Sparing The Koboko

Angry Black Girl. Credit: Discover the Space So…have you taken time out to notice the behaviors of kids today? Do you see that the methods with which kids are raised now is far far different from how we were raised? And does the blatant disrespect from kids give you the chills as it does me? I’m at that point where I wish we can go back in time, if for nothing else but the discipline which our parents instilled in us. The other day, I noticed a trend in a neighbor’s kid. This baby girl should be about 5 years old. She has not learnt to greet older people as is the custom of most African homes. She would actually stare at an older person until her mother tells her to greet. Even with the prodding from her mother, she would stare at the person and blatantly refuse to greet. What is worse is that she stares at much older people in the eye, leaving a sinister feeling crawling down the spine of the person. What baffled me was when I noticed that as early as 6am (when I’m rushing out to work), this little girl gets up and goes out of the compound, walks the length of the street and finally chooses a house to go to. What in God’s name is a 5-year old doing traipsing the streets at 6am?! What are her parents doing when she is ‘making the rounds’? And in this North-Eastern region where girls are easy targets, why are the parents not worried about a baby girl walking up and down town when no one can watch over and protect her? It is so annoying even that when you try to correct this girl, she puts on this quelling look that seems to say, ‘What you gone do about it? Huh?’ The nerve! It gets worse. I was returning home one night, when this kid saw me. He raised his torchlight (as it was quite dark) and flashed it directly in my face. Now, I deliberately assumed he made a mistake, so I didn’t have to take off my shoes and beat the black off his skin. In my assumption, I hoped he would apologize, lower his flashlight, and show some iota of courteous behavior by probably greeting me and/or asking for my handbag. I was too busy making these assumptions to actually think it might not go that way. When it dawned on me that he wouldn’t do so was when the light remained in my face for more minutes than was respectfully necessary. I stopped in the middle of the street and gave him the look. Only then did he drop the flash light, make a detour around me, and continued on his way to wherever he was heading. Now, this boy shouldn’t be more than 13 years. He started acting this way when I cautioned him on the use of curse words. He said something in Hausa while I was passing and I gave him a serious dressing down. Does it feel like curse words in our local languages are dirtier than in English language? Anyway, that is a topic for another day. From that day, I guess his hormones kicked in and he started acting up. I was tempted to hold him down and get some sense into his skull but I am pretty scared of the reciprocal treatment I will get from the police. So….I ignored it, shook my head, squared my shoulders and walked on to my house. Angry Black Boy. Image: GodZone I wouldn’t have bothered about writing this piece if another incident hadn’t occurred. Called a girlfriend and asked that we go to the beauty shop. She got dressed and we headed to our regular stylist. When we got there, the shop was full, but only one person stood out for me. She was a pretty little girl. She had such a striking resemblance to our stylist that we couldn’t help but ask if she was her daughter. Now you see, as long as we had been going there, we knew she was married and had kids, but we had never met any of them. When she told us that was her daughter, we gushed a bit over her. I should have kept my gushing to myself! The about-seven-year old gave us this aloof look and went to sit in the corner. Hurt a bit, I asked what her problem was and before her mum could respond, the little girl said she didn’t talk to strangers. I looked at my friend, and we shrugged. Secretly, I was proud that her mum was raising her with good principles, but I was worried that she was bold enough to tell us that to our faces. As we got our beauty on, the stylist kept regaling us with stories that had us laughing and generally having fun. Somewhere in that line of fun conversation, the mother started talking about a seasonal Pilipino telenovella she had watched. While that was my cue to shut up, little miss I-don’t-talk-to-strangers piped up and got into the conversation. She started talking of the telenovellas that were more interesting. Now, the silence from all the customers was probably because we would never have interrupted in a conversation our mothers were having. The silence was awkward for a while until the mother broke it by asking her daughter about the one they had watched the night before. My friend and I shared another look and we saw the other ladies also sharing a look. The little girl went on and on and after a while, we seemed to adjust to the fact that the girl had been taught that she could join in on adult conversation. What jolted us back to reality was when one of the customers urged the little girl to stop combing her hair too frequently. Her mum teased her about not even having the hair to comb and she flew

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