?And by the way, Lanwa, you must stop preaching the sermon of our people?s old custom and tradition. This your long story of kinsman and cousin and half-brother connection with my late husband cannot catch me like a deer in a snare! I reserve the right to choose the type of life I want to lead. It could be that of woman deliberately aloof in self-contentment, untouched by the victimisation and oppression of the man; or that of a woman sulking the anger of an injury, protesting humiliations heaped on her, over the years by the man? Not your business Lanwa, how I want to live my life!? (From Lonely Days by Bayo Adebowale)
This was the manner in which Bayo Adebowale lent a voice to African widows in his book Lonely Days. Set in the rustic rural village of Kufi in South-western Nigeria, the novel tells the story of Yaremi, a woman thrown into widowhood by the death of her husband Ajumobi. Yaremi?s humiliation, loneliness and struggle for survival in Kufi are a microcosm of the plight of widows in the larger Nigerian society and indeed in Africa as a whole.
Yaremi?s character in Lonely Days is that of a hardworking and assertive widow who refuses to be cowed into accepting traditional injunctions of widow inheritance and remarriage set by her society.