Diamond in the Dirt

Diamond in the Dirt

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. :(

14 thoughts on “Diamond in the Dirt” by Funmi-F (@Funmi-F)

  1. I remember once when i posted on FB about the strength and endurance of the African woman and the pain she suffers and sacrifices she makes for her child(ren), and someone responded, “and by doing that she teaches by example that a woman should tolerate any crap from a man for the sake of the children, thereby creating a vicious mindset cycle that is passed from generation to generation. And the men continue dishing out more and more crap because they know we will endure it. For the child.”
    She went on to add, “maybe if our mothers had been less tolerant and more kick-ass, they would have taught us children to place more value on ourselves and the children we are sacrificing our self-worth for. Then maybe, just maybe, we would not be fighting so hard to be valued and struggling so much for a self identity now”.
    That gave me food for thought.

  2. Food for thought indeed. Sometimes witnessing what these mothers endure makes me angry because I wonder why they just sit back and take it. That was what really struck me about the book- the anger is so real because you can see your mother, aunty or even sister in those pages… I think it has had the opposite effect on me, though… I am so determined not to end up in that position… It’s scary. :)

  3. yeah…it’s the whole African cultural thing..”suffer for the sake of your kids,” be patient and gentle as a mother…bla bla bla …. it’s terrific! I get scared sometimes because, honestly, I don’t see myself having that kind of patience!…I like your conclusion. *so true*

  4. All this is the truth of the matter, life is one big irony

  5. Funmi-F you actually make me want to read the book..love your review, very nice

  6. Funmi love your piece, according to my mum, ‘woman dey get patience’. Hmmm… for how long i ask?

  7. “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.”

    I love this Funmi F. Really good.

  8. I haven’t yet read the book but your writing has just placed me on an immediate impulse to get the book ASAP.
    Nicely done dear

  9. Really well written … I love your review!

  10. I read the book like over two weeks ago after letting it gather dust for quite a while and i had tears in my eyes by the time i was through…its really pathetic that women are thought to settle for second best in both marriage and love…its like our lives aren’t meant to count and we are supposed to live for everybody else but ourselves!
    The main character of the story,Ngu Ego met a really tragic end in spite of her endless sacrifices…some women have been lucky enough to have their kids wipe away their tears in their old age…
    is it wrong to be patient when things take a turn for the worse?teaching our kids the virtue of patience and endurance should be done under the right setting…patience when a husband loses his job and things like that…not when he beats the crap outta you and you still sit there on your ass! nice review love…

  11. Nice one, love the way in which you put this together….the lessons life offers in between trainings and living for the best of the future….love the the review….

  12. @bunmi-f, hmmm! this write-up sparks a flame that has always seared my heart. i really do resent the place of women in the world, my thesis in the university was: images and portrayal of women in print media adverts. women, even in the so-called enlightened societies of europe, are not in an acceptable position at all.
    as for Buchi’s Joys of Motherhood, i flung the book to the wall the first day i finished it. i’ve read it over 10 times since then, its a classic
    as for being homeless, dear, 9ja is always ready to have you for keeps.

  13. Thanks for the comments guys… I love this book and writing about it was really fun.

  14. There is a simplicity to Buchi Emecheta’s writing that is always spot on. Thanks for sharing!

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