Africa & Beyond

Some Brothers Do Have ‘Em

Yes they do have ’em, I mean all the luck if you are wondering at my drift. And we mortals? We are ‘stuck’ with just one. Now I don’t want to begrudge a fellow African brother his good fortune, sure he deserves his lucky break. Neither am I contemplating changing my nationality over a trivial matter like this. Sorry to disappoint you Alex but if you are reading this, tough luck; I’m not going to change my mind.

Oho, Alex Kamotho is my Kenyan colleague that I banter with on African matters. He keeps telling me that there are similarities between life in Nigeria and life in Kenya. I have believed him until this email from him popped up on my work email. Now I know why those Kenyan brothers live longer, they love life and seem to have perfected the art of modern polygamy. Now don’t go sulking over your own ‘sorry’ condition, you deserve who you have right now, or don’t you think so? It can not be that bad after all, remember that appearances deceive or don’t you think that those smiles from the Mathus may be hiding other things? Perhaps the ‘happy couple’ (don’t know if this phrase is right, how do you describe a husband and his two wives, would they still be addressed ascouple, trio or what?) may have just been smiling or posing for the cameras. I am no social scientist to pass an accurate judgment on this but Grandpa Nworah’s story may shed some light here.

Should Grandpa Nze Nworah Okeke have been alive today, perhaps he would have been saying to me, “You see, I told you so; you don’t know what you’re missing”, I suspect also that he may be saying to me, “what did you learn from me? I’m really disappointed that none of you are following my footsteps; you say you want to live long, didn’t I live long or don’t you know that by being kept busy every other night, I had my mind off other things which cause high blood pressure for your generation? “.The old boy had two of them, and just as he was getting nearer to his transition he added a third, a much younger one at that. “My old age wife” he called her. I could still recall the several morsels that they all laid out on his dinner table every other night back in the day, most of which were consumed by us (the grand kids) during our nightly story telling sessions.

The old boy was spoilt for choice and sure did have lots of tales to tell, a jolly good fellow he was too, strong and agile till the last day. He did live to become one of the oldest, if not the oldest in Enugwu-Ukwu before his Chi called him, we did place his age at about 120 years at the time of his passing on, don’t ask me how we knew, ask the Nze na Ozors in Enugwu-Ukwu.

In those last days when his eyes became dim, he wasn’t one to give up old habits; he still managed to keep his harem in order. Catch him at his best mood after overdosing on his Nkwu enu and watch him bark out orders, God bless his soul. Perhaps by living up to such an ‘Abrahamic’ age, he may have disproved the ‘no woman, no cry myth’. How he managed it all is still a mystery, perhaps the women in his days were more submissive or perhaps not, go figure. But since him, no one else in the family has attempted the double – portion act, except my father’s younger half-brother, who I may describe as a ‘true son’ of his father, he is at number two at the moment and still counting.

I don’t know how a modern day Nigerian brother could pull off such a stunt and still come back home to a well deserved rest and nightly dose of you-know-what. Not with some of the fiery characters brothers contend with these days, one of whom is Tina (not her real name) who has finally succeeded in sending our friend (Emeka) to his grave so early in life. Emeka is thirty – something and committed suicide in Enugu a few years back. He couldn’t take all Tina’s heat and wahala anymore. God Bless his poor soul.

The only other time that I have encountered the double –portion story close-up was in my neighbour Chief Ikoro back in Nigeria, but then his was a bit different. He had no other choice but to marry Nkiru, his wife’s younger sister who was on a visit to help out around the house with the kids etc, and decided along the way to share in some of her sister’s (Ngozi) joy. Chief Ikoro would come back during lunch when his wife would have already gone to her shop, and would be served lunch and love from Nkiru. When Nkiru got pregnant, her family called a meeting and after exploring several options settled on marriage, none of the parties wanted abortion. Nkiru became Chief Ikoro’s wife number two and the family lived ‘happily’ ever after.

Now back to the main gist, what do you make of this modern day practice of polygamy? Could any right thinking Nigerian brother in the life of him get away with a stunt like this? Won’t our dear sisters string such a brother on a pole at Wuse market? Esther and Joyce Mathu, the two beautiful thirty-something year olds caught in this love triangle story with their man, the main object of their desire (Alfred Mathu) claim that they are enjoying it. I hope they are.

I bet our Nigerian sisters would have pushed such a brother to the wolves were they in the ladies’ shoes. Time to bring back good old traditional African practices then? The story of the Mathus reproduced here is just one of those modern tales that show that in life, concerning ‘luck and fortune’, some brothers do have ’em, or maybe not.

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