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Oluwadunsin Deinde-Sanya: These Songs Make Me Sad



These songs make me sad.

They are the tears from mama Caro, when she had her seventh child – a female. Again. They are songs of sorrow she silently sang, while she shut her eyes and let the tears fall. It was fear, as she looked into Nkoli’s beautiful face, smiling toothlessly.

It was fear that Noli might not be loved, because all the people she had called to tell them of her delivery had asked for the sex of the baby, and had said ‘again?’ She heard a hint of guilt in their voices, and knew they had meant to say it but not say it loud enough for her to hear. It was worse when people came to visit and referring to Noli’s bald head had said ” oh, this baby should have pitied you and come as a boy na”; they said this mournfully, shook their heads and patted her on her shoulder telling her to take heart.
The worst was when her husband told his people his wife had been delivered of a baby girl and they had pursed their lips and said nothing.

It was silence – pregnant with words.

It was the song mama Caro sang when her knees touched the hard unevenly cemented floor, telling God that she knew her daughters might not be entirely loved by their family, but they should have the strength, self love and enough wisdom to always forge ahead. That the venom of humans should not mar the pureness and love oozing from their little hearts.

These songs make me sad.

It is the voice of … let me call him Arziki – for I do not know his name. We just met today as we sit on the floor of this NYSC parade field – tired and aching and we get talking. The pain in his eyes glaring when he tells me his friend was buried alive. Why? I ask. He says her bride price had been paid when she was born and as a grown lady, she refused to marry the old man she was betrothed to. Arziki tells me she was buried up to her shoulder, and her head was stoned till she could inhale air no more. He says so many barbaric things happen in the north, but we do not get to know about it. I know he speaks the truth, because I know people who have gone there whole, and have come back with amputated limbs.

He tells me the story of a lady who was gang raped until strength walked away from her bones, and then a knife was driven into her vagina.

At this point, I beg him to say no more, but then, he also tells me how he rescued a boy from being lynched by calling emergency security service while he was still being beaten. I saw the glow in his eyes as he speaks of it. He saved a life.

These songs make me sad.

They are the voices of politicians, when they say telephone isn’t meant for the poor, or when they say ‘go and die’ or when they tell students to do their worst. It hurts more that their children who all school in expensive foreign schools look down the bridge of their noses at Nigerian students and believe that their corrupt and callous parents should be worshipped when in fact, it should be the other way round. It’s saddening when the citizens who are being robbed wear matching attires and support these politicians after being given a bowl of rice and 200 naira .

It hurts because dear citizens are mostly cowards and selfish – only after the satisfaction of their bellies. It is the fact that we look the other way and become mysteriously blind when the country is milked dry, because it doesn’t affect us directly, and when it does, cowardice prevents us from speaking against it.

I do not know why I’m thinking about this right now. I am outside my hostel, earpieces deep in my ears – listening to Enya. I remember my sister – she says I listen too much to songs that sound sorrowful, and I am smiling while watching my fellow Corp members walk to and fro. I watch their faces, laughter slashing the evening air, beautiful ladies and guys holding hands, the bustling of the evening is a beautiful sight and the happiness floating beneath the skies is infectious.

Still, I am here, watching every human passing and wondering if they will rescue a dying person, or turn their faces the other way. I am wondering if these happy faces I am seeing here will contribute to the progress of our nation in future, or will turn a blind eye and say it isn’t their business. I am wondering if their voices will be part of the songs that make me sad.

I am worried because I already hear some of them saying horrible stuff about other tribes, and I am appalled that even the educated ones are encaged by tribalism and stereotypes. I am worried because during lectures,when we discussed mental illness, sexual assault and rape, most of the Corp members were fit to burst with laughter, and I wonder how we would become leaders of tomorrow, if we laugh over horrendous actions.

You see, I have come to realise that the major problem of beings – are beings. It is fellow humans that kill humans, the politicians that rob us are humans, the intolerant ones and the bomb carriers are humans. And sometimes, I try to imagine what goes through human minds when we commit these grievous atrocities.

Now I am on my bunk lying down with my face up, and I am still thinking about this. I have come to the conclusion that we need more love in the world, or what do you think?. It is only love that wouldn’t make you turn the other way when a fellow being is being burnt. It is love that would hinder you from forcing yourself on a lass, knowing fully well that that action could mar her for life. Love would make you patriotic, selfless, it would make you want to build your nation, not only for yourself, but also for generations yet born. It is love that’ll make you raise a fallen brother, extend a helping hand to someone.

It is not enough to say ‘eeya’ when something negative happens to other people.It isn’t enough to cry over newspaper headlines when 200 people get bombed in Borno. Empathy cannot change the world, only love can.

Love feels the need to change a negative situation, love feels the need to impart positively in someone else’s life, that is because love can’t just fold her arms and watch.

Love will make you respect other tribes and races, knowing fully well that we are all humans. Love will make you sheath your swords and broker peace, pull peace closer to you and clasp its arms around your waist.

Love would tell you revenge isn’t as sweet as your imagination whispers to you, it will explain to you that only weak people become vindictive, that is because they let anger tell their head where to go, when it should be the other way round.

You see, you can only love others when you love yourself and realise that we are all one – bound by blood and breath and we shouldn’t let the bond of fellow flesh, feed our spite.

My eye lids are drooping now and I want to sleep, tomorrow might be another long day, my ear piece is still plugged in and I’m listening to Cece Winas. I have realised too now, that all these would never be complete, if I do not mention the love of God and His only begotten Son. When you realise that we are all created in His image and we are all humans – special and unique in our individualism, you would come to realise that we all need each other to grow.

You need me, I need you. We need one another. We need more love.

Do you agree?

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Oluwadunsin is a Writer and Editor from Lagos, Nigeria. Her works have been featured on BellaNaija, The Kalahari Review, Barren Magazine, and others. Want to get in contact with her? Easy!! Send a mail to [email protected] You can follow her on Instagram @oluwadunsin___ and on Twitter @duunsin.


  1. Amy

    March 23, 2017 at 11:53 am

    This is beautiful. Do you have a blog? i would love to read more of your work.

  2. funmilola

    March 23, 2017 at 11:57 am

    I agree, totally with every word you’ve written…..if only we could really love each other irrespective of tribe and religion then Nigeria would be a better place.

  3. Icey

    March 23, 2017 at 12:17 pm

    I agree we need love, infact lotssssssssssssssssssss of it. But these days it’s so difficult to express love and random acts of kindness without being vulnerable.
    – You want to give alms in traffic, what if the beggar isn’t truly a beggar, what if he has a knife stashed underneath?
    – You want to give a hitchhiker a ride, what if he’s a robber?
    – You stop to let a pedestrian cross, a fellow driver bumps into ur stationary car
    – You smile at someone just because and you are termed a flirt
    – You are passionate about a cause and you are termed an attention seeking political hopeful.
    – You give your last kobo to help someone in need and they keep coming back for more.

    Where do we draw the line? How do you love without being exploited?

    • Abiola

      March 23, 2017 at 4:29 pm

      Do your part according to what your spirit is in tune with. If it doesn’t align with how you feel, walk away knowing you made the right decision at that time.

    • Oluwadunsin

      March 24, 2017 at 7:36 pm

      Icey, you’re right, but we still have to do our part. Thanks for reading.

    • Mz Socially Awkward....

      March 25, 2017 at 3:48 pm

      @Icey, re to your second point – here’s a true recount (& I’m minded to recount because it happened just 2 nights ago).

      For whatever reason, I decided to see a late showing of “Logan” on Thursday night (was determined to see it this week, whatever the hour) but honestly didn’t do much research into reviews and had no idea this was an unexpectedly violent instalment to the xmen movies. Fast forward to the end, it finished at almost midnight and I drove home in a very paranoid state.

      Lo and behold – stopped at a traffic light 2 mins later & this Asian man was legit running towards me. As in, running purposefully to my car door, on a dark and empty road…. after watching a movie with so many violent scenes. I froze, he reached me & was shouting something. I refused to roll down my window. Quickly realised he was asking for directions & couldn’t speak English properly but I still refused to roll down my window out of fear, just used my hands to repeatedly point in the direction he should take. I knew he didn’t quite understand but the fear….

      Then the red light turned green and I drove off. And the guilt which followed. Started imagining being lost at almost midnight, on a deserted road in a country where I don’t speak the language. Guilt led to worry for him so, I circled back round and found him still walking.

      Didn’t give him a ride….. My paranoia hadn’t fully subsided. However, I parked across the road, walked to meet him & tried to understand where exactly he needed to go, with much sign language and improvisation of English. Then we both agreed it was the train station and I walked with him a short way to point him in the right direction.

      Long story abi? ? I know that paranoia you mean, & guess sometimes (if your instinct is always true) you’ll know what the right thing is to do and in spite of misgivings.

      That “Logan”, sha & the dark slant it took…… I truly never “hesperred” it. ??

      @Duni, this was a well-written piece. It’ll always be a question of how much humanity we each share at the most basic level, before we can fight the larger crime of social injustice. Unfortunately, hearts and minds are still yet to align on that one.

    • Oluwadunsin

      March 26, 2017 at 11:32 am

      Thanks mz S.A, you’re totally right, sometimes we should put ourselves in other people’s shoes, we’ll need help one day too and we’ll want others to help us. It’s just saddening that there are too many bad people and we never can tell who is who. But just like you said, we should trust our instincts and be careful always.

  4. Rubby

    March 23, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    Beautifully written,indeed we need more love in the world,now more than ever…i also agree with Icey,sometimes its a thin line between showing love and being exploited….but we can promise to do our best in any given situation…if we all do our best per time regardless of tribe and prejudice, from politicians to entrepreneur to artistes to housewives to atisans etc….we would be closer to where we should be…..

  5. Olumide

    March 23, 2017 at 3:22 pm

    Honestly, you’re a good writer. Sometimes, I really want to help but people just take you for granted, but we’ll continue to do good and share love. Keep writing, I love your articles.

  6. Segun Alade

    March 23, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    These stories makes me sad! And sad indeed. Hope Nigeria gets better, we can actually not progress well as a nation without love and trust for each other, but where do we start? Every day passing events makes the gap between us wider and wider. So sad

  7. Funmi

    March 23, 2017 at 4:04 pm


  8. Jemimah

    March 23, 2017 at 5:12 pm


  9. abdullahi

    March 23, 2017 at 6:47 pm

    This is deep, nice peice,when we love each other we would tolerate one another.

  10. Michael

    March 24, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    Thanks oluwadunsin, this piece is dope, it reinforces my resolve to contribute positively to the world. Keep writing. Beautiful piece.

  11. Oluwadunsin

    March 26, 2017 at 11:33 am

    @Amy, I’m working on it, thanks. I’m

  12. Eghosa Alari

    April 9, 2017 at 5:49 am

    You nailed it again

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