Location: Okene, Kogi State
Through the open window; the sun dazzles off the shimmering roof tops. Like all other hospitals, the scent of antiseptic wrestles with my nostrils.
She is albino and she has dreadlocks. Our tradition tells us that albinos with such hair should get them cut every seven days if not they will get sick and die. If you are shaving it for the first time, some things need to be done before shaving it, I will send for people that do such things.
I don’t believe in such nonsense, Mother.
Beside me is my three days old daughter with dazzling Rastafarian hair which my mother sees as a taboo for albinos. The beauty in her eyes; her spongy lovely hair and the colour that graces her body renews all the charms. I love her and I just want her hair the way it is.
Don’t be stubborn, Oyiza, I have seen this happen all the time and nobody has ever refused this. It is our tradition, our tradition can never lie. Think about this, you still have two more days. Don’t gamble the life of your daughter.
I have nothing to think about, Mother. This is my choice, why is having a spongy hair a taboo?
Sometimes we make interesting choices but our tradition makes even more ridiculous taboos. Today is the seventh day. Despite my assurance that nothing will happen to my daughter, my heart forces me into a frozen vegetative state. Fear.
You have nothing to gain but everything to lose.
I have gained much and I haven’t lost anything. Eight years after her birth I still look at her with awe. Every single day crowns me with the joy of my bravery and my authority over the impotency of our taboos.