LOUD WHISPERS: Where Is Your Wrapper? – One Year Later

It has been three years since I published ‘Loud Whispers’ a collection of weekly essays I write for my online column of the same name on my website Above Whispers.com. I started Above Whispers in February 2016, to produce meaningful content for information, awareness raising and reflections on the social justice and the critical role that citizens can play to make change happen, using whatever platforms or leverage they have. This November, my new collection of non-fiction, fiction and poetry will be out. The book is called ‘Where is your Wrapper’, and is published by Prestige Books, Kachifo Publishing House.

 

I have been asked a number of times why I write. My identity as a writer gives me a lot of joy, peace and satisfaction. I write to be heard. I write to bear witness. I write to teach. I write to learn. People also ask where I find the time. You find time for the things that are important to you. I admit there was a time in my life when I did not have the time to write beyond what was required of me professionally. However, I have come to the understanding that what often weighs me down and gets in the way is not necessarily time, but the sheer enormity of translating what I see, hear and talk about on a daily basis into formats that make sense every week.

 

Readers who are familiar with my column Loud Whispers know about my fondness for Popular Culture in its different forms, especially film and television. I am not a big fan of comedies or romantic shows, I am more interested in the political thriller and drama genres, with the occasional Sci-Fi thrown in. There are a number of TV shows and dramas I have watched in recent times that have more or less the same theme. The Handmaid’s Tale, Wayward Pines, Colony, Twelve Monkeys, Year after Year, Altered Carbon, Travelers, and others are about the future, and how as human beings, we have grown accustomed to destroying everything around us so much that our future is quite bleak, particularly for poor and marginalized populations. In most of these movies and television series the future is about the diminished capacities of poor human beings and the exaltation of the rich almost to the status of Gods, with technology and artificial intelligence playing a major role in reshaping and even replacing human beings. The Handmaid’s Tale is a particularly brutal framing of the struggles to control women’s bodies which is happening right now, never mind a distant future.

 

For the future that these stories tell to be possible, demagogues in all shapes and forms are at the helm of affairs. How will we get there? We seem to be well on our way. Totalitarian regimes which make a mockery of democratic values, perennial violent conflict, overpopulation which will lead to food shortages and unequal access to healthcare, education and housing. Add on uncontrollable pandemics, mass unemployment, a desperate and hopeless youth population who will serve as ready recruits for criminal gangs and all shades of fundamentalists, the use of organised religion to control and manipulate, climate change and environmental degradation, all these and more will continue to conspire to threaten civilization as we know it, regardless of the corner of the globe we occupy. The COVID19 pandemic has shown us, in such a short space of time, how easy it is for even well-established democracies to unravel almost overnight, not to talk of our own communities where every single issue is a struggle. No wonder some creative writers are already living in the future, as if to say, ‘We have already messed this up, let us move on to the next level’. It does not have to be like that.

 

In October 2019, I was invited to make some remarks at the annual Women Arise conference organised by the City of David chapter of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) in Lagos. I asked the audience of 2,000 women, ‘Where is your wrapper’? After the event, I wrote up my remarks and sent it out as my Loud Whispers post for that week. Where is your wrapper? seemed to have struck a chord with many people because it went viral. Some of my friends got it five times. Every week I write about social change, leadership, feminist agency, community, relationships, current affairs and the like. I suppose the common threads in all my writing is collective consciousness, action, and hope. I decided to call my new volume of essays ‘Where is your wrapper?’, because we all need one, male and female alike, across generations and social classes. We all need protection from the vicissitudes of life, we need collective action and we cannot afford to lose hope. Where one person’s wrapper ends is where another begins. The texture, length, and width of our wrappers might differ but we all need one and we all have one. Today, we can determine the kind of world we want to live in and want our descendants to inherit. The choices we make about how we treat one another, how we speak up against abuse and oppression, how we choose our leaders and how we manage all our resources will determine the future of our communities and the world as a whole. When faced with the enormity of the challenges that abound around us, we all wonder, ‘What can I do?’ or we think about the many years we have labored and we ask ourselves, ’What difference does this all make?’

 

I am an eternal optimist. As much as I like to face the harsh realities of the cruel world we live in, I am also aware of its immense possibilities. I often get glimpses of the change we would like to see. I have seen it in the pride on the faces of parents whose daughter has picked up all the leading prizes at her University convocation. I saw it in the eyes of the 110-year old woman who had been ridiculed and abandoned by most in her community because she had no children anymore, but in her last days she lacked nothing and was buried like the Princess she was. I saw it in the grateful smile of a girl who was thirteen when she was brought to my attention, abused, pregnant and hopeless, and is now a graduate who can fend for herself. I have seen the energy and agency of the young people around me, willing to learn, unlearn and make their own contributions. I see it in the choices I am privileged to make every day, leveraging the platforms I have had the good fortune to occupy. And I plan to keep writing about it all, every step of the way. I will let you know how you can get copies of the book!

 

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

 

 

 

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4 Responses to LOUD WHISPERS: Where Is Your Wrapper? – One Year Later

  1. Pingback: First look: ‘Where is Your Wrapper?’ cover reveal | Farafina Books

  2. Femi Diipo November 8, 2020 at 3:39 pm

    As someone who has been following this page almost since its inception, I have come to appreciate the incredible wisdom and immense knowledge with which these writings have been composed and I anticipate getting a hand on this book.
    The best part of your personality ma’am is that you do not only strive to improve and be better for humanity everyday, you carry others along and encourage us all to do same. Thank you for all that you do

    Reply
  3. Pingback: First look! Where is Your Wrapper? Book Cover - AboveWhispers | AboveWhispers

  4. DSEED November 14, 2020 at 5:27 pm

    I was privileged to read the article here when it came up last year and I was blessed reading it. Where is your wrapper it is such a thoughtful article. I’m looking forward to getting my hand on the book. God bless you ma for being a blessing to the women.

    Reply

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