Spinsterhood: An African Disability!


The day broke with one of those indecisive showers of rain, it seemed like the drops were contemplating between coming down and staying stuck in the skies. Work resumes by 8am dot and Annie was already running late. She jumped into her well worn Toyota Avalon and sped off. The roads were slippery, traffic was crazy, everyone seemed engulfed in a rat race, showing off their best driving and horning skills. Just when she thought she had slithered her way out of the madness, a loud bang shook the frail car, she had been bashed from behind.

“Oh My God! Not today” Annie wailed, stepping out of the car to access the level of damage that had been done. Behind her car was a Honda Element jeep, with a well-fed driver stuffed behind the wheel. He slowly and leisurely stepped out of the car while a few people gathered around: “Madam, I need to talk to your husband, where is your husband? I can’t talk to a woman please, call your husband”.

Rose has been a practising lawyer for ten years. She has distinguished herself in the profession, handling cases up to the Supreme Court with utmost integrity, contributing to journals, being active in the local politics of the professional body, supporting previous leaders-then she thought to herself, why don’t I contest for the leadership of this body? I am hardworking, transparent, loyal, motivated to serve, so, she indicated interest in vying for the position.

She knew that consulting senior and respected lawyers with the aim of winning their support was essential. So, she visited a well respected and one of the most senior lawyers in town. “I have to be honest with you, you will not win. You don’t look married, people will not support you. As a single lady you don’t stand a chance, don’t waste your time.”

N.D had met some hurdles in life, which she successfully scaled through. She had just returned from her National Youth Service Corps and was eagerly hoping for a job. On a certain Sunday, the pastor asked those born in a particular month to stand up, she was born in that month, so she stood. “Ah! N.D before your birthday you will be married! That man must locate you! I remove that evil veil from your face! You will surely celebrate your birthday in your husband’s house”. The whole Church thundered “Amen”, while N.D shuddered with shame, embarrasment and self-pity.

I ran into this tweet, a video showing a massive crowd agitating for their right to self-actualization. I do not believe these people are ready to exercise this right. Even if they are allowed to operate as a nation, they’d fail sooner than later due to greed, tribal sentiments and pure intolerance, I believe they are trying to throw the country into a second civil war, one that we cannot afford. I said this and some guy said: ” Go and get a husband, woman go and get married”. This was supposed to be an intellectual argument.

The above are just a few instances where spinsterhood is seen as an immense disability. A lot of people believe that a single woman has no voice, no identity, no status in the society. She should not speak where “responsible” people are speaking because her single state is as a result of her ‘loose’ lifestyle. “Where was she when her mates were getting married?” Some would query. “What is a woman without her husband?’, and their answer is a resounding ‘Nothing’.

No matter the extent of a single woman’s achievements, professional accolades, academic prowess, business empire, leadership qualities-she is perceived as a nonentity until she crowns her efforts with a man, a husband.

The type of husband does not matter, the depth of the man is of no consequence, his level of love and respect for the woman is not important-all that matters is that a woman must find herself a husband, any husband at all.

Without a husband, an African woman is under an immense disability-one that can only be cured by a man.




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