Never talk about African women as if they were individuals. Remember: they are a monolithic group. There is the African Woman of which there are two subgroups: the Bad African Woman (BAW) and the Good African Woman (GAW). It really is as simple as that. Members of each group are easy to spot:
The Bad African Woman is a feminist which means that she hates men and spends her days pretending to be happy and her nights crying in loneliness because she has put career before marriage. Note: it doesn’t matter whether she’s married or not, that’s beside the point. For her, always use adjectives like ‘bitter’, ‘frustrated’, ‘sad’. She wants to corrupt your wives and your daughters and your sisters by telling them that they matter, that they deserve good things like respect and equality. Anybody who tells you otherwise is either lying to you or doesn’t know any better. Don’t listen to them. You are a Real African Man (RAM), you know these things.
The Good African Woman knows that her place is somewhere between domestic help with benefits and a mere child. Useful words to describe her are ‘angelic’, ‘wife-material’, ‘true’. She’s the TRUE African woman. She is always happy. Even when she looks sad on the outside, you know that her inside is happy. You marry her. Then you work her like a horse. She cooks, she cleans, she sings no matter how tired she is. She is long-suffering. She values you. You both know that without you, she cannot be. If you’re that husband who likes to eat fresh egusi every day, she makes it for you no matter how inconveniencing it is. You can’t eat food made by anyone but your wife? She drags herself to the kitchen to cook it no matter how exhausted she is. She’s grateful for this. Everybody knows that once you eat food made by anyone else, including yourself, your eyes will stray. Or a colossal asteroid will crash into the earth and cause a catastrophic destruction. The GAW is a child for you to mould. You decide her friends. How is she to live in this big, bad world without your guidance? If she works, she knows to hand her salary over to you as soon as she receives it, and then you give her an allowance as you see fit. If she needs the allowance raised, she must justify it, preferably in writing. There are sample letters on Twitter (written by GAW wives and generously shared by Real African Men like you).
You may hear the BAW spouting words like ‘toxic masculinity’ or ‘patriarchy’ or ‘misogyny’ or ‘oppression’ or ‘sexism.’ Or saying such nonsense like how culture isn’t static. Tell her she has forgotten her values and where she comes from. Ask her why she wants to be “like a white woman. We are not Europeans. We are Africans!” Because she is obstinate and doesn’t know her place, she won’t let you have the last word. She may bring up the 1929 Aba Women’s Protest or Funmi Ransome Kuti or Queen Amina or Queen Karibasa or Queen Idia or Mekatilili wa Menza, or the Agoji warriors or her grandmother who raised 10 children and put them all through school by herself as proof that her values are not imported, that being strong and fighting for equality is not un-African. She may tell you that you are the one creating a revisionist history of the subservient, docile African woman to suit you, that the idea of the African woman as weak and passive is a legacy of colonialism. Don’t be surprised if she drags up some ancestor of hers who went to the farm in the morning and gave birth at home in the evening to a healthy child while her Victorian counterparts were busy fainting into couches because the ideal European woman of that era was supposed to be frail. This is how you must respond: Laugh. Make a condescending remark. Or two. Tell her no man will marry her with that attitude. If she’s already married, pity her husband. Some men really get no break in life.
This is really important: if you meet a BAW behaving badly (aren’t they always?) say, talking back at you, remind her that you ‘keep’ one of her at home. It doesn’t matter who she is or who you are, if you are a man you deserve her respect. You know this. The GAW knows this. The BAW needs to be taught this. Throw it in her face if she doesn’t. You can threaten to beat it into her. That’s what those hands are for. Sometimes, your hands need to do the talking for you. Don’t they say that actions speak louder than words?
Are you a RAM still looking for more information on how to treat the African Woman (good or bad)? Or how to tell the good one from the bad one? I have curated a supplementary reading list for you below:
Femi Fani Kayode’s ‘How to Keep a Lady’ (Google it). It includes gems such as “They are like little children…they are like race horses: they must be mastered, tamed, trained, exercised and regularly serviced. They are like race cars: their engine must be revved at least twice a day.”
Reno Omokri’s ‘Nuggets’ (check his Twitter). His nuggets include “Finance her (your wife’s) life and she will call you my Lord [sic]” and the warning that “FEMINISM is ANTI CHRIST and of devilish origin [sic].”
TL of various Real African Men (RAM) like you. Pity about the unfortunate acronym.
This article was originally published on Daily Trust.
COMMENTS ( 4 ) -
Adepoju, Isaiah Gbenga May 12, 2021 09:58
Chika Unigwe's (GAW) wordpower is spontaneous. This is satire at its best for the Good African Man whose idea of a Good Wife is sterility, flexibility in dispensing her domestic duties, her negligence of the world around her - politics, social construct, academics, etc, etc. I feel most times that Female subjugation is still prevalent even after the generation of the Aidoo's 'Anowa' and "Our Sister, Killjoy' and several others have not been docile, affirming the role of the feminine in the sphere of the human life. The part of Ransomme Kuti is beautiful, and the Aba Women riot too. Good AFrican Men likes to dispute the categorization imposed on us by our colonial counterparts; that women have always been docile and their responsibility is in domesticated works. That's preposterous, that conclusion. Somewhat illogical. But reading theories advocating for the feminine, trying to sensitize on the difference between femininity and femaleness, and the establishment of such movement as Fight Against Female Genital Mutilation and the One-pad-up-Girl, establishments for the feminine, i feel freedom from every premeditated beliefs is subjective. Its a task for every person. Because stereotyped-stories and deductions are always incomplete and derogative, debilitating what little progress we have made. Whether this dogmas is concurrent with Okri's dream about existentialism as cyclical is debatable; for as Osofisan said, "freedom must be perpetually demanded." Essays like this gives me hope that a Chika Unigwe is still there for the feminine. Thumps-Up Ma.
Dawla Kodi May 06, 2021 11:58
Why do people say ,bad women there is no bad but their is a woman who knows her rights,and one who doesn't. There one who is made slave by her own parent husband, community, culture , awoman is human just like the man ,A child is a child boy or a girl
Victor May 05, 2021 19:24
Hot takes and what not. I love this.
Chideraa April 17, 2021 15:41
Unigwe delivers every time! So much wit!