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Colourful Conversations with Sika Osei: Claiming Back Our Worth As Women

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Sika Osei - December 2013 - BellaNaija 01It was about 6:30pm when I got back to the apartment in Lekki. Traffic on the mainland was hectic, as usual, but I’d just finished doing a photoshoot for my first ever ‘New Nollywood’ movie so the adrenaline was still pumping. I’d barely had a sip of water when my flat mate asked if I wanted to accompany her to a company dinner. Think, think….’yeah sure, why not’ I said finally. So we called for a cab,freshened up abit, gave a good attempt at looking casual chic, and we were off to have dinner at one of the biggest hotels in Lagos.

At the entrance of the hotel, the cab driver was asked to open his boot for inspection. The arrogance of the security men and the wait was annoying. But for the sake of our safety, we were willing to bear it. What we weren’t going to tolerate, however, was what happened next. One of those ‘No, he didn’t’, ‘Did that just happen’ moments that has you firstly shocked, then angry and insulted ,then finally break out in laughter.

One security man knocked at the window and rudely asked ‘what business do you have here? Who are you here to see?’
‘Excuse Us?’ We said in unison, unsure if we actually heard him right. He proceeded to repeat the question in a ‘look at these young, promiscuous, girls coming to see big rich Ogas’ kind of tone. It was at this point I burst out laughing at the ridiculousness of the question. However, my quick tongue -no nonsense flatmate didn’t find it as amusing and took him to school. She asked hims pertinent, honest questions that was a shocking yet truthful reflection of our society and the deplorable mentality that keeps us stagnant.

If we were guys would you ask as that?
If we were sitting in a Range Rover or a Mercedez Benz would you think we were prostitutes, or would you rather batter up to us under the impression that we were wealthy?
Is this not a hotel with restaurants that we can come freely and spend our hard earned money here?
If we lied and told you a fake name would you even know who the person was?
And finally, what business is it of yours who we are coming to see and what gives you the moral right to assume and judge purely based on that fact that we are two young girls coming to a hotel?

All totally valid points. In the heat of the moment, sentiments expressed were necessary and called for. No one should judge and condemn people based on their beliefs and convictions. Stereotypes are fleeting and never a good basis for passing insensitive judgmental comments.

Thus, in an attempt to avoid a scene which we were certainly about to create, they mumbled under their breath, opened the gate and watched us march our way straight to the manager to complain. As you probably guessed, they were ‘outwardly’ apologetic.

However, after further pondering over the incident that night, I begun to reflect on the social implications and if perhaps, we as today’s modern young ladies had a bigger role to play in the perception of society. And my opinion is affirmative.

The level of materialism amongst us, the young ladies of today is visibly alarming. We want “The Kept Life”, i.e our bills paid, premium quality hair, designer bags and clothes, flashy cars etc and we want it NOW with the least amount of work and hustle possible. We depend more on our looks more often than our brains to give us our dream lives but on the reverse, we complain of lack of respect from the opposite sex. This new age position hasn’t helped much.

But all blame is not just on the females. The truth is, men don’t help the situation much either when they feel the need to throw money in the girl’s face, offering gifts and trips either as a way to prove their manhood or feul their egos.So yeah, if you’re offering, we are taking. It’s just easier. It’s only human nature.

There is nothing is wrong with accepting gifts occasionally, especially if the barriers of your morals and values are not crossed. Neither is asking for monetary help or even that in kind when you’re truly down on your luck and bend that push towards achieving something. The question is how does this affect your perception of the hard reality which is this; beauty is temporary. What happens after your looks fade (and they will) and do not bring you the gifts and life you once had, what do you do then? Would you have missed your opportunity to develop the necessary skills and mindset to fend for yourself with your own brains,skills and determination?Maybe!

I am of the opinion that we as young women must strive to experience the fulfillment of self-achievement and self-provision. We must always present ourselves with a sense of purpose. Everything else is a plus that we can live with or without. Perhaps if men also begun to put a premium and value in rewarding not just good looks and sexy bodies but drive and ambition, that may help to motivate us and begin to change this stereotype.

Trust, this will be hard to change if it’s possible at all. But if we as young women are also going to make a substantial contribution to the development of our world, and be examples for our younger sisters to follow, then just sometimes we must, with difficulty and self restraint shun the easy money and gifts and take the stand to claim our worth and make something of ourselves.

Sika Osei (Co-host for 53Extra) is a Ghanaian born TV Personality, Actress and Solicitor (L.L.B). She made the move to Lagos earlier this year and has been blessed to already be making waves in the industry having covered high profile events such as the 2014 AMVCA Live Red Carpet etc. She is also a passionate and creative writer and hopes to see her work translated to tv and big screen in the near future.

23 Comments

  1. maychinny

    October 24, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    well said

  2. AAA Events & Design

    October 24, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    Love every line of the story

  3. Personal Assistant

    October 24, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    Na condition make crayfish bend. Try walking by foot Inside any of these hôtels/restaurants, u go know say the insult u received for using a cab na child’s play sef. Its not only security men, infact the list is endless, from hair stylists at make me, downtown salon and co who will look down on you if you dont dangle a key while talking to them. God help you if you tell them you are just coming to fix Darling yaki, no more respect for you. Or is the bank teller who checks your balance before deciding the level of respect to accord you. No body wants to be looked down on, so they will do what ever it takes to acquire whatever it is that is to be acquired. Until ladies stop judging each other by designer labels, types of hair you can afford to fix in a month, cars, where you live etc women will have no Worth. My own opinion oh before una cuss me.

  4. derhmy

    October 24, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    i stopped reading at …’The level of materialism amongst us, the young ladies of today is visibly alarming. We want “The Kept Life”,….’ pls abeg i would like to indicate here that i am not a part of this US! it would have been better if u said the level of materialism amongst young ladies today bla bla bla but the US just got me like WTF! am not being self righteous or anything and i get ur point o but me stopped reading and came right here to let u know my mind.

    • tunmi

      October 24, 2014 at 2:15 pm

      Yeah, that lumping everyone together thing… Honestly, I want an article from the view of one of these kept women.

    • Bus

      October 24, 2014 at 2:57 pm

      She said “amongst us”.

      Y take this so personal? She ain’t referring to you darling.

    • nammy

      October 24, 2014 at 3:00 pm

      She was just generalizing, not saying every young woman is that way, if u had read all uld hav known better. That Been said, av had similar experience with sika nd not just once, wot I do in such situations is to make whoever is trying to put me down understand that I work nd earn my own money ( which is more than he’ll earn in a life time, though I hav no idea how much the person earns) so I reserve the right to b anywhere at anytime on my own accord, not because I came to c one “big man”

    • jcsgrl

      October 24, 2014 at 5:14 pm

      Nne dont be soo quick to shoot down what she said bcos there’s an element of truth to what she said. Look US is an equal playing ground bcos nobody cares what you do and folks dont throw away money recklessly like they do in nja. Wait till you get a ridic rich nja guy throw money at you in the US and lets see if your tone will change. I have seen several ms independent, I make my own money turn runs grl when a nja billionaire notice them and begin to throw money their way. All of a sudden they are singing a different tune. I have also seen several yankee/jand returnees turn runs grl in nja upon return. Why? This covetous ness for money. Until you have faced a situation where some billionaire is bent on getting you and they throw some money your way you never see b4 and you still stand, then yeah you dont belong. I have seen many fall and fall under the influence I come weak. So it only takes someone who is extremely principled and the grace of God to be different from the pack not your geographic location

  5. D

    October 24, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    I have an friend who is pretty, I mean pretty that guys have backed up on high way to talk to her and while she is in her own Range Rover, she is not Nigerian though and she asked me once what is wrong with Nigerian men, many of them, their parents send them to the states to go to school and yet upon graduation all the want to do his “business” aka 419. Some have Engineering degrees and we know Engineers are paid well in the +1 but noooo they want to drive Buggati’s and Maserati’s and they want it now!!! My point is it is not limited to a certain gender, materialism is a Negro syndrome (Some might disagree with me). Not just Nigerians but when I say Negro and I mean you see it very prominent amongst people of color and takes making a conscious decision to break free of that mentality. Why is that when some one of color has money whether it is Nigerian, African American or whatever what they want to do is buy things that depreciate in value pretty fast??? the cars, the jets, shoes, clothes (some even hash tag the designer on instagram and twitter) just to be seen and heard. I have a colleague on the other hand who is Caucasian this guy makes tons especially in bonuses everytime he gets extra $$$ he buys a precious stone. He explained to me once that he does that because currencies fluctuate, precious stones might but not like any currency, so he invests in stones. He does not do designers and drives a old truck infact most of my colleagues that are Caucasian drive old beat up trucks because for them things like that mean nothing. I am learning too, I try to invest more and more.

    • benny

      October 24, 2014 at 5:36 pm

      Ok so ur Caucasian friend is better than Nigerian guys? Abi there are no Nigerian guys that work hard and are not into 419?

    • Angel

      October 24, 2014 at 6:41 pm

      @ D, I totally get u, everything u wrote is sooo true. Years ago before I had friends/colleagues from other nationalities, I used to have that mentality, was into designer this, designer that, investments that depreciates very fast. Then I changed environment and peeps I move with, let’s just say I got schooled.

  6. Nahum

    October 24, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    Well said but I have a problem with some of your ideas .

    We African women are under the illusion that men OWE us respect and equality, something that our sisters in the West have been fighting for over a 100 years. Nobody owes us anything, we need to fight for gender equality and we need to comport ourselves in a manner that is worthy of receiving respect. I cant even count how many times I have seen jobless young girls with Brazilian hair on their heads and the latest iPhones and iPads in their purses. And the sad thing is, their own mothers don’t even ask them how they can afford such items.

    We African women need to change the way we view the world. The world does not owe us anything. We need to stop feeling sorry for ourselves and pull up our sleeves and start working hard for everything we want, then and ONLY then will men gives us the respect we desire.

  7. MizImani

    October 24, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    So back in 2007, my cousins, my sister and I went to have drinks with my dad. He went to the restroom and the waiter came to us that they do not allow working girls in the bar. I was speechless…I was 18, my sister was 16 and my cousins were 13, 8, and 6…i didn’t know where to start from.

    Till date, all I can say is, ignorance is a disease!

  8. Christian Jatau

    October 24, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    Weldone Sika! This is good.

  9. Evita

    October 24, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    Hi Sika, nice narrative! Walked into a store in PH and their mannerisms changed all because I am using an iPhone 6. “Hey Madam, your hair is nice”…blah blah blah. My hair wasn’t made, I didn’t look cool, I was in pajamas! I feel we could do better if we all respect the young and old, beautiful and ugly, poor and rich. The lines that divide us lie only in our minds. The sooner we erase these lines, the sooner we achieve a society with reduced crime and compromise.

  10. MOUTH MOUTH

    October 24, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    ITS VERY EXPENSIVE TO MARRY OR HAVE A GIRLFRIEND COS THE GIRLS DONT HELP EITHER

  11. ME

    October 24, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    I agree wit evrytin sika said, the same men who want good girls as wives are the same men who like bleached, brazillian fixing, clean girls, how many of them go afta girls with good brain. Evryman shld develop himself or herself in a way that you live a healthy life and feel fulfilled wit or without these material things. 5O years from now, I just wonder what this society would have turned into,

  12. benny

    October 24, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    Aunty Sika, u were not judged based on what other girls do or undo in that hotel, you were judged because you came in with a cab. Now this article should have been kind enough to expose and focus on the “class” segregation and struggle in Nigeria; it is what it is. We are not the only country with hotels where such girls flock to for such; we didn’t invent this act and I believe we have knocked down prostitution a million times.
    That said, I can’t believe gate men judged u based on appearance and you thought it better to blame “us” & our “materialism” for it.
    Right behind you and ur cab may have been a woman of easy virtue in her range rover on her way for some “business” and the same ppl would have “aunty madame’d” her all the way in.
    This is the bigger picture!

    • Idomagirl

      October 24, 2014 at 9:25 pm

      I agree. The bigger issue here is class segregation as you pointed out, our people worship money, if they were in Range Rovers they would not care or even have the guts to stop them let alone ask questions.

      This class segregation is one of the major reasons why society has become so materialistic today (just have money in Nigeria and see how you will be worshiped and celebrated), and women are not the only guilty party.

  13. JB Special

    October 26, 2014 at 12:48 am

    This Sika Ghana babe, what are you doing in Lagos? I hope you got a work permit before working in Lagos. Your people hate Nigerian and don’t employ them.

    • jay

      November 3, 2014 at 12:16 pm

      Really ??? Shame!!

  14. jay

    November 3, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    JB shame unto you for saying that. Ghanaians and nigerians are one people. When did nigerians stop getting employed in gh??

  15. jay

    November 5, 2014 at 9:55 pm

    Sorry are not one people

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