Bride Prize

A women's bride prize paid doesn't make her a slave. U bought help as a man. Help that you also should support and not subdue. Help that u should be proud of and not fear. Help that you should love and not be seen as a piece of rag.

Everyone watched in delight as Amaka collected the calabash cup from her uncle. The young girl's eyes were all filled with admiration, and so as the women. The men looked proud as never before- finally, our daughter is getting married. The young men, on the other hand, kept making gestures at her as she walked through the crowd, going to give the cup of palm wine to whom the people seated would recognize as her husband.

Despite the happiness that filled the atmosphere, there was a big frown on Amaka's face. But this didn't stop or add any falls on her outstanding beauty. Amaka- is named after her extreme beauty. Born to the Obikwe family. Her beauty right from birth has caused her to enjoy so many leverages, like women giving a gift to her with the hopes that one day their son would get married to her. One of those leverages was sending her to school with her brother, which was not considered so with the other girls in Oma village. Who was considered as wife material and would be sold off- pardon me, married off to any available suitor. Sending them to school was considered a waste of money. Finishing primary school was enough. The rest they had to learn from their mothers. Precise, school won't teach them to make the tasty ofe'aku that the women of Oma were known for or teach them to keep the house when the husbands have gone to drink palm wine with other men under the big mango tree at the village square. Or teach her hands to farm and produce gracious tubers of yam to be sold or consumed by the family. Ant girl who has gone as far as finishing her secondary Education, her bride prize was a thing of the highest bidder. Women in Oma village were seen as potential housewives.

Not so for Amaka; when she started her primary Education, they had expected she would stop at primary six as her mates would. And stay with mama to educate her on housekeeping. But No, the young child had a desire to continue. Her eyes were open. And she could now see what her other mates were missing out from. Even when she finished secondary school and wanted to go further to the university, nobody questioned her. They even contributed to her Education. Amaka was a goddess, the one that brought beauty to the village. And if her desires were not met, ugliness may befall the village. Also, they hold in their hearts that she would bring a wealthy suitor to the village. The kind that would make Oma praised on the earth. They failed to see that they had dug a grave with their own hands. They have placed a stone that would trip them over when they walk around.

They helped her build a consciousness. An awareness that she could be more than just a housewife, that she could be the goddess the people of Oma saw her be and the goddess they needed.

It was during her second year at the prestigious University of Nsukka that she met Tayo. He was then a student of medicine and surgeon. He's smart and handsome but what drew Amaka to him was his great respect for women. He never saw them as second-class citizens or a piece of property to be owned like the men of Oma village did. He was a decent man. The type you'll call "husband material full option," Amaka fell for him.

After their final exams, she decided- after noticing that their love was real, to introduce her to his family. "No... You can't marry him," papa sneered that evening. Tayo had come for a visit to her village. But for some reason, he had stayed away from the house that evening. "Why ?" Amaka asked, fighting back the tears of disappointment that had clouded her eyes. One thing she had to learn was never to cry in front of a man or because of a man... It made her look weak.

"Because I said so," her father thundered. "Who the hell are u?" Amaka asked as a shock took over the countenance of Mr. Obikwe's face. "What did you just say?" He asked, surprised, moving a few steps towards his daughter to give her a slap that would remind her of her position in the house or maybe to hear clearly what she had said. Either way, Amaka stood mute for some seconds, looking at her father from the corner of her eyes. "Amaka, don't speak to your father like that," it's her mother... Amaka felt anger rush with So much speed through her veins as she heard her mother speak... She tried so much to control her anger which she later did. She wouldn't blame her... She was ignorant... Ignorant of the fact that a woman had the equal right as a man. That the bride prize paid over her head doesn't make her subject to her husband or a slave that her only duty is to bear children when or how the husband wants it, to cook all day. The worst of it that disgusts Amaka the most is that a woman has no say in the affairs of the family. Whether it hurts her or not. No one cares. The man is the man.

" The man you are to marry is Kennedy... Whether you like it or not," Mr. Obikwe barked and turned around, immediately leaving the room for his wife to talk sense into her daughter. "What?... Mama?" Amaka turned to her mother with eyes seeking an explanation for what her father had just said. Her mother lowered her head in shame. If only she could speak when the transaction took place. If only she would have stood by her objection that evening Kennedy and his people came. If only she was strong enough to say No!. But what could she do... She was just a woman... A wife bought with a price. Kennedy was one of those boys whose mother would shower gifts on Amaka- If only she knew that those gifts were a trap. She would have said no to them all. Online other boys, Kennedy didn't go to school. Instead, he went to learn a trade. As chance may have it, he was successful in owning more than 20 shops in and around Oma. Almost 70 percent of the boys in Oma village work for him as salesboys.

"Like it or not, I won't marry any man from Oma village," Amaka said sternly after getting knowledge that her bride price was already paid in full. She had run to meet Tayo, so they'll run away together. Ahhh, if only he was man enough. Instead, he told her to obey her parent. No matter how much he loved her, he won't let her disrespect herself by acting like a low-life village girl. "You are a queen," he said as he planted a kiss on her forehead. That's one thing about decent boys. They have too many morals to keep and too many principles to break. Now, here she was, standing before Kennedy, her worst nightmare. The smile on his face made her sick to the stomach. She stared at him Soo hard that if looks could kill, he would have been dead long ago.

"Alu..." There was a loud scream from the crowd. All eyes followed Amaka as she ran out of the gathering towards her father's house. Kennedy was shocked. He kept on switching glaze from the palm wine poured on the ground to his bride-to-be running to the house. He hit his hands on the table and stood up in the ring. What disrespect. Mr. Obikwe had to calm him down so he didn't run after the median. Everyone understood. Amaka was never interested in the marriage. She was married off without her consent. But what people never understand is why she would reject a man like Kennedy. He was rich and the dream of most girls in Oma. But no. Amaka wasn't after wealth... She is a woman with vision. Kennedy was not in her picture the day that vision was captured... Putting him there now will cause damage to the frame.

How time flies. There was another gathering again at the Obikwe's compound. This time, instead of cheering and music, it was wails and gnashing of teeth. Oma has lost her priceless possession. The only sun that brought brightness to the land. She would have been the salvation of Oma people. She was a step away. She had gotten a seat as a senator in the state house of representative. Haven did Soo much for the people that they were ready for her to become their governor. But No. A man won't have that. Her husband can't stand his wife becoming head over him. She is his prize. He bought her a huge sum. He owns her. And she was to remain where ever he kept her. She was the wife. And she would be the wife... Nothing more, anything less. Not a governor... She is stubborn. Despite the ill-treatment, she had always been strong for her people, for the women she stood for. Despite the bearings, her head never bowed in surrender. She was a fighter.

She focused on the hope she was to bring home Ugo (glory). "Turugo lota (bring home the glory)." Her mother told her when she told her about her Ambition to become the state governor. It was something big. Something the whole of Oma people has never dreamt of. Not the men. Now a woman has stepped so high to do this... Why won't fear come on them? Why won't their ignorant brain speak less?. She has become the icon of Soo and many girls in and around Oma village. Now the village men could send their daughters as far as they could go in Education. But what happened? The sun sets at dawn. How? Her husband was scared of her, and so he maltreated her till her body couldn't take it anymore. The wail increased as the black SUV van that conveyed her coffin was open, and six men came out to shoulder the coffin. Her mother was in deep pain. She had cried till tears could no longer come out of her eyes. Obikwe's hands were folded, and his teeth kept chewing on his lips in regret. Kai. What a life. What a waste. Amaka is dead. Kennedy had killed her.

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