The character is Nnu Ego.
Novel, Joys of Motherhood
Author, Buchi Emecheta.
Nnu Ego is an epitome of the African motherhood, as it was and as it is today. Buchi Emecheta, through her novel, highlights the difficulties that women go through in their longing for children, and how much of their lifetime is spent in caring for them. Motherhood issues specified in the book spans the pre-colonial to the colonial times. However, in the 21st century, things have not changed. Lagos remains the city where every ‘Jason’ searches for the ‘golden fleece’. Whether in the ‘royal’ Isale Eko, the Ajegunle ghettoes, or the opulent flood plains of Lekki, mothers still seek the success of their children, especially the male child.
This is what Nnu Ego represents in the novel. While women have found many rightful ways to defy the common enemy (their husbands), they are yet to learn ways to defy their children, especially the male ones (future husbands to women). This irony baffles me, yet it captivates me about the character, Nnu Ego and indeed motherhood. However, it is within these painful walls of irony that mothers (just like Nnu Ego) find the ultimate joy; to bear children, and see to their growth, doing every possible thing to make it come true.
Mothers long to satisfy their husbands with male children. They develop probable means to make them better, but they turn out as newer versions of their fathers. Yet, motherhood hasn’t protested. While African womanhood keeps changing with different shades of feminism, African motherhood has retained its ancient focus. Nnu Ego remains the predominant chi of African motherhood. Maybe things will change in the near future. It’s a guess.
-Francis Titiloye. I reside in Lagos.