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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Our Wedding Jeans

"....Yes, I got married. Imagine me. After years of being told I was too vocal and too knowledgeable for a man to fall in love with me, my detractors have been proved wrong...But why lie; I had believed the critics. Even I didn’t believe I could get married. I had even made peace with God and promised myself that I was no longer going to pretend to be someone other than me, even for the sake of getting a husband. After all, the story of the African existence has been the fight to be ourselves. Missionaries, philanthropists and politicians often imply that we’re not authentic Africans or authentic African women when we are educated, healthy and fighting for freedom, yet they turn around and fight to save those of us Africans who are actually poor, ignorant, oppressed and begging to change them into the educated, health and liberated Africans that they call un-authentic.... Besides, over 15 years ago, I was traumatized by an essay written by a student in my freshman class about her wedding day. I had asked my reading class to write a short essay on – yes, that stereotypical topic – the best day in my life...That essay felt less of a celebration and more of a regret; a regret that there was no other day she will feel special in her life. And I was determined that that would not be my story. I was determined that I would have an impact on the world through my ideas, that I would not need everyone to stand up for me to feel important (my ego isn’t fragile like a politician’s), and that I would have more than one day when I would feel special...Years of reading feminism and the works about freedom written by great African men and women had also made me forget, and thankfully so, that global consumer culture plants in each girl, a dream of being a princess marrying a handsome prince, dressed in a white billowy dress that reminds one of Cinderella or the other European folk tales that shouldn’t be told to African children.So I knew that if I did get married, I probably wouldn’t wear a white dress....And so we wore jeans to our wedding..." - Wandia Njoya

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