LOUD WHISPERS: The ‘Motifaketional’ Gang

Motifaketion’’: The manipulation of vulnerable and gullible people under the guise of motivating them to greatness. Motifaketors are usually devoid of integrity, common sense and accountability.

There have been a number of videos in circulation recently that I have found rather disturbing. I will start from the one that was sent to me by a friend. There were four little girls in the video, the oldest was the one doing the talking in Yoruba, and the other three took up the chorus. The girl doing the talking could not have been older than eight. This is what she was saying:

You men, listen to me carefully

 A man who cannot buy me an iPhone X – Japa (Get lost or get out)

A man who cannot give me money for hair – Japa

A man who cannot buy clothes for me – Japa

Á man who cannot take me out –  Japa

It is hard to tell who was recording this group of kids, it could have been one of their peers or an adult. What is clear though is that what they were saying came from what they have seen and heard from adults. At a time when we should be celebrating the possibility that we have a generation of girl-children who will see most of the obstacles in their way removed, we have some who are learning that material things are important and they can all be acquired from a man. How did a bunch of little girls in this day and age pick up such a terrible message? We are no strangers to the dangers of socialization which enforce gender stereotypes but forgive me for being naïve enough to expect that this message would have resonated with the generation responsible for raising this set of girls. The girl in the video was confident and self-assured, and well on her way to becoming a ‘Motifaketor’. For those who might think this video was just harmless fun, let me move to the next video.

There is this female preacher who was talking to a group of young women and advising them on how to take care of themselves and become more presentable. That part of the message sounded okay. Where she lost it in my opinion is when she advised the girls to invest in nice wigs because natural hair is not in vogue! ‘Who natural hair help?’’ she asked. According to her, the ‘packaging’ is important, you need to do what you can to get ahead of the competition so you can be the chosen one. Once you get the ring on your finger, you can take the wig off, you have nothing more to prove, you are in and there is nothing anyone can do about it. I have at least three problems with the message of this ‘Motifaketional’ speaker, who is simply an older version of the little girl. At least the little girl can be said to not know any better.

Problem number one – we are now back to making black women feel they cannot be proud of their skin and hair and always have to lust after the ‘approved’ aesthetics  as defined by Eurocentric standards of beauty. Problem number two – if this speaker was saying this to the group of women to help them build their self-esteem as part of their own growth (though that too would have been problematic) she could be forgiven. She was giving them this silly advice for them to be able to attract and keep men.

What happened to using your values, intelligence, character, shared interests and so on? Problem number three – a seller of fake products attracts buyers who are not concerned about quality. The ‘packaged’ lady with the expensive long wig and padded backside will certainly land the kind who are only interested in fake things and not the real deal. All this drivel coming from someone who many young people look up to as a role model. Let me move on to video number three.

The Motifaketional stars in video number three are one Daddy GO and a Mummy GO. The video starts with Daddy GO on stage in an auditorium, announcing to the packed audience that it is Mummy GO’s birthday. There is of course a lot of jubilation and dancing. Then Daddy GO holds up a key and declares that there is something for Mummy GO in his office, and whatever the key opens is a gift for her. Then the video pans to his office and it turns out that the key opens up a safe that is stacked full of mint notes, and an ecstatic Mummy GO proceeds to lift out the bundles of mint from the safe.

Then it pans back to Daddy GO in the auditorium, where he gleefully announces that he has a gift of N55 million Naira for Mummy GO in the safe! The auditorium bursts into wild applause. At this point, you cannot help but notice that the congregation is made up of regular people who attend the church out of faith and dedication and who would dutifully pay their tithes as required. The kind of audience where people would be struggling with food, rent and school fees. There is nothing wrong with Daddy GO giving Mummy a birthday gift, but did it have to be announced to the congregation? Such a large amount of money? Then, we go back to the office where Mummy GO is now blissfully rolling on the floor, clutching bundles of mint notes to her bosom, not minding that her long wig, very fair skin and expensive outfit might get dirty. The circle was complete.

The little girl was clear about the kind of man she wanted, the lady preacher dished out advice on how to land the ideal man with a certain kind of look and lo and behold, the well-packaged Mummy GO reaps the fruits of her labour.

These three videos are different, but they carry the same message. There is a narrative that has emerged about Nigerian women being lazy, greedy, dependent, irrational and insecure. Perhaps some are all those things, but that is not who we are or who we have been in the past. I watched the video of the little girls the day after the great Mrs Alaba Lawson, the Iyalode of Yorubaland passed away. Iyalode Lawson was a formidable entrepreneur, business icon, philanthropist and community leader. She was a role model in every sense of the word, and she lived her life building people up and empowering others to be the best version of themselves possible.

She served many constituencies tirelessly, and I was fortunate to have known her as one of the senior alumni of my Alma Mata, Abeokuta Girls Grammar School. Women like Iyalode Lawson represented hard work, discipline, sacrifice and commitment to excellence. Those are the ones who are role models, not the strange creatures we see parading themselves around today, infecting generations of others with their fakeness and dangerous values.

 Life is at the end of the day about choices. I hope people can choose not to misuse the platforms they have been given to misinform and misdirect. For those who are teaching little girls the right kind of values, please keep up the good work, and for those who are using their positions to truly shine the light, may God continue to bless your efforts. In case you are looking for the word ‘Motifaketional’ in any dictionary, I own the copyright. Afterall, necessity is the mother of invention.

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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5 Responses to LOUD WHISPERS: The ‘Motifaketional’ Gang

  1. Ibukunoluwa November 11, 2023 at 10:50 pm

    The mentality of Motifaketional is something else. Thank you.

  2. Iyanuoluwa Isinkaye November 12, 2023 at 7:56 am

    Guide our leaders right, help our youths the truth to know

  3. Maryam November 12, 2023 at 8:04 am

    Motifaketional indeed

  4. Akanmu Oluwafunmilola Rebecca November 13, 2023 at 7:01 am

    May God help us. Girls are being mislead this days

  5. Adegbola Opeyemi November 17, 2023 at 7:46 am

    A lot of them out there that won’t speak the truth. They say what people want to hear


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