All Nnu Ego (pronounced new ego) ever wanted was to make her father proud by birthing many sons to her husband to whom she was married off in the most lavish wedding ceremony Ibuza had ever seen. She was a lovechild- a result of her mother and father’s unconventional relationship. Nnu Ego’s mother, Ona, had refused to marry Chief Agbadi despite his obsessive love for her.
Unfortunately, for Nnu Ego, her deepest desire is not met and after about a year being married to Amatokwu and not getting pregnant, a new wife is brought home. By and by, Nnu Ego, is disgracefully sent back to her father’s home. She is eventually married off again to Nnaife Owulum- who lives and works in Lagos as a ‘washerman’ for a white couple. To her utmost joy, she goes on to give birth to nine children with him.
The Joys of Motherhood is poignant. A 20th Century book whose themes still hold true in the 21st Century. Buchi Emecheta handles the issues of patriarchy, polygamy and the disadvantaged lot of the African woman without fear or favour. To her credit, she manages to balance her portrayal of the African mother as strong, all-weather, even willing to give up everything including her very own life for her children, yet, vulnerable.
This review, of Buchi Emecheta’s The Joys Of Motherhood, was written by Lynn Gitu Turyatemba, for Turn The Page Africa.
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