One of our favourite African Literature is THE SECRET LIVES OF BABA SEGI’S WIVES BY LOLA SHONEYIN.
The humour is refreshing; but what is even more refreshing is the candid approach to infidelity.
Lola Shoneyin once wrote in The Guardian:
The sad truth is, polygamy constitutes a national embarrassment in any country that fantasises about progress and development. Polygamy devalues women and the only person who revels in it is the husband who gets to enjoy variety. You, poor women, will become nothing more than a dish at the buffet.
The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives, was Longlisted for the 2011 Orange Prize, won the 2011 PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Literary Award and won two Association of Nigerian Authors Awards.
These are some of our favourite quotes, lines and sentences!
“…he had boasted of his conquest: how Bolanle was tight as a bottleneck, how he pounded her until she was cross-eyed; and how she took the length of his manhood on her back – splayed out and submissive. He didn’t quite know how he would tell the men that all his pounding had proved futile.”
“Let us not allow the world to see our shame, let us keep our secrets from those who may seek to mock us”
“Hush, child, what mother can hate a child she laboured to bring into this world?”
“Taju claimed that he’d beaten his wife senseless for letting his only son suck on a coin. This happened about a week after a male senator slapped a female colleague. The slap had resonated through all the quiet meeting rooms of the senate building and into the heart of every man on the street…men were slapping their womenfolk as if it had become a national sport…peeved taxi drivers prodded the heads of mothers who bargained with them; young girls were assaulted and stripped naked in the streets. Even in the labour wards baby girls frowned upon by their fathers. Taju too was inspired to throw his best punch.”
“Baba Segi only comes to deposit his seed in my womb. He doesn’t smile or tickle me. He doesn’t make jokes about my youth; he just rams me into the mattress…Do you want to remain a barren maggot? It must have been my vulnerability that aroused him because he returned at midnight to hammer me like never before. He emptied his testicles as deep into my womb as possible. It was as if he wanted to make it clear, with every thrust, that he didn’t make light of his husbandly duties. He wanted to fuck me pregnant. If there was ever a moment when the memory of being raped became fresh in my mind, that was it.”
“Men they are nothing. They are fools. The penis between their legs is all they are useful for. And even then, if not that women needed their seed for children, it would be better to sit on a finger of green plantain.”
“Your father left me for a beautiful woman. I told him I was pregnant but he didn’t want to hear it. He sliced me like okra and left. He pursued another woman’s hole and died inside it.”
“The world has no patience for spinsters. It spits them out.”
“The world turns and we do too, within it. Who can say what sins pursue us?” – Bolanle
“The choices we have to make in this world are hard and bitter. Sometimes we have no choices at all.” – Iya Tope
“When a plan does not go right, you plot again. One day you will succeed. One day you will be able to damage the person who hurts you so completely that they will never be able to recover.” – Iya Femi
“My fingers liked the feel of money. My eyes liked to see the piles of money swell. I worshipped money. Even when boys teased me over the flap of flesh that circled my neck, I wasn’t bothered. I looked at them and sniggered, knowing their father’s fathers could not have a fraction of the wealth I had accumulated.” – Iya Segi.
“Only a foolish woman leans heavily on a man’s promises”
“A real woman must always do the things she wants to do, and in her own time too. You must never allow yourself to be rushed into doing things you’re not ready for.”
“…when the time comes for you to marry, take one wife and one wife alone. And when she caused you pain as all women do, remember it is better that your pain comes from one source alone – Baba Segi.
“I will never forget the day or any other day I spent with him. He made my body sing. He made me howl when he bent me over; he made me whimper when he sat me on his belly. And when he took me standing up, it was as if there was a frog inside me, puffing out its throat, blowing, blowing and blowing until whoosh – all warm air escaped through my limbs” – Iya Tope
“That night, Baba Segi came to me. He sat on my bed and grabbed my breasts. I thought it was all quite amusing until he jumped between my legs and tried to force his penis into me…he wasn’t like Tunde at all. There was no sucking, no licking, no nuzzling, no moistening. Baba Segi was heavy; everything about him was clumsy and awkward. He heaved and hoed, poured his water into me and collapsed onto my breasts…” – Iya Femi
“A daughter can never be like a son…only a son can become heir” – Baba Segi.
What did you love about THE SECRET LIVES OF BABA SEGI’S WIVES?
Who was your favourite WIFE?
Who was your favourite CHARACTER?