African women are the least respected when compared to those from other parts of the world. They rarely get the love, respect, and care they truly deserve. Over the years they have been able to keep the home together, help their men, and keep alive the African dream. However, all or most of all these have gone largely unrewarded; and to an extent taken for granted. Somehow along the line, they have been able to free themselves from the shackles around their legs through various liberation programs, education, and access to information.

Bolaji’s sad story paints the picture of what some African women go through in their homes. In this first part of her story, Bolaji tells us how she met her husband and how she has been turned into a slave in her home…

Deji and I have been blessed with three children within seven years of our marriage—with my first pregnancy for him coming some months before our marriage. I got pregnant out of wedlock and that was how Deji and I started the journey.

At school I was one of the most brilliant students—beating other students to any competition we competed in. Monique, Tola, Bisola and Ijeoma were some of my friends who were not just in the same school with me; but in the same class. They were the not-so-serious girls in school; but it is not how far but how well because all four of them are doing exceptionally well in the marriage as I write this. No one gave anyone of them a chance to be happily married—I was termed the only girl that has a bright future amongst them.

Somewhere along the line as we were growing up, I missed the mark and got myself pregnant for Deji. The way Deji treats me is not different from the way a housemaid or a slave is treated. I was six months pregnant when Deji and I got married—and straight away he brought me to his one-room apartment in Molete, Ibadan. I was so naive because how else can you explain a woman who in her third year at the university got herself pregnant after keeping herself as a chaste all these years? How else do you explain getting pregnant for a guy whose source of income is not encouraging—yet one of the most brilliant microbiology undergraduate of a prestigious universities opened her legs and allowed herself to be blinded by love.

My mum raised me as a proper African child that knows how to do virtually every house chores with little or no supervision. She taught me how to be loyal and obedient to a man; but never told me how to fight my way out of slavery if that same man starts taking undue advantage of me.

Deji and I live in a house where there is no water, no stable power supply (we have been disconnected for a while now owing to huge debt), and no ventilation. I wake up every day around 5 am to fetch water at about three buildings away from where we live. I wash my husband’s clothes, go to his friend’s house not too far away to get the clothes ironed, cook his food (at least that’s one of my duties as a woman), and get my daily portion of abuse or assault from Deji.

Pregnant or not, if Deji’s bathing water is not ready by 5:30 am, I get a dirty slap or yelling as punishment. Sometimes I just sit back to ask myself if being loyal to one’s husband is not being foolish?

Watch this space for the continuation…