I have always known my mother married my father through some diabolical means.
To be honest, it was no fault of my mum, she was young and was sent to live in the city as house help to the man who later became my father. Now, I know my grandfather died as a priest of Ifa. He was a traditional herbalist, if you like to call him that.
This is what I know.
So when my mother, who at that time was barely out of her teens was recruited to go and be a house help in the big city, which I will choose not to name, her father fortified her with plenty of charms and ‘insurance.’ His mandate was that my mother would be so liked by the man of the house, she would become his wife.
Of course the man of the house, who is now my father was a rich man…you know, with plenty of other servants.
The story I heard was that my mum was very dutiful, she carried out her job as a good help and soon, the madam of the wife, who later became my own step mum, made my mum the one closest to her in the house. She became the one who served her and cooked their food.
She got that close to them.
See, I won’t say my mum was cunning or anything as such, I don’t even think she knew her father’s charms were going to work. I think she just took to her duties and soon became loved by the madam in the house, it was after that, that the man of the house, who later became my father, noticed her, fell in love with her and they began an affair…a secret affair, I would imagine.
Of course, my mum got pregnant and at that age, I think she was just a little over 18years, she was afraid, scared that she would be sent away especially if her madam found out.
I don’t have the details, who will tell me such details?
Anyway, the age difference was close to twenty years, so in a way, it couldn’t really be my mum’s fault, to that extent.
Well, she got pregnant and like in the classical story, her madam wanted to send her packing to the village. The man responsible for it said, no. He was the first to sleep with her and knew that that pregnancy was his own.
I imagine there was a lot of wahala, a lot of fights, a lot of cursing and all that…I heard that my father’s first wife then attempted to remove my mum through diabolical means…I guess she forgot my mum’s dad was a deadlier juju man!
I am guessing my father realsied he couldn’t keep two women who had super powers in the house and so he let go of his first wife…that’s my guess plus my mum was of course younger, prettier…and good for his ego, I suppose.
My mum stayed and gave birth to 7 of us; she also raised the only daughter of the first wife as her own.
Now, of course there are various versions to this story; I never heard these from my parents, my mum certainly never discussed any of these with us, she only said she came to work in the house and my dad fell in love with her and the first wife decided she didn’t want to share her husband, even though my mum said she wasn’t even ready to “drag” the man with her…
Anyway, the other versions I picked up from people outside, many of them didn’t know who I was when they were telling the story and I want to believe the version about my grandfather, having a hand in all of this because I grew up knowing him as a “jazz man.”
Now; you asked me what I felt about this whole affair. What am I supposed to feel?
I am totally innocent of what transpired before I was born. I had no hand in it and did not encourage it in anyway.
Am I proud of what my mum did? I can only tell you my mum is as much a victim as everyone involved in the matter apart from my grandfather who orchestrated everything from the beginning and as we speak, the man has been dead for close to 15years.
We called him Babale, he was the one who infused charm and whatever it was into my mum, as a way to protect her and bring her good luck. Whatever he gave to my mum, ensured she got a rich husband regardless of class, regardless of age, love came and they have both been married for more than 35years!
Ask me where the first wife is, I have no idea; nobody talks about her, even sister, our eldest sister, who is her first child, doesn’t talk about her own mother…it’s almost as if she never existed!
You ask whether this is this fair?
My answer is another question; is the world fair?
(Series written and edited by Peju Akande and based on true stories)