Sunday, July 27, 2008


The response below is from yet another friend of tAB, Bimbo, who is part of remarkable initiative trying to change the circumstances of underprivileged children in Nigeria for the step at a time. With Love From Friends (WLFF) is a not-for-profit organisation founded by some six friends who came together to make a positive contribution to the advancement of quality education in Africa. WLFF aims to assist charities and community school projects in Nigeria to raise funds, improve infrastructure and provide basic resources. Do stop by their blog, and if you're in the city of London this upcoming weekend, come out to learn more about this inspirational group of friends 'becoming the change they want to see' (as well as enjoy a 90s soul night out of course!)


BUT, BUT WHY MUMMY? - Bimbo Taiwo

Reading Okechukwu Ofili's 'Please Spare The Rod' piece really resonated with me. I think we are all familiar with the 'treat the child harshly' temperament that most Nigerian parents subscribe to. Slaps, flogging, abuses and curses are rained on children by their own parents and not just when a child has been bad, sometimes just because.

No really, WHY???

I put it down mostly to the daily frustrations of living. Allow me to demonstrate...

Parent returns home from work:

Business was bad today, what do you do - Give that child a hot slap!

NEPA has been terrible, you've been sat in the dark for a few hours now and already spent a gross mount on diesel this week, what do you do - Give that child a flogging!

Your mother-in-law has been irritating you, talking behind your back to the rest of your husband's family, what do you do - Give that child a never ending round of torture with words!

THE RESULT: A nation of cold, angry, frustrated parents and children(no thanks to the former). Its a cycle that ensures no one goes untouched and psychology will tell us that if it was done to us we are likely to flog/curse/hit our children too.

What about a kiss and some cuddle time for the children when a Nigerian parent gets back from work, yes even for the older ones - i've never heard of it! I dont even think I had heard of the custom of Parent/Children hugs till I really clued into cable tv where it seemed to be freely given at any and every opportunity.

How many times have you watched a film where the child runs away/does something really stupid and dangerous; the scene where the Parents are reconciled with their child never ceases to frustrate me. The parents run up to their child, hug her, ask if shes okay, throw in a 'you really scared us you know' line in a pukey patronising tone, more cuddles, more kisses - WHAT?

I can't count how many times I've screamed in my head (& admittedly at the TV) - somebody give that child.. a hot slap, a round of flogging, some real punishment, anybody!!!

Ahh..The feeling of (the African upbringing is the best) smugness only subsides when i'm with an apparently married/loving Nigerian couple and the closest they get to physical contact ever, in the presence of company is one putting the house keys in the others pocket. It seems even when we Nigerians do want to be loving and expressive and caring to the people we love we just can't. Is it the cycle, a curse, the psychologist's theory all over again? Then I start thinking.. well maybe those hugs are not such a bad idea.

The world and the way it works is cold and frustrating enough without us having to relate to others that way too.

With Love,





On this project, we are partnering with African Child Development Initiative (ACDI), a charitable organization with a vision to promote lasting improvements in the lives of local underprivileged children. Like us, they also believe education is the key to empowering poor communities in the longer term. One of their current projects is the rehabilitation of Premier Foundation Primary school, an extremely ill-eqiupped primary school in Makoko, a slum lagoon in the densely populated Nigerian city of Lagos. Check out the site for details on this and other projects:

EVENTS: We have two major events this year... a fundraiser (summer) and a benefit evening (autumn). More info on the summer event below.

In the meantime, in order to keep updated please register to become a friend on the site and we will send you details of our upcoming events.

WLFF would like to invite you to come and have a fabulous nite at the..

"With Love From Friends" (WLFF) Official Launch Event!!

Attractions on the nite include:

FABULOUS venue in the heart of the city of London

Great Soul and 90's r'n'b music

Games room dedicated to games of snooker.
All the chocs and sweets you can eat.
Enter into the Raffle on the night to get in with a chance to win:
Free tickets to the Ball at the Millenium Hotel Gloucester Road 4th October.
and lots more..


Afrobabe said...

sounds good and its about time we the hopefully soon to be mothers make a change....We grew up not expecting hugs and sweet words from our parents ,it made us bitter but we can change all that...

Jaja said...

Its true. Its a good thing happening..

And how are you, my good friend Afrobeat?

Akin said...

Hello Bimbo,

I am glad I came across this blog, and at least I do read Moody Crab.

You hit on an interesting aspect of love and its expression with Nigerian parenthood.

I suppose the parents sometimes equate love to provision - if you have shelter, food and education, you are being loved and in return they expect unconditional gratitude with zombie obeisance.

Only now are many parents realising that has created barriers with their now grown up kids.

It has taken years to create a semblance of a relationship with me mother and I still have issues with my father.

All because of these absent hugs and interaction that could have been the foundation for a thriving relationship later in life.

More and more, these psychological and sociological issues are getting articulated and probably there is hope for a form of catharsis in the process.



TheAfroBeat said...

@ Afrobabe and Akin, I'm with you on the lack of hugs & kisses (which were quite absent from the age of 7 onwards - i blame it on my little brother who usurped me as the last born to an all too unimportant "middle child" offense to the rest of my middle kin out there ;)) in our homes. The mentality of "provider first, loving parent second", means that we are usually well cared for physically (academically, as well, which was something i took for granted till I hung out with a couple of Rwandans who informed me that parents paying beyond high school was a gift and not a given) but not so much so emotionally. One (i.e. I) would argue that it's because there are so many more "concrete" issues to deal with (what with each individual being their own LGA - having to provide water, electricity, health services, etc for his/her family), there really is little time for "hugs and whatnot". But nonetheless, it is in the talking about it, that we will begin to make a place for it in the other "concrete" dialogue we devote our time to.

Thanks for sharing people!

@ Jaja, i dey o my brother. I dey. How did the "baiday" celebrations go? I am off to go update myself on your adventures...better not disappoint with a non-updates o!

With Love From Friends said...

@jaja thnxs.

@afrobabe.. I agree,& admitting its a problem means we are more likely to do smethng about it. Getting our Parents to admit it is a whole new discussion.

@ akin & afrobeat, I think our Parents not being so lovey dovey and expressive of love is also a measure to enlighten & toughen us up - im still trying to figure out the nicest way to say id rather live in blissfull lovey dovey induced ignorance ..


Naapali said...

Thanks Misan and Bimbo for this post.

I hug and kiss my daughters and intend to keep doing that until their children start to cut in on the action.

Wishing you well with WLFF and will be checking up on your events.

Jaycee said...

It's not a's the MINDSET...

I like the whole idea of the WLFF (just checked their blog)...

Bitchy said...

As one who received many a hug and a kiss growing up, I'd say that the withholding of affection is probably best for the Nigerian child. Let's face it, Nigerian society is harsh as hell. You need to be groomed and prepared from a young age to face the many injustices that're gonna come your way later in life.

Anonymous said...

I think it is about finding the right balance between Family PDA (Public/Private displays of affection) and Firm-handedness. Call me new-age or super nanny affected but I really do believe there are other ways of toughening a child up without throwing in the odd slap or torrential abuse.


nice one. Thanks for sharing this guys.

Jinta said...

i believe it happens a lot less now, maltreating children

Doja said...

Really important to let children know we care about them, I do not think hitting a child really passes on that message.

TheAfroBeat said...

Ah but i went to see my godmother today and her 5-yr old girl was being REALLY naughty, the woman tried and tried to talk her into calming down and behaving and she just would not listen. Until my godmother had to spank her with her slippers, and only THEN did she get her drift. Hugs all the way o, but as a lot of you have said, one needs to know one's child and what works best to get messages across.

Ofili said...

Nice message and on-point. We need more hugs and kisses in our society. My parents started showing affection towards me in 2000 when I left to the states (guess they missed) by then I was 18 and it was kinda weird. So hug early, hit late...

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