Great literature is said to be a mirror. Buchi Emecheta’s “The Joys of Motherhood” was this for me and even more: it is my favourite Nigerian novel of all time.
A pearl cast before swine… A diamond in the dirt. That is what Nnu Ego was. Buchi Emecheta’s portrayal of a life sacrificed for motherhood was particularly poignant for me because I saw my mother in those pages. The determination, the longsuffering, and sadly, the futility…
Reading this book removed the teenage angst-ridden scales from my eyes and plunged me into the reality of what mothers face in African society. From battling the chauvinism entrenched in their culture, to caring selflessly for children despite toiling through direly unhappy marriages and even assuming the role of provider when the man of the house abdicates this role- these women brave life’s incessant challenges with little or no expectation of reward. This lack of expectation is reinforced by the fact that such rewards seldom come, and even when they do- as in Nnu Ego’s case- it is too late.
Yet, a mirror in itself is a mere looking glass. Ultimate responsibility lies with the one who looks into it. Now, the zeal to succeed rages within me like a consuming fire. My mother’s sacrifice will not be in vain.
My name is Funmilayo Ogunlusi and I am currently a student in the UK. In other words, I shuttle between York, London, Nigeria and everywhere in between. Simply put, I am homeless. :(