Houseboy and No Longer at Ease

Houseboy and No Longer at Ease

I remember enjoying Oyono’s Houseboy (published in 1956) which I found to be an honest but humorous work. For instance, I could not, for the life of me, picture Toundi, an African man, working as a “houseboy” and washing his Madame’s soiled undergarments. This was just too appalling in the African context. I must confess that back then, I might not have fully understood that as the storyline progressed and Toundi struggled to find his identity, having moved from his rural village, it was also a time when Africa, in the wider context, was trying to maintain its unique identity and shake off colonial rule and some of its atrocious consequences.

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My African hair

My African hair

A part of my Africanness that I have battled with all my life is my hair. In its natural state, an afro is not always an easy hair-do to wear. If you lean back in your chair, for example, it gets messed up.

The dilemma is compounded when Afros are not considered a ‘professional’ look in most circles. So now I find myself travelling the middle road of braids and weaves – wearing my hair natural only when ‘occasions’ permit….

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Abuja

Abuja

My trip to Abuja a few years ago was highly rewarding.  I found Nigerians to be friendly and felt right at home in the capital city.  Getting around the city was very easy with its well-laid out roads.  Sustainable water and electricity can be a real challenge in parts of Nigeria though.  Generators have since become standard household items and it is quite normal to buy drinking water.

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