so you still have a mother and grandmother?? Awesome

  2. Dom Dom August 21, 2017 at 5:20 pm

    So many issues brilliantly discussed within this short conversation. Wish I can get to meet both the mother and the daughter someday. There’s just so much to learn.

  3. DSEED August 21, 2017 at 9:44 pm

    I love this conversation. Mothers like these must bring forth successful children. Grandma’s can also be funny at times. Hmmm… Social media has its pro and con but I think it has cause more harm than good in some situations. Like serious mummy have said it all the problems the world faces through social media expectially when we are unable to have our privacy.

  4. Modupeoluwa August 21, 2017 at 9:51 pm

    Having a mother like your mum is such a blessing and I can also see you becoming more of your mother. Hot gist between mother and daughter

  5. Ebonychyqui2 August 21, 2017 at 10:25 pm

    Hmmmmm I love this conversation with momma, it’s quiet educative and realistic.

  6. Akpes August 21, 2017 at 10:31 pm

    What a brilliant conversation with mummy and BAF. The one that caught my attention is that of having a grander burial than mama Banjo. So hilarious, she’s not dead yet she wants an elaborate burial. Anyways either wretched or rich everyone deserves an elaborate burial.

  7. princess August 21, 2017 at 10:37 pm

    This is a brilliant interaction between mother and daughter. I love this piece, it’s all encompassing. Have learnt something new this night!

  8. Bisi Fayemi August 22, 2017 at 3:31 pm

    Yes Mr Femi Diipo, I still have a mother and grandmother!

    Grandma – 96 (Some people claim she is older than that but I don’t think so)

    Mummy- 74

    BAF – 54

  9. Olakunle Olajide August 22, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    The wisdom and experience that oozes out from the mouth of our old ones are just priceless.
    Let me say kudos to BAF for taking out time from her busy schedules to visit her mum, that is huge. Like what mum said, most unemployed youths see social media as an escape route to the circumstances of life, so the government really need to work on this employment issue, an idle mind is a devil’s workshop they say.
    The funeral part from Grandma got me laughing, i guess the savings should start immediately.
    Lovely conversation really, and a lot learned already.
    Thank you ma’am for sharing.

  10. Oluwatosino August 23, 2017 at 4:01 am

    Awwwwwww. A beautiful conversation between mother nd Baf…… Good Mothers are so lovely to interact with.
    Lots of lessons to learn from the older ones…..
    Social media being the problem of our present generation which is absolutely correct. When we no longer have our secret lives. May God help us.
    And d funeral part thou… Grandma’s are so funny… Who competes with burial rites….. Lol

  11. Oluwatosino August 23, 2017 at 4:03 am

    Waoh… Dis is so beautiful…. Grandma 96, Mum 74 nd Our lovely mummy Bisi Fayemi 54….. May God’s divine protection continually be upon you and your family ma ijn.

  12. Omolola August 24, 2017 at 12:19 pm

    I crave this longevity In Jesus name. My mum will live long oooooo. Wow. This is quite interesting.

  13. Bisi Alawode August 24, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    Just look at this. Wise mummy. it runs in the family. Please, let’s see the conversation between you and great grandma, I am sure it will be so interesting.

  14. Gloria Illoba August 24, 2017 at 12:24 pm

    Funeral is a big deal o. My grandma will always say none of us have an excuse not to be at her funeral. They must see that she has grandchildren home and abroad. Lool.

  15. Goodness August 24, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    I didn’t want the conversation to end. That CV part reminded me of my mother too. She collect CVs and call again as if I am the one creating jobs and when you talk to her she will say, just try your best. Doing good is good. God bless our mothers.

  16. Folakemi Davies August 24, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    It runs in the family. God bless your family in Jesus name

  17. Olajumoke James August 24, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    Please, let’s meet great grandma o. I want to see her conversation. I am sure mama is going to have some yuppy convo for us. God bless you ma.

  18. Phillips Mba August 24, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    And she said her age publicly. This woman is different. Sooo different

  19. Victoria E August 24, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    @phillips, you read my mind. I wonder when the offline event of this wonderful organisation will be though. We need to meet and greet and this time, facebook, instagram and twitter will not rest oooooo. Who’s with me?

  20. Femi Diipo August 25, 2017 at 11:42 am

    Wow… So incredible. I’m speechless

  21. Bisi Fayemi August 25, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    Dear friends,

    The offline event for Above Whispers will be sometime in November in Lagos. You will all be invited well in advance, thanks for the warm wishes.

    @Phillips Mba, in these days of social media, no person’s age is a secret anymore!

  22. Olakunle Olajide August 28, 2017 at 11:57 am

    Hurray!!!! November is almost here. Thank you ma’am.


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