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Joy’s status changed eventually in rapid successions from ‘flat mate’ to live-in-lover thus warranting

the late night call from Tony on this Saturday. He said he was now wondering if maybe

he had made the right decision by going to Nigeria to marry Maggie

 

 

Nyanga Dey Sleep

By Uche Nworah

 

I screen Tony’s (not his real name) calls these days, not that he is a stalker, wife snatcher or swapper or anything like that but he is one of those ‘strong-headed’ people who are set in their ways, having made up their minds over an issue, such individuals still go ahead calling up friends and family for advice over matters they have already decided what their course of action will be. It is because I know that nothing I tell him will make him change his mind over his present match to perdition that I’m saving myself the ‘talk-time’ by simply avoiding his calls. Moreover, Tony has a habit of calling at odd times and almost always wants to spend an eternity on the phone with you discussing only his matter, which you probably must have discussed with him a million times previously.

He called me up again on Saturday night, but for some reasons managed to slip through my ‘security’ screening, I was already in deep slumber when the call came through and must have quickly picked up the bedside telephone so as not to disturb the one sleeping beside me. Almost immediately, Tony launched into his drones again, but this time with another twist, this probably got my attention and I quickly left the room to give him my full attention.

Maybe I should retrace back a bit here to the genesis of his story and saga. Tony left Nigeria almost immediately after graduating from university in Nigeria, he never went back again until 2005 (almost 10 years later) when he went to marry this girl he claims he has known from birth. Before going on that trip, I remember that we had so many discussions on the gamble of simply rushing off to Nigeria for just two weeks to marry a girl he hardly knew, many diasporan Nigerians who have attempted such stunts in the past may still not have recovered from the emotional and financial trauma. Tony went to Nigeria and came back after two weeks happy that he was now a married man. We all rejoiced with him and couldn’t wait to meet his wife when finally she arrives into the UK

While in Nigeria, Tony also filed for spousal visa for his new bride at the United Kingdom High Commission in Lagos. He had hoped that his wife would be able to join him almost immediately but that has not happened yet, the ‘almighty’ visa officers at High Commission are dragging their feet asking for this and that from Tony and Maggie (not her real name), finally the High Commission refused Maggie’s visa application on the grounds of suspected convenience/arranged marriage. Tony has now appealed to the United Kingdom Immigration Appellate Authority and the hearing is scheduled for December 2006.  The whole process has now stretched to over a year by which time Tony could no longer bear the Liverpool cold alone, like they say, person body no be firewood.

Tony started seeing Joy (not her real name), a 23 year-old South African girl on a temporary basis; in the beginning he claimed she was just a ‘friend’ but soon the handshake extended to the elbow and Tony changed his story. Joy then became a ‘course mate’ from his post-graduate class, a little later her status changed again to that of ‘companion’, whatever that meant. Anyway, it wasn’t really my issue but since Tony wanted to tell, well, I let him carry on.   

Whether it was as a result of this trait in men to find willing and unwilling male accomplices in their friends anytime they are veering off course, or just a guilt feeling on Tony’s part I would never know but he surely was bent on letting me in on what he is up to up there in Liverpool, and expected me to accept his rationalisations and justifications.

Joy’s status changed eventually in rapid successions from ‘flat mate’ to live-in-lover thus warranting the late night call from Tony on this Saturday. He said he was now wondering if maybe he had made the right decision by going to Nigeria to marry Maggie in the first place, increasingly he says, he is beginning to notice a whole lot of things - the ‘civilisation’ gap between Maggie and himself, the lack of shared interest, her ‘funny’ way of speaking English on the phone, her family’s desperation and burden on his finances, Maggie’s inadequacies in the beauty department, her bedroom naivety. Tony reeled them off on the phone and I listened, but I didn’t really mind him because I knew what had happened. It wasn’t just the embassy that had caused his apparent change in direction; Tony had tasted the mythical forbidden fruit of South African girls, famed for their loose and raunchy lifestyles. Joy the 23 year old South African girl had simply ignited Tony’s fire again, a man tottering on the edges of 40.

Perhaps Joy had done to Tony what no woman had ever done to him; she may have shown him a side of  South  African women which confirms the myth that many Nigerians living in that country have since screamed about. Tony said Joy was vivacious and fun unlike the dour Maggie. He praised her natural endowments which he likened to Beyonce’s.  

And what do you plan to do next I asked him?

Tony ran off a few possibilities, he has begun the process of changing his home telephone number to avoid any potential clash between wife and sweetheart when he is not at home. He plans to let Maggie’s visa process run through, he believes that if he wins the appeal and helps Maggie to get the spousal visa, that would be a sort of compensation for all her troubles and she would let him be, at least she won’t lose out completely he reasoned.

However, Tony fears that there might be a Catch-22 in all these, which is what Maggie may do to him, assuming she doesn’t wish to accept any compensatory or token spousal visa form him. He says that Maggie is an Mbaise girl (Imo state) and wanted to know if I knew anything about the supposed viciousness of Mbaise girls. I couldn’t help him much here, I didn’t want him coming back to me tomorrow claiming that I had said this or that. All I told him was that he should let Maggie know the scores before ever she boards the flight out of Nigeria whenever the spousal visa approval comes through. Mbaise girl or not, I told him that the lesser evil would be in letting her know now, rather than allowing her to come into the UK and telling her on arrival. There is no telling the reactions of a woman scorned.

As to Joy, well she is gone off to South Africa at Tony’s expense to announce to her family of her Nigerian catch. She would be coming back soon to start shopping for baby clothes, yes a baby is already on the way.

Call this a gathering of the storm if you wish but Tony sees it differently, ‘I’m happy’, was his last word on the phone that Saturday night. Surely this Act has not been played to the end yet, you can bet on it, how could it when Nyanga dey sleep trouble come wake am?

November 2006. info@uchenworah.com

19 November 2006

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

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The New Jim Crow

Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

By Michele Alexander

Contrary to the rosy picture of race embodied in Barack Obama's political success and Oprah Winfrey's financial success, legal scholar Alexander argues vigorously and persuasively that [w]e have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it. Jim Crow and legal racial segregation has been replaced by mass incarceration as a system of social control (More African Americans are under correctional control today... than were enslaved in 1850). Alexander reviews American racial history from the colonies to the Clinton administration, delineating its transformation into the war on drugs. She offers an acute analysis of the effect of this mass incarceration upon former inmates who will be discriminated against, legally, for the rest of their lives, denied employment, housing, education, and public benefits. Most provocatively, she reveals how both the move toward colorblindness and affirmative action may blur our vision of injustice: most Americans know and don't know the truth about mass incarceration—but her carefully researched, deeply engaging, and thoroughly readable book should change that.—Publishers Weekly

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Salvage the Bones

A Novel by Jesmyn Ward

On one level, Salvage the Bones is a simple story about a poor black family that’s about to be trashed by one of the most deadly hurricanes in U.S. history. What makes the novel so powerful, though, is the way Ward winds private passions with that menace gathering force out in the Gulf of Mexico. Without a hint of pretension, in the simple lives of these poor people living among chickens and abandoned cars, she evokes the tenacious love and desperation of classical tragedy. The force that pushes back against Katrina’s inexorable winds is the voice of Ward’s narrator, a 14-year-old girl named Esch, the only daughter among four siblings. Precocious, passionate and sensitive, she speaks almost entirely in phrases soaked in her family’s raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brother’s “blood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . . His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt.” Her father’s hands “are like gravel,” while her own hand “slides through his grip like a wet fish,” and a handsome boy’s “muscles jabbered like chickens.” Admittedly, Ward can push so hard on this simile-obsessed style that her paragraphs risk sounding like a compost heap, but this isn’t usually just metaphor for metaphor’s sake. She conveys something fundamental about Esch’s fluid state of mind: her figurative sense of the world in which all things correspond and connect. She and her brothers live in a ramshackle house steeped in grief since their mother died giving birth to her last child. . . . What remains, what’s salvaged, is something indomitable in these tough siblings, the strength of their love, the permanence of their devotion.—WashingtonPost

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Hopes and Prospects

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In this urgent new book, Noam Chomsky surveys the dangers and prospects of our early twenty-first century. Exploring challenges such as the growing gap between North and South, American exceptionalism (including under President Barack Obama), the fiascos of Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S.-Israeli assault on Gaza, and the recent financial bailouts, he also sees hope for the future and a way to move forward—in the democratic wave in Latin America and in the global solidarity movements that suggest "real progress toward freedom and justice." Hopes and Prospects is essential reading for anyone who is concerned about the primary challenges still facing the human race. "This is a classic Chomsky work: a bonfire of myths and lies, sophistries and delusions. Noam Chomsky is an enduring inspiration all over the world—to millions, I suspect—for the simple reason that he is a truth-teller on an epic scale. I salute him." —John Pilger

In dissecting the rhetoric and logic of American empire and class domination, at home and abroad, Chomsky continues a longstanding and crucial work of elucidation and activism . . .the writing remains unswervingly rational and principled throughout, and lends bracing impetus to the real alternatives before us.—
Publisher's Weekly

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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