Afrosays to me

…random excerpts from my communions with the AfroMuse

Decades II – The Final Decade (71-80) September 26, 2011

Filed under: Decades — Betty @ 10:01 am
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The Decades project II.

Thanks for waiting. In case you missed the preview, find it here so you know what to expect. If you’re not sure what Decades is about, kindly check the preview out.

Decades II – very much like the original Decade project – explores the wholesomeness of womanhood as lived in ten-year intervals; Girls; Ladies; Women; Mothers; grand and great-grand mothers all. They live the same life we live, experience the same joys and pains unique to their decades and maybe we can learn a thing or two from them. Find the subtle connections that link their lives together and get lost in stories told. Decades II.

Please do subscribe to the blog to follow the project. (Column to the right for PC browsers or in the comment section). Also, we hope that you’d be kind enough to leave a comment. Your feedback is important to us.

The Final Decade (71-80) by ‘Pemi Aguda @UberBetty


ENTER @UberBetty
“Iya ni wura iye biye…”
I think the band’s lead singer is dressed too shabbily. What business does a man have wearing such fitted clothes? I grunt and shift my head a few degrees to the left. I can see everyone from this ridiculous throne made of cane that they have put me on. The linen they have thrown over it does nothing to prevent this abrasive lace from scraping against my skin. I long for my well-worn Ankara wrapper that rests easily on my flattened bosom. But I couldn’t wear that here. I am after all, not mad.
But do they know this? They don’t. They believe me loony. I do nothing to dispel this notion. I am quiet. Because they do not understand my words, I am quiet. The soup does not move around in the elder’s belly.
“Maamaa is eighty! Eight to the zero! Eight to the zero!”
What is this child singing? They also think my hearing is poor; but it is better this way. It was my ‘poor hearing’ that helped me overhear Busola and Funlola plotting to sell my house from under my withered bottom. I got Razak’s son to scrawl ‘This House Is Not for Sale’ on the wall in black paint. They had scolded him when they saw it but Razak is fiercely loyal. Unlike them, my own brood.
“I want to give this toast to the best grandma in the world…”
I squint to see Nike, omo Olakunle, speaking. I grunt again. Lies. Her large body is filled with lies. For she hates me. It is the gift of sight I have that caused this. Five years ago, on my 75th birthday, she had come with her fiancé. It was my first time seeing him because the family only gathers on my doorstep when there is a birth, death or anniversary.
“Don’t marry him. For his eyes are shifty.” I had whispered to her. “If you don’t pay attention to the pot, the contents will spill and quench the fire.” She reacted strongly, stomping out of the house with the boy in tow. Two years later, they’d split, and she was fatter yet. He had another wife in Ibadan. She called me a witch.
I have given up on them. They look at me strangely when I burst into laughter at will. They do not know it is their foolishness that amuses me. The great-grandson, just seven years on earth, is already rude like his mother; walking around with those wires dangling from his ears.
“I hate grandma’s house! It smells!” I’ve heard him say. How would he know that it is the herbs I have mixed and prayed over so he doesn’t fall ill that fouls the air?
I often wonder if the twins I gave up before I was a woman would have turned out this way. What could a 16 year old give not one but two babies? I do not regret that choice. The woman vowed she would take them to good homes. I burn two sacrifices every year for them.
Perhaps, if Fola was here, they’d be more respectful. Afolabi, my soulmate, olowoorimi, my husband. He has been gone twenty two years now. Stolen from me, wrenched from my arms by the ruthless diabetes. But he left me well off, with a fat account and memories of a good marriage.
“Mama, come and cut your cake!” My first son, Olamide bellows. He is a man of the spirits; I hear he spends all his ill-earned money on green bottles and little girls that rub his distended belly. He surely did not take after his father; the gods forbid it!
I stand and walk slowly to the tall cake with the big 80 standing atop. Razak rushes forward to help me, I grin at him. I see my daughters laughing with their society friends, Olakunle is on the phone, and Olamide is ogling one of the scrawny waitresses. The grandchildren are nowhere to be found.
My 80th. This is all for show. They don’t really care either way.
“Let’s spell eighty!” He booms again and some people stand.
They’ve forgotten the hours of labour and breastfeeding.
They’ve forgotten the work I did to feed them before their father came into money; why my hands are scarred. They can’t know, afterall, a child’s fingers are not scalded by a piece of hot yam which his mother puts into his palm.
They’ve forgotten my prayers, my vigils by their sick beds; my sacrifices to the gods.
They’ve forgotten my intercessions, when they wronged their father; the plots to win back his affection. My mother used to say- “We should talk while we are still alive.”
They’ve forgotten my long journeys to their homes, to welcome their own children to the earth; to teach them how to teach their young ones. Or can the young teach traditions to the old?
They’ve forgotten. Or maybe they never noticed.
It is why I’ve decided that when I die tomorrow night – yes, I’ve seen it! – it is Razak, my husband’s loyal driver turned housekeeper, that will have all that money I never spent.
The knife goes down. They have turned to look at me now. The idiots.
ENTER @tangodeucealpha

The vantage point, of crystal clarity,
damning wisdom, foresight earned
I hear what they hear not
See what they cannot imagine
The truth emerges
Jutting across the landscapes
Of memory itself.



FIND THE ART OF @UberBetty here and there on AfroSays and every Tuesday on The Naked Convos and the art of @tangodeucealpha here
– The AfroSays team (thatDarkBetty, thatAfroSays)
– All the decade writers: @CeceNoStockings, @UcheAnne, @JadenTM, @Zaffiro, @weird_oo, @MsDania, @BoukkieO, @_Aeda
– All the poets :@koromonay, @tecknicoleurGrl, @_Ayaba, @maria_kesh, @nwaokpoechi, @UcheAnne, @d3ola, MsDuro
– The banner designs (thatAfroSays)
– All the insightful commentators, we appreciate your input on helping us improve our art.
– the twitter RT team (We love all of you!)
– Dami Itabiyi 🙂
GREEN NATION (A follow up to The Making Of Window Maker) by @HL_Blue coming soon…

49 Responses to “Decades II – The Final Decade (71-80)”

  1. papyrusczar Says:

    This is beautiful. Even standing,the child can never see what an elder sees sitting. I see why betty was the last. The best piece of them all. A wonderful finish! Kudos

  2. phantompages Says:

    BRAVO! Fantastic ending! My best story of the lot! Oh and I love my grandma! Very strong-willed woman! Three happy cheers for Decades II!

  3. phantompages Says:

    BRAVO! Fantastic! My best story of the lot! Oh and I love my grandma! Very strong-willed woman! Three happy cheers for Decades II!

  4. Betty Says:

    I called my grandmother before this went up. Just so I don’t feel guilty.. 😀

  5. BoukkieO Says:

    Betty, *doffs hat*

  6. Ayaba Says:

    This is the perfect end to the decades project. I loved all of it Pemi, well except the much needed guilt trip it’s taken me on. Calling my grandma is definitely on my to-do list today..
    Weldone hun…WELDONE!!!

  7. awizii Says:

    A beautiful end to a beautiful series. Awesome. The poem was beautiful and said everything that needed to be said.

    I’ve lost both my grandparents on my mom and dad’s side…I never even met my grandfathers. They died before I was born, but I loved my grandma (on my mom’s side) dearly, she was so wise and kind, a wisdom gained by her years of sojourn on this earth. May their souls rest in perfect peace.

    Congrats to Pemi and to everyone who contributed to making the Decades II series such a great read. Salute!

  8. foluwa Says:

    So I’ve bin waitin 4 betty’s piece since… Twas gr8t. Wat did dami itabiyi do?

  9. PreyingMantis Says:

    Ms Betty, this is BRILLIANT. Like something from a stage play. You made me cum with this story, the perfect climax.
    Ms tangodeucealpha, lovely poem.

    My best writers for decades II in no particular order:

    Thank you ladies. Amazing literature.

  10. JadenTM Says:

    Whoop! Very well done.

  11. jessica Says:

    At the risk of being vain…. 1st!!!!

  12. misTYbikers Says:

    a very perfect end 2 a series of beautiful stories

  13. SlevinCalevra Says:

    What a swansong!
    This felt like a recital. Maybe some kind of drama script and I’m not even ashamed when I say I put out my best immitation of a grannie’s voice and read this out loud. The story is told from one angle (the eightieth birthday) but I see your subtle attempts with referrals towards events that happened within the decade. A la the 75th birthday event and the other happenings mentioned.
    However, like every good finalé, it is a summary of her entire life with the twins debacle at 16 to her widowing at 58 and finally to her death at 80. *Standing applause, Betty Boop*

    To the poem, I agree. A child can boast to have clothes more than the elderly but can never have rags like them. What we see standing, they see seated on a low stool.
    I totally enjoyed this series.

    *meanwhile, Razaq has ‘hammered’ o!*

  14. jay Says:

    I wasn’t really close to my maternal grandma until towards the tym she died! I cried so much wen I hrd! Now I’m married,i wish I had spent more tym with her! All my cousins who did now tell me stories of their times together! She was really wise n fun to be with!

    Its sad when children end up not appreciating the efforts of their parents! This woman’s children obviously dint give a hoot about her! Very sad!

    Really nice piece, great end to a wonderful series! Now going to start from d first again! KUDOS Betty and all the other writers!

  15. Kesh Says:

    Oh My God. Beautiful. That’s all i can say. The Poem? Vivid. Beautifully Vivid. Pemi! Well done! tangodeucealpha, we are friends already. Whether you like it or not! Lovely poem.

  16. Thetoolsman Says:

    Clap. Clap. Clap.

    Now to start all over again 🙂

  17. MsDuro Says:

    Pemi brilliant work *doffs hat*

    To all the decade II writers and poets, you all deserve a standing ovation… Thanks for educating us and keeping us entertained as well… Me especially…

  18. MsDuro Says:

    Pemi brilliant work *doffs hat*

    To all the decade II writers and poets, you all deserve a standing ovation… Thanks for educating us and keeping us entertained as well…

  19. OOkpoechi Says:

    Omg so birriful! Great way to end the Decades.

  20. thatifygirl Says:

    This is amazing! The layout, the delivery, I love the injection of proverbs. Nothing like wonderful proverbs to make a sweet story sweeter. My people say that ‘Proverbs are the palm oil with which words are eaten.’
    Ms Betty, well done!
    Everything was on point. Including the poem. A very grande ending!
    *sigh* I’m not usually a gusher like this but…
    Well done ladies. All of you. 🙂


  22. Moh Says:

    Amazing work I hav 2say. N it finished with a bang @razaq I’m sure its gona b epic wen they find out. Pls add an epilogue(abi prologue) but nyc 1 babe u killed it. I’ll say this is my best part of the decade stories (dodging shoes from dania) lookin 4ward to the next set.
    Buh I’ll defo hav 2kal grandmumc tho so I won’t feel 2bad

  23. Wow, Betty. Of course, I didn’t expect anything less. *prostrates*

  24. lade Says:

    great finale……

  25. Mo Says:

    oh Lord!!! Please UberBetty, why do you always have to be this awesome…sigh

  26. I love this and the second Decade the most for two things. first both had the most authentic voices. Secondly they most adhered to the idea of a decade, they didnt dally in the past at all. I love this piece cos you can see the wisdom permeate everyword. I lost both my grandparents on both sides, the most recent being in 2008. I loved my paternal grandfather the most. He was an intensely kind man if though a little too obliging. The female decades project is an amazing thing. I’m waiting for books from all of y’all!

    @edgothboy for PassTheSalt!

  27. The 13th Alchemist Says:


    There are no words.

    No words.

  28. Tahir Says:

    Thought provoking. Beauty-FULL. Thank you!

  29. Qghaz Says:

    I bow o, this is a wonderful piece

  30. deevagal Says:

    Wow! Betty Killed this… The Perfect end! Deserves a standing ovation.. Loved it

  31. Ngufy Says:

    I enjoyed this series with every bit of my hart! Kudos to Y’all who compiled….. Twas beatifully written and sequential….

  32. Funmibi Says:

    That’s my Pemi! I didn’t expect anything less anyway. Its a beautiful way to end this lovely Decades.

    Kudos to all the writers, you all are doing a very great job!

    The sky’s just the beginning for you all.

  33. 0latoxic Says:

    Great concluding piece to a great series. Thank you, Betty. Thank you all.

  34. izzi Says:

    This is beautiful…i happened to see it and i’ve been hooked…

  35. dunni dada Says:

    nice work pemi… this is a quality piece of writing. keep it up

  36. Dee Says:

    Bravo Pemi. A wonderful conclusion to the series.
    Would love to see the look on the faces of the children when they realize mama didn’t leave them a dime.
    Loved the Decades II. You ladies all rock

  37. Emioluwa Says:

    One word *awesomeness*…
    I don’t blame u, dis is greatness…
    This is certainly the best piece I have read from u…apart from it bein original and gracefully structured as always…u were able to relate ‘in and out’ with the emotions of ur readers…
    Didn’t plan to type this much but like I said…awesomeness.

  38. kay Says:

    I connected so much through out the series. Was breath taking in areas. Love it over again. The grande finale was beautiful, I didn’t want it to end. I always suspect old ppl know wen they are going to die.

  39. Kemmiiii Says:

    Ooh. You just had to save the best for last.
    I found this really amusing…
    I tried to read this in my Grandma’s voice but nah. It dint work. Just hope she dosent think of us this way. Lol
    Anyways Congrats to you guys. You made my Friday morning (y)

  40. yemijohnson Says:

    just read all the stories from the beginning to end and i must say that it was everything i wanted to see. I even cried. Your poets were amazing. Adjectives elude me on describing the pure awesomeness of this idea as a post. Let me stop here. I envy the DECADE CREW.

  41. Atoke Says:

    Fab work hun!!!

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