The Conditioning

It was a cold afternoon today, so I sat at the balcony of my hostel and decided to finish Kabu-Kabu; a book by Nnedi Okorafor, that I’ve been reading intermittently for the past three days.

The view from the balcony included three houses, a pub, and a row of shops with one of the shops directed adjacent to my hostel. It belonged to a fashion designer and as always the shop was filled with customers streaming in and out.

I haven’t gone past two pages when I heard the sound of a deafening slap. I looked up and the fashion designer’s little boy playing outside the shop was crying. He had been slapped by another little girl who came with her mother to the shop.

Figuring what had instigated the act was difficult but the response of the girl’s mother sent hot lava down my gut.

While he was crying and his mother was trying to intervene, the girl’s mother held his hand and gave him a short talk about male dominion.

“You are a man now! Why are you crying? Okunrin ni e now! Oya stop crying. Next time she beats you, beat her back!”

The boy stopped crying immediately and everything seemingly returned to normal.

The women returned to the gist of the best material needed for the style she proposed, sewing machines started running holes and thread into fabrics again and the two playmates resumed their tango.

However, I couldn’t help but think that this boy has learned a perversive lesson about what a man truly is.

Okunrin ni e now! = You’re a man now!

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