Category Archives: Stories


JANE’S BURDEN : By Prince Omasanjuwa Oshodi

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On this Saturday morning, the sun shone over the skyline through a sparkling eastern cloud. Can’t tell exactly what time of day it must have been: 9, 10? I’m not sure, now.

I didn’t quite get sufficient sleep on Saturday mornings, or so I’m prone to thinking; (my mother always thinks otherwise though). She says I’m lazy and that it will be a miracle when a man finally asks me to marry him. I chuckle each time she said this and she did say it often. I am only 16 and barely out of Senior Secondary School; who wants me for a wife…in this age and generation?!

There were times I thought my Mom dramatic and exaggerating, but she loved me!

“I’m your mother” she repeatedly said and made sure every moment of that counted: from conception to whatever day was the challenge!

“I bore you in this my womb” she would always say, pointing at her now rumpled stomach flab! “I cannot deceive you.”

Mom had a shop where she carried out her petty trade in local confectionaries and food items such as Bread, Egg-Rolls, Peanuts, Milk, Fruit Juice, Rice, Garri, Beans and soft drinks. It was my duty to man the shop on Saturdays since I wasn’t in School on those days. Mom said she was teaching me “to learn to earn outside paid employment”.

There are so many things Mom is teaching me and all at once…sometimes I feel they are too many: endless counsels of menu in the Kitchen (whilst we prepared meals), talks of chastity, whenever my monthly cycle showed up and lessons on money, every time I am in the petty trade shop. The irony I’m not able to understand however, is that each time I was beginning to feel wearied by Mom’s lessons and counsels, something happens to reinforce her voice in my head: once she talked no end about being vigilant in one’s business and careful with money; a few days later, I lost a whooping N2, 420 miscalculating a Customer’s purchase. It was a shameful day for me, more so, because Mom refused to yell at me!

“I’m happy God chose to teach you Himself” she had said softly, clutching the notes of the sales I had made. She went on to sit quietly afterwards, but wouldn’t let me attend to anyone else, that day. I felt quite bad and irresponsible.

Next was when Miss Jane got pregnant, unmarried! It was a huge scandal!

When the rumour broke at first, Mom called me into our room and said “Erinma, a woman must manage her affairs well and wisely; the fall outs of wrong decisions, have no ears for after-tales and excuses. Whilst tomorrow waits, you must make the most of today.”

I tried for many days to understand that statement and I finally did when the details of Miss Jane’s predicament became clearer: she had been raped on her way from her bar-tending job, late one night. Everyone was sad but blamed her for keeping company with slothful drunks and a wayward boss. They all said Miss Jane was well-mannered and didn’t deserve what had befallen her. I didn’t know who her boss was, but the neighbourhood talked endlessly about how much of an indecent woman she was. Many still, wondered why Miss Jane couldn’t have gotten herself a better deal of a job, no matter how menial.

“Maybe if she had a better education…” I’d heard Tope’s mother say to Mom in our shop, “…she would have had better work opportunities. You see why it is important for girls to take their education seriously?”

“Either way, my sister…” she continued, “…rape or not, a woman who does not know the importance of self-respect, ends up with out-of-wedlock pregnancy.”

She finished this assertion with a tone of finality whilst packing her purchase of two tins of tomatoes and darted me a warning glance.

I acted blank. I certainly couldn’t have shown any opinion (spoken or implied). By Mom’s rule, I couldn’t have heard that conversation!

I heaved a deep but hushed sigh after her departure whilst pretending to be focused on tidying the displays of our wares: I wouldn’t dare let Mom get the faintest glimpse that I was listening-in on adult conversation. She calls it bad upbringing.

Those words she spoke hit me very hard. Being a girl isn’t as attractive, if you ask me.

A shrill scream from the room next door to my mother’s Shop stopped my thoughts. I dashed out of the shop. Though Mom had given strict instruction that on no account were her wares to be left unattended, it would have been wicked to hear such piercing cry and be unmoved. Continue reading



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Raped and humilated. Photo:

A month ago, on my way home from work  I met Kash on the train. seated by the window, I noticed him board the train. You see, it was raining that day and Kash was a little bit wet. His dark, long hair, was wet, it fell to his face obscuring most of his features but I could see his eyes. They were green, they were deep and they looked beautiful. He was tall, and well built, his shirt hugged his body perfectly, accentuating his well built frame. He was gorgeous, a slender hunk of a Man. He looked really  decent  and oh was he so handsome. And here I was, drooling over him already. A total stranger. Hahaha. I laughed playfully at myself. He stood at the entrance, shook his hair to let loose some of its wetness and then proceeded to wear it in a ponytail.

I couldn’t take my eyes off him, it seemed as if I was transfixed. He glanced around looking for where to seat and that’s when our eyes met. Without warning, my heart began to beat faster, “behave yourself” I muttered to my heart, but of course he didn’t pay any attention.
Kash made his way in and sat down beside me.
“Good evening” he said.
“Good evening” I managed to mutter.
“The one day I left my umbrella at home, it decides to rain” he said to himself.
Without thinking, I handed him my hanky. “Oh gee, thank you” he said and he proceeded to wipe his wet face dry.
“I’m Kash” he said.

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ZORA’s TESTIMONY : By Robbie Kaine

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Mother and child. Photo:


I am here. I am healthy. I am alive.

The doctor had just told me that my case was terminal. It was Cancer… Stage 4 and I had three months to live.
I was dazed! Dazed into a daze. It seemed like my future was sealed. I felt lonely.  I felt hopeless. I felt lost. I was going to die…..and there was nothing I could do about it.
I walked home slowly, I could barely see the faces of people as they streamed passed me. The cacophony of sounds from voices, motor engines and blaring horns all seemed far away…..muffled…as if they were all in another dimension.
I began to quiver as I slowly trudged home, in just the space of a few minutes, my eyes had sunk into their sockets. I couldn’t see it….I could feel it….I just knew. And I said to myself….”the cold hands of death….is this what you feel like?”
Tears came unbidden into my eyes. They streamed down my face and I let them flow. I felt the bile rise up from inside my tummy and i puked on the curb.
“Ma’am are you ok?” A certain stranger asked me.
I waved him away, nodding my head as if all was well, he looked at me for a few seconds and then he left, after all, there was nothing he could do for me.
I got home, curled up in bed and cried my heart out. I cried for myself, my family, my friends. I cried for my present and I cried for my future. I cried for dreams unfulfilled and I cried for sweet life yet to be lived. Death had come for me and it was going to take me.
A month had passed and I had lived like a hermit. Barely eating. Always crying And crying myself to sleep. On this day, I do not know how long I had slept for it seemed I had cried myself to sleep which had become a norm, I awoke with a banging headache and with a chill. It wasn’t a chill born of the weather….It was the chill of death making its way within me, occupying my very essence, making its abode in me until I ceased to exits in three months time. I lay on my back starring up at the ceiling and after a while I began to stare into nothingness. I looked to my right, the desk lamp was turned low, and a book I’d only began to read, The Anatomy Of The Scriptures by Reigner Davies lay there. I’d only read a page of it. I looked at the curtains, it was beautiful…a gift from Jake when I had moved into this house. My eyes wandered forward to my closet which was slightly ajar and I remembered all the new and fine clothing’s I had bought which were all in there. I remembered how excited I had been buying them and how I couldn’t wait to wear them. It’s a pity I wouldn’t be needing any of them now. I was going to die innit? I saw my sneakers peeking out…looking at me as if it sensed my pain and I laughed…..well.. It was more of a cackle for my throat was parched. Even my shoe knew I was going to die.
How do I live? I didn’t want to die, I wanted so much to live. It’s been a month and I’d wallowed so much in my grief…forgetting my friend, the one who had always been with me. The one who never left me. The holy spirit.
On this day, He said to me “freshen up and take a stroll”
“Take a stroll? Pal, do you realize I’m about to die and you want me to take a stroll? What good would that do me?
“Take a stroll. What good has wallowing in your  misery done you?” Take a stroll he said
You see…he was my dearest friend and he loved me so much. As much as I didn’t want to go out, I somehow managed to. it was winter you see, and so I was bundled up in my warm clothing. Coats, mitts and all…the whole nine yard.

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