Today’s song is brought to you by the small children in our old neighbourhood in Nigeria (holla Onwubuya street!). They used to sing it whenever they saw the big kids, anyone they did not like or anyone they could outrun, coming – which pretty much added up to the same thing. They were just troublemakers. You’d see them in their home dresses and shorts, barefoot, playing ‘swell’ or rolling tyres with sticks, happy as clams and out for blood. They’d abandon their games in a heartbeat once they sighted prey.
They sang it for me once. I held my gleaming forehead high and walked on, pretending not to hear them. I went home, looked in the mirror and well…let’s just say it’s pretty hard to un-see once you’ve seen my forehead. It’s awesome and awe-inspiring. Look away children, look away.
You are probably thinking “But they’re children!” Yeah, of the corn. Village children are on another level with those Igbo language skills. They have a song for EVERYTHING. A village child can insult you here and your ancestors will feel it in the underworld and bite their fingers in regret.
The way I see it, my mother owes us kids therapy money for this ten-head thing she ‘gifted’ us with. And I mean, even to the third generation; all of her grand kids have it. The song is below.
Onye isi ya ka nke m o
Nee ya ka ona abia.
Isi ukwu bianu were oche,
Nee ya ka o na abia.
S/he whose head is bigger than mine
Look! Here s/he comes.
Big Head! Come and take a seat,
Look, here s/he comes.
I tried to get my other sister, Pastor, to do the gospel remix version but she cracked up around the ‘Big Head’ bit. You know what our people say. ‘An old woman becomes uncomfortable when dry bones are mentioned.’ Guess it hit close to home for her too.
My sister just sent me this photo of something she found in Oja market in Lagos. I think it’s supposed to be an aphrodisiac but every other thing is delightfully vague. Does it work on women too? Is it a liquid or powder? You you drink it straight or mix it with other stuff? (Sister Hashtag says mix it with their drinks in beer parlours. Update, she’s just told me it’s a liquid, duh, it says 200ml)
Why is there a volume for alcohol by the side? Does alcohol not inhibit i.e. kill libido aka manpower? And for my final question, why on earth does it say ‘Hundred watts’? That seems like such a faff to take a little ‘helper’ only to light up like a Christmas tree so the whole world knows you’ve taken it.
Also…where do you light up? (Do women like that sort of thing now? Damn I’m old.)
‘Fire baby oku’. Chai. Lagos life is not easy at all. First you have your wife. Then you probably have your mistress (who’s had children for another man/may be divorced etc) then you have your girlfriend (who is a small university girl like this). No wonder men need all the help they can get. E no easy.
If you’ve taken this, send me an email. I won’t tell anyone. It’s strictly for journalistic purposes, you understand.
I love speculative fiction. And I love Igbo culture. Put them together and what do you get?
Is this cover not delightfully creepy?!
Omenana is the igbo word for ‘culture’, specifically the traditional beliefs and practices of Igbo people. The magazine is NOT just for Igbo stories though. It’s an African spec-fic magazine founded by Chinelo Onwualu and Mazi Nwonwu, who are both Igbo.
I am happy this forum exists.
Click on the cover to get to the website. A new issue will be available every month. Plenty of time to tweak those stories and send them in, guys! Don’t be like me. I was asked to submit something for this issue, but I had nothing ready. I could have been in this line-up! Did I mention Tendai Huchu has a story in it?
Click here for submission guidelines.
*Nollywood-style voice-over* Omenana! Omenana! Grab your copy! Now! (Not marketed in Ikorodu road or 51 Iweka road Onitsha. Freely available on the internet.)