Blogger of the month: Sugabelly


I came across this young lady when I was looking to have something illustrated for my former blog. I forgot all about her blog when the project fell through but recently I have taken up with her blog again.   I envy her boldness and vulnerability online. I may be outspoken in person but it is much harder to be open in this virtual space when you don’t know who is judging you.

Anyway, below is just one of the reasons why I (sometimes, grudgingly) admire her.

Now how can a group of people with such rich cultures feel empty culturally? And what has this got to do with religion? Let me explain.

Nigerians (at least most of us in the Southern half) embraced Christianity. Unfortunately, the people that they learned Christianity from were a group of small-minded pricks* who taught them that anything even remotely connected to their culture was evil and should be shunned. (Lol, shun the non-believer). These idiots even went so far as to force new converts to take Israeli-European names like Joshua, Joseph, Mary, etc. As if our own names were not good enough, leading to the current situation of Nigerians with stupid-as-fuck-English/European/Israeli names e.g. Polycarp. Really? You really want your child to be known as Polycarp? What the fuck happened to good old Ekpeyong???? (Don’t even get me started about the olodo of a woman that punished her daughter with the name “Queen Elizabeth”) And even when they no longer explicitly forced us to change our names, the drama mellowed into an ungodly proliferation of Chi- and Chukwu- names. [If I had one kobo for every Igbo person who has a Chi or a Chukwu in their name, Bill Gates wouldn’t be able to tell me shit]

(Note, Europeans got to name their children a whole variety of European names that had nothing to do with Christianity and were even sometimes PAGAN names – Diana for example – but nobody ever told them that if the name wasn’t Christian they couldn’t have it, yet Nigerians were forced to give up our own names and answer theirs)

But I disgress.

Back to what I was saying. These “Christians” in Nigeria do have cultures, very rich, amazing, varied, super cool cultures, but they are AFRAID to embrace them because they feel that by doing so they are somehow aligning themselves with the devil. The problem is, humans NEED culture. We really do. We need to feel like we belong to a group and that group has certain norms, rituals, and habits that set it apart and we belong to it. This is the first problem these people face.

Click here or on the photo to read the rest of this well-written entry. It is a bit long though, but no less interesting for it.

She’s also a wicked illustrator. I am currently reading her ‘The 10 People You Meet in Nigeria’  illustrated series. This is her drawing of an Aristo:

Update: Just found out this series was featured in The Africa Report magazine of November 2012.

7 thoughts on “Blogger of the month: Sugabelly

  1. Swear words aside (i do think these sometimes detract from a wholly intelligent write up), Sugabelly is one smart sassy feminist. I really hope she goes places.

    I had her in mind when i made that side rant on former post about graphic artist. Sugabelly could have done a better job in a day’s work. No hating 🙂

    1. Yeah, I hear you on the swearing; for a lot of people, they will switch off once they see them and that’s just one more person who might have been exposed to another viewpoint. I knew you were thinking of her, but I don’t think she was drawing when those books were published. I read them as a child!

  2. I do read her blog as well but only started recently. That last article of her’s you posted was great – never read it before as was not following her then. Enjoyed it very much and she verbalised a lot of the things I have felt growing up. I remember as a little girl asking my Mum why none of us had ‘English’ names like the other kids. My mum promptly replied that English people don’t have Igbo names! That put me in my place and really got me thinking about a lot of things regarding our culture and heritage.

    She is quite bold and fearless and a explicit feminist. Unfortunately, these are not qualities greatly admired in a woman in Igboland/Nigeria/Africa as a whole. Which is dead wrong and outdated. I remember being in a bar in Nairobi with friends and being my usual outspoken self. The women were quite silent and the men shocked that I made sure my opinion was heard. My friend had to explain to the group that I am Nigerian, hence my behaviour. Very annoying experience. I wont say our proper are any better anyway. You walk around the streets of London feeling acknowledged and valued then go home for 2 weeks and be promptly reminded that owning a vagina somehow makes inferior despite your numerous degrees, achievements, strengths, accomplishments, salary etc. Anyway, that’s a discussion for another day.

    You guys biko keep up the good work. Your blogs are such a joy to read. Now off to cook some vegetable yam (unfortunately and sadly without any ukpaka at hand, just moved to Calgary and I am still trying to find some good ose talk-less of ukpaka) Ndi Igbo kwenu!

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