Madele had never been lazy.  She was well known for her industry and commitment to everything she laid her hands on. Her parents were poor, and they barely managed to support her education up to her O’ Levels. She did not do well in her high school leaving examination and so could not get admission for further studies. Her mother fried Akara (bean cakes), yam, and plantain at the roadside near their house. She also fried buns which Madele would hawk when she got back from school. Madele decided to focus on helping her mother with the roadside food business, and this way, she saved up enough money to retake her school leaving certificate examination and this time she passed. She attended a local polytechnic and received an Ordinary National Diploma (OND). Shortly after, she was employed as a Catering Officer in the civil service in Menge State. Madele’s first marriage was to a colleague she met when she was on a catering training program. He too was a civil servant, working in another State. They got married and they were happy at first, till pressure started mounting on them to have children. Five years and one pregnant mistress later, Madele found herself without a husband or roof over her head.

Madele moved in with a relative of hers while she tried to put her life back together again. Fortunately, she had never stopped working in the civil service, and because she was good at her job and quite pleasant to work with, she did well. She teamed up with other caterers and took on catering jobs on the side over the weekend. The extra work brought in surplus income which Madele invested in catering equipment of her own, and she also started travelling to places like Dubai and China to buy and sell items ranging from clothing to catering goods. Madele was so successful, she wanted to start building her own house, but her relatives advised her not to because she had no husband or children and she would not find another husband if she appeared too prosperous. Madele met Simon, a local secondary school teacher at the church she attended. Simon had never been married. He told her that a woman who he dated for six years jilted him a few weeks to their wedding and left the country with another man to live in the United States. Since then, Simon had been wary of women and was not very trusting. Madele felt she had met a kindred spirit who had also known pain, so she opened her heart to him. Two years after they were married, Madele and Simon had a daughter, Patience. As can be imagined, they were both over the moon. As the years went by, they tried to have more children, but when this did not happen, they decided to be grateful for the blessing they had received in Patience.

Madele was by now a senior catering officer in the state civil service, and she was one of those responsible for running the kitchens in the Government House. Working for the First Family of the state was considered to be the crème de la crème of government postings. Civil servants schemed, lobbied, and visited Pastors and the like to secure such coveted postings. Madele did not have to do any of those things, her work spoke for her, and over a period of time, she served three First Families. Simon decided to leave his teaching job because of the low pay and went into farming. When that did not go well, he started a printing business with a friend. Soon, that business started going south too, so Simon decided to focus on pastoral work and became one of the Pastors in his church. Madele was always willing to help Simon out with capital for his ventures when he needed it. They also started building a house together. When Madele paid for the land they used, she did not think twice before putting Simon’s name on the documents. Whenever Simon had money he would contribute to the construction costs, but Madele paid at least seventy percent of the cost for their house. Most of Madele’s income went towards either supporting Simon’s business ideas, running their home or building their house.

Madele started noticing changes in Simon’s attitude towards her once their house was completed. Madele spent most nights during the week in her official quarters in Government House, which was the usual practice, in order to have oversight of all the kitchen and domestic staff. She would go home for weekends to spend time with her family. Simon also visited her in Government House occasionally. It was Patience who dropped a hint that another woman was visiting their home during the week. Madele did not confront her husband at first, she made enquiries and found the information to be true. When she spoke to Simon about her findings, he became violent and asked her not to come back home. By now Madele was fed up with Simon’s belligerent behavior and his never-ending business failures. However, because she did not want to be mocked as a failure at marriage for a second time, she kept things to herself and pretended all was well and avoided Simon by staying at her government quarters. Madele was not sure when she started noticing changes in fourteen-year-old Patience. The bubbly, talkative adolescent who always had a smile on her face, and who usually did well in school, became sullen, short-tempered and was almost bottom of the class. Something was wrong. When Madele asked Simon about Patience and the changes in her, his response was to become more possessive of Patience than he had ever been. Patience was no longer allowed to visit Madele on week-days. Weekends, Simon would find an excuse to be out of town on ‘Pastoral duties’ and would take Patience with him. Madele was unhappy, but she rationalized it as Simon needing to spend more time with his daughter to make sure she was not going astray.

Then Madele’s world came crashing down all at once. The government of the day changed and the First Family who had found her services so valuable and had provided her with many opportunities for her catering business to grow was no longer there. Her bosses in the civil service who had looked out for her were changed and the new ones were very hostile and had ‘their own people’. Madele was posted out of Government House to one of the technical colleges owned by the State, far from the capital and other side business opportunities. This meant spending even less time with Patience. In addition, the new government was not paying salaries regularly and this meant more hardship for Madele. One morning, Madele got a call from someone in the State social welfare department. It was about Patience. One of Patience’s teachers had found her crying because a friend had told her that if a man puts something inside a girl, she will get pregnant. The teacher was of course curious to know why this information would be of concern to Patience and asked her if someone had put anything inside her. Long story short, it turned out that yes, someone had been having sex with Patience. It was her father, Simon.

Madele literally lost everything. Her daughter. Her home. Her house. Her livelihood. Her sanity. The case against Simon fell apart when Madele refused to testify against him due to immense pressure from families of both sides.  Their church members also waded in and begged her to ‘leave Simon to God’.  For the second time in her life, Madele did not have a place she could call her own because of a man. She initially took refuge in a church for a few months. A relative of hers took Patience away to another State to attend school there. Madele was taken in by one of her former employers but that did not work out because she was always doing or saying something wrong. Madele’s friends managed to get her another job running a private restaurant, but she was so troubled that nobody wanted to work with her. She became a totally different person – cantankerous, paranoid and delusional. For the past three years, she has effectively been homeless. Meanwhile, Simon lives on in the house they built together, with another woman.

Recently, an intervention was made by former benefactors to help Madele put her life back together. She now has an apartment of her own. She has started a new job. Only time will tell if she will fully recover from the ordeal she has lived through. Patience has been doing well in school and thankfully, she is beyond her father’s reach. Someone noted that it is possible that Madele knew about the systematic abuse of her daughter but was in denial or too scared to do anything to stop it. It is hard to know for sure, but it cannot be ruled out.

I decided to share this mostly true story because sometimes we might have an opportunity to change the narrative. How could you have changed Madele’s story? You could be the relative advising a prosperous young woman not to provide for herself because she needs to wait for a man to do so. Are you the in-law pressurizing a wife in the family because she has not given birth? You could know of a minor being abused by someone they trust. You can choose to speak out and refuse to be cowed into silence. Or you could be the observant teacher who discovered a young victim of incest. We can all change someone’s story. Maybe not the entire chapter, but most times we can start from changing a sentence or paragraph and other people can take it from there. As we all reach out to the Madeles around us, may we also find succor in our own hour of need.

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

Source: Above Whispers

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16 Responses to LOUD WHISPERS : Madele

  1. Dom Dom August 7, 2018 at 11:27 am

    Madele, What a story!!! These things are always happening around us and it is our general responsibility to be better and make things better for everyone. This may or may not have been a fiction but truth is these things happen everyday around us and now is the time to speak up and do something about it

  2. Femi Diipo August 7, 2018 at 11:37 am

    “Changing the narrative” that’s the part that touches me the most. This story doesn’t have to be or end like this. None of these sad things had to happen to Madele her daughter. It is our responsibility to make sure that they don’t have to happen to anyone around us. Let’s all begin to change the narratives for the better

  3. colette idris August 8, 2018 at 3:13 am

    This woman suffered so much and unfortunately, this is the story of some women out there, they have toiled, they have cried and one idiot came and scattered all they worked for. Now, allow the law take its cause, No! they allow the culprit escape in the name of religion and in the name of washing their dirty linen out there. They don’t know that once this culprit escapes, others will come in and go scot free.

  4. Victor Udoh August 8, 2018 at 3:23 am

    Funnily enough, there are women going through this pain but have refused to speak up. I have come to realise that most of our people are bothered about what people will say than finding their happiness and their true self. It is pathetic! Madele’s case would have been different if she dealt with that man and if she has chased him out when he started that nonsense.

  5. Vanessa Edem August 8, 2018 at 3:25 am

    What a tragic story. I cannot imagine the everlasting pain this woman is in right now. To top it up, her husband impregnated their daughter. I don’t know but with the way the world is going now, you cannot even trust your daughters with your husbands anymore.

  6. Chioma George August 8, 2018 at 3:29 am

    The woman is always faced with unreasonable choices to make while the man walks away like a hero. The woman is always trapped in the good conscience corner while the man is permitted to walk freely even as a murderer. I don’t know when this act will stop but women need to know that the decision lies with them and not in some religion or some family members. Man your stage and use your sense! Have a great week too my First Lady.

  7. Tamela Egodie August 8, 2018 at 3:33 am

    If we will genuinely allow ourselves to grow and make others grow too, our lives as women would be better. I am sure the bunch of those that told Madele to allow God and leave the whole thing were women. They must have given her the “You know you married him, don’t let the world see what you are passing through” Nonsense! Like the world were made to be blind…

  8. Opeyemi Williams August 8, 2018 at 3:41 am

    God save us from evil men. This is disheartening.

  9. Olabimpe Aina August 8, 2018 at 3:48 am

    Why should the woman be left to leave the man for God? I don’t know why we bother God over what he’s given us common sense for? I’m annoyed that, that man was left to leave just like that. This is the story of some women who have toiled but have been made to reap pain and tears instead of the good fruits of their labour.

  10. Olakunle Olajide August 8, 2018 at 12:16 pm

    This is a very painful story..Arghh, I don’t even know how to begin. Who says if she has a house or she is well made she won’t have a husband. We deceive ourselves a lot in this part of the world, we live in the consciousness of what people will say and forget to live at all. May we always meet the right people and the wrong ones. God help us.

  11. Soldier Demian August 9, 2018 at 3:15 am

    Hmmm. This is tragic. what would have happened if she never got married? What would have happened if all she did was adopt a child with all the resources she had gotten for herself? This is pathetic. We really need to change the narrative.

  12. Shina Agunbiade August 9, 2018 at 3:19 am

    Pressure! Pressure!! Pressure!!! everytime the woman is always under pressure. The woman is always at the receiving end. Oh, the woman is the one who has to downplay her intelligence to be well accepted. The woman is the one who has to forgive and allow God fight her battles. The only way out is that every woman decides to own their decisions and understand their individual goals.

  13. Aderanti Esther August 9, 2018 at 3:22 am

    What a story, what a life. I seriously believe that most women aren’t living their dreams. If we will come together to discuss this issue, we have to bring women who would be sincere enough to share their stories for others to learn.

  14. Pastor Yemi Olayinka August 9, 2018 at 3:54 am

    The story is touching and pathetic , I think people should learn to speak out in situations like this . Such narratives could be changed within our society when people stopped expressing undue sentiments when there are horrible challenges like this .The best is to always speak out.
    Madele should have testified against Simeon and allow the full wrath of the law to take its course .
    There are consequences for every wrong doings and people should be made to pay dearly for wrongs otherwise we may not be able to change such narratives in our society .

  15. DSEED August 9, 2018 at 5:13 pm

    All for the sake of building a family. Who knows if that was what his second husband have been doing when his Ex left him and said he was jilted. Most women started well in every area of there lives until they choose wrongly maritally. I also don’t know why people think a prosperous single lady wouldn’t find a right husband. Assuming she had built a house then it would have be in her name and has something to fall back to. some men are just disastrous, calamitous. God help us.

  16. Eric Onuoha August 17, 2018 at 2:49 pm

    What a story. So sad but people go through things like this. The interesting aspect of this story is that she was able to bounce back after such terrible experiences thanks to the people around her and of course, the Almighty. I say a big Amen to that prayer.


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