“I am sorry Aunty”
“Don’t be silly, it’s not your fault and for what it’s worth, I am sorry that these guys remain to wallow in their own ignorance – all in all, it’s their loss, brother.”
Nephew laughed, he loves to laugh. My nephew thinks ‘sorry’ is enough to take sexism away. He was concerned about it and knew things have to change as it is just ridiculous people get left out of activities just because of their gender.
He translates Yoruba to English at the church. From my experience, youths going to most of our traditional Pentecostal churches benefit more when participating in any of the many roles in the church – sitting in the crowd for me is depressing.
However, roles in our traditional Pentecostal churches (i.e CAC or TAC) are insanely sexist.
Take for example translation role in the church. Many of our churches do not allow women to participate even if they are a lot better suited for the role than the men in the church – not for any other reason than being a female.
I am really proud of my nephew being useful to himself and the community, translating role helps boast confidence and improve language depth for him as well as encouragement to younger kids in the crowd.
Why would anyone need Yoruba-English or English-Yoruba translation in a small town where most people speak the same language? Even the non Yoruba speakers around have very good grasp of the language. Nobody needs the translation, not in my area at least, but that’s a whole different story.
So nephew plays the drums, guitar and interprets in the church – I am proud of him.
Here is the flip side; his own 17 year old sister, who has better primary and secondary education (not bragging for her but to highlight a point) is only allowed to be in the choir – can’t play instrument. Even when those who have a degree can’t interpret.
The church is known for given their youths chance to learn and play instruments within the church, however this is only for the boys not girls. Now, this may be slightly different in big city like Lagos, but even my sister who goes to the same church in Ibadan agrees is the same case in her big church.
So niece bought her own keyboard and decided to learn outside of the church – she is aware that her gender should not be a deterrent to her ambitions/interests.
What would you do differently, Aunty? My niece asked.
I will probably stick with it. However, in a year’s time when you are likely to be out of home to college, if I still really want to go to church (it is not all bad) I will definitely ‘shop’ around. I am not going to waste my time in any gatherings that I am denied full participation just because of my gender.
You owe it to yourself to be in the gatherings of people who appreciates your individuality and gives you opportunity to excel, not those who have memorised one bible verse since the beginning of time and refused to see the world is moving on from sexism.
The challenge I find is that there are very few activities around us. What I will encourage is to fill your free time with stuff that inspire.
Spiritual journey, I find is individual, parents will try their best to set your foot in the right path (or what they think is the right path).
However, at 18 it is your job to be ‘born again,’ re access your path as you can no longer blame anyone.
In a few years’ time you are likely to realise most of the teachings were hogwash – just wait and see. I concluded.
I did my part.
Here is an excellent free online course sponsored by Gender Hub Nigeria.