Renowned Nollywood actress Stella Damasus pens a novel about the challenges of being a girl in a patriarchal world. Titled Màmá, It’s A Girl, the book was self-published through her media and publishing company ADIVA Networks on March 13.
Màmá, It’s A Girl is a novel about a feisty and resilient young African girl named Teno. The novel is set in the fictional town of Kaminwanaga where people have always lived by strict, burdensome rules designed to favor a patriarchal world. But Temu’s birth and coming-of-age story disrupts the status quo.
In Temu, Damasus gives us a character that evokes a practice among African feminist writers to imagine characters that prove to be too much for systems designed to keep them down. Strong, inquisitive, intelligent, and defiant, Temu recalls Buchi Emecheta’s Adah in Second Class Citizen (1974). Just like Adah, Temu brings to our attention the systemic barriers that a person faces for the mere fact of being female. But we also see her defy the world of Kaminwanaga, convinced that there is more for her beyond its policed and constricting boundaries. A series of life-altering events, both good and bad, lead her to grow into the woman who would change the course of history for her people.
Damasus is a Nigerian actress with a decades-long career. She has been nominated for and won several awards in Nigeria and the US. Aside from acting, she is also a singer, acting coach, speaker, producer, and, now, author. Writing fiction expands the impact of her decades-long creative career. With Màmá, It’s A Girl, Damasus engages with experiences that resonate with some of her most iconic acting roles through which she channeled the bravery of women who stand up against repressive systems.
In an interview, Damasus remarks that the themes of Màmá, It’s A Girl are quite close to her heart as she has always fought for the rights of women, young girls, and children in African communities. This zeal for justice led her to establish the Stella Damasus Arts Foundation through which she provides economic, intellectual, and emotional support to women and girls in society using the arts as a primary tool. The novel is part of a multi-faceted advocacy efforts to center the lives and experiences of girls against a world that tries to diminish their worth.
Watch the artistic visual representation of the novel here, including some sneak peeks of Damasus acting:
Kudos to Damasus for applying her passion for feminist activism to fiction writing. If you enjoy African feminist fiction featuring strong female protagonists such as Ebele Chizea’s Aquarian Dawn and Rimma Onoseta’s How You Grow Wings, then Damasus’ Màmá, It’s A Girl is right up your alley! Be sure to check it out on Amazon below.