written by: Uchenna Victoria
Agbérà is gone!
They said it was her time but I know better.
I know she took her own life
because she couldn’t bear it anymore.
I know she was confused and afraid and tired;
she was already losing a grip on her sanity.
She got tired of the rituals and tired of hearing
the hurtful words that were flying around;
that she was going to die on the day of great happiness.
She got tired of seeing the disappointment in the eyes of her parents
who now strongly believe that she hated them for no just cause.
They once said to her, “if you hate the earth so much, why do you keep coming?”
Agbérà got tired of the insidious fear
lodged in her heart like a clog in a wheel
and got tired of the resentment
she was beginning to feel for herself.
When did it all begin?
Her problems began when they found a scar on her left shoulder;
they said they had given it to her the last time she visited.
They had gone on to dig out the amulet
they believed was hers to shuttle with
from a spot they say she pointed at in her sleep.
Then they made her sleep under ‘a tree’ for days,
hoping that her other family will take her back.
After that, she was taken to a river for cleansing.
There, she was flogged and bathed,
and there, they left food items.
I know because she told me.
She tells me everything.
In the end, they pleaded with her to stay
as they offered her all the comfort they could afford.
They said they could make her forget her promise
if they gave her the best of this world.
Agbérà could not make sense of any of it,
so she took her own life.
It was her only brother’s wedding day.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:
Agbérà is gotten from two words: the English word, Aberration (for abnormal) and the Yoruba (of western Nigeria) word, Egbe Orun (or Emere.) It tells the story of a girl child who entered an agreement with her spirit companions to stay a while on earth and go back to them when her time is due, but comes down to earth and does not remember anything. She lives her life trying to make sense of who everyone tells her she is but has to end her own life when she can't make sense out of it all. It turns out that her death confirms what everyone had said about her.
I am a young woman who is seeking out ways to live a life of relevance, and for me, this means adding value to the lives of the people around me. I believe strongly in pooling small efforts and in celebrating small victories. I learnt early enough that it is not in my place to complain about the problems in my immediate community and that has led me to join youth groups that are passionate about driving change in areas of poverty reduction, youth empowerment and gender equality.
What makes me tick? The small things – the very little acts of love, I cherish my “alone time” as much as my sponge cakes and I'm greatly attracted to creative and innovative minds.