LETTERS: TO A GREAT WOMAN OF HONOUR, Ogwiji Ehi
Dear Ehis, it is a great opportunity to me to tell you that you are a great writer of this generation. You are good with what you do; building words together like castle of knowledge, breaking walls with words, giving freedom and hope with words. Keep up with the good work. And nights like this one we don’t sleep, we let sleep rests on the mouth of our keyboard then we type to appreciate those in mind.
Yesterday, I decided to go through my archive and the first name I saw looking at me was your name, a great name indeed for a great woman like you. I may not know the meaning of the name but I know they are representative of something beautiful, something precious and something spectacular about Africa, about Tradition, about Culture of our people and people to come. Meanwhile, I have asked couple of people about the said name but I think I have not gotten a reasonable answer to that. Maybe you might be of help to tell me its meaning after reading this letter. You know Africans in their ways don’t only give a name but they give out a name that will stand in test of time. They give names that represent them in many ways. A name that means a lot to our culture, a name that resonates and keep the tradition and custom of our people. Thinking about your name sometimes, I can swear it is loaded with revelations of who you are and what you stand for as a person. Yes, African names are much like the smell of a particular soup which by merely perceiving it from afar one can decrypt the true condition of the soup or rather what the soup might look like and the type of soup it is, that is how and what African names are. They are laden with meanings and Revelations of who we are.
Your mother must have been killed with joy at the sight of the gift of a beautiful baby girl like you: ebony black, pretty and most of all the smile that you came with at the sight of your mother’s dimples, or even both your mother’s or your father’s when he came to look into your eyes at the hospital or when the nurses called him into the hospital to show you to him. The smile you let out that day might indeed generate a lot of glees in the world of your parents. Have you ever think of that day that your mother held you on her palms with smiles so real and named you Ehis? Have you ever think of that day that you were born and the joy seen in your mother’s face as she smiled watching people came to see you? Have you ever think of the joy it brought to your parents even now whenever they see you? Whatever, you will agree with me that an African child’s name is a lake of his tales or the circumstances surrounding his or her birth. How else do I explain this thought or rather imagining from miles away, the happiness in your parents’ home when you were born to them?
Of this beauty; we were born for a reason other than those ones we know. Beholding this fact that humans are the curator of their own destinies remain the honest judgment in the angle of my thoughts. We are who we are through those reservoirs of our dignities.
We’re watching you, great one. You may not understand the lives you’ve touched; you may not know that many people are standing behind your smile and your laughter to create more and more pleasant world for their generations. Later, they would say they came, they saw and conquered their fear through the reality you created among them. You are indeed a child of symbol, birthed in the house of symbols, of a coral beauty and ebony smile holding down the fragments of the world.
A times I wonder what it meant to be you, I wonder what drives you as a person and what keeps you going and the kind of books that inspires you in this world where many ghost seek for an uncommon hope to lay down their fears and wickedness. You’ve so far painted a world of freedom to many writers out there. You’ve indeed created a path to many whose mind are restless to change the world. However, the history has your names on it. You have created paths for your kind of person, a person whose pen drives thousands of emotion into braveness. Even if they have not seen it, I have seen and witnessed it from many of those works you shared with us here on the virtual space. I have witnessed the going and coming of age of your creativity through what you have written. It is said that a writer hardly differentiates his or her personality from his or her writings but to tell you the truth, I don’t believe that. There are many hidden symbols in a writer’s life which he or she do not portray in his writing, it is said you are what you write. This, I have seen in many of what you shared with us. Keep the fire burning, keep the hope on and never subject yourself to the mere personality that many have subjected their life to. There is hope when we hold on to what we do, there is hope to this art and act; there is hope holding onto to those things we are made to be. Even if money is not coming from it now, I believe that it will surely come when we keep doing it. Even if friends mock us now like they did to me sometimes ago, we’ll keep writing because we are born writers hoping to change the world for good.
I may not know your personal opinion about our country home. I may not know what and how you have written about her but I’ll urge you to create more room to know how this side of the world drains our dreams out from their source. We should not forget her in our dealings. Listen to the heartbeat of this home and endeavor to tell the generation to come how to overcome so many situations here. Although their own challenge may be different from ours but we have to give them guidelines on how to survive here; we may likely not write on the same theme as writers but we should always consider the matter at stake. We should always consider our home and what it is made of, we should write to correct and to educate and to manage and to build; we should always write with purpose. I know you to be a great writer of a great repute, we look up to you, we, in many times bank on your brevity and inspirations but, we shouldn’t forget home because a man whose home is on fire does not go after the rats.
Furthermore, let’s paint the atmosphere with love from above holding onto honesty and drive which will sustain the next generation of writers. I have been eager to meet you, I have been eager to sit one day with you to talk about our country home, to talk about our culture and tradition and custom but distance has been the enemy. Distance has been the foe that stands between us. When our way shall cross path someday, I will be telling you how good you are and how reserved I have imagined you to be. The warmth your words have made my heart to be, your words keep resounding and awakening the human in me. Although you may not understand this but they are true words, they are real and factual.
Concerning the issues of the heart, I won’t go in to it because it does not please many people when a stranger like me talks about love and marriage to them. But in all, let there be a distinguish pattern through which it is seen. We should always differentiate between lust from the men to love and also Obsessions. When Martins Deep wrote a poem to you, I saw your reaction to it. I saw and read how the statement made you feel. It may be an honour for me to tell you that the man in question does not feel anything else than to appreciate the kind of person you are. I told you earlier that many people out there really look up to you. I have had an opportunity to discuss you with some people on facebook and they told me how great you are and how they long to meet you in person and that is what we all really need as writers. When we touch lives, we should be happy for those we’ve touched their lives. When they plan on meeting us, if the opportunity comes, we shouldn’t deny it from them. We shouldn’t in any way.
When suffragette’s women make case against the overbearing nature of men, they always make the mistake of mixing gender injustices with wickedness in their way of judging or analyzing it which is not supposed to be so. While all gender injustices can be called wickedness, not every wickedness is gender injustice I think you know that. Now, I don’t really know your opinion about man and woman, about feminism and their war against men or rather in what they believe in. Unfortunately, many of our delusional feminists appear not to know where a case falls under the category of gender imbalance or the wickedness of a spouse. No matter how we snake our roots into our skin, nature will still have to take it shape in a way we won’t really understand.
I would have wanted to write more, to ask you about your studies, to ask you about friends, loved ones and family and relatives but I think I have to stop here to give you the freedom to think on what I have written. To give you the freedom to remain who you are. Keep being you and not anyone else.
© John Chizoba Vincent