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Uzomaka Okafor: You Were Your Village People



You looked at me with eyes that spoke.
“I love you,” you said, “but cannot be with you.”
That wasn’t what I heard when I listened to your eyes.
I heard, “I’d love to be with you forever.”
I heard only the ‘I love you’, without the ‘but’.

“Why?” I asked.
“I can’t actually say,” you started, then went on to ramble about being from an endogamous people. It wasn’t enough to be an Igbo, I had to be from your village too.
“It’s not you Kosarachi,’ you said, ‘it’s me. It’s my village people. I cannot marry a girl that’s not from my village.”
“Really. I swear it.”
“What are the consequences?” I asked.
“I don’t know, but I know it will give my father a heart attack.”
“The same father that didn’t have a heart attack when you got a Yoruba girl pregnant.”
“Pregnancy is different from marriage. It’s sacred.”
“But the means of getting a girl pregnant isn’t?”
“It’s different still.”

Gradually, I was learning to know that the eyes could be saying something different from the heart, from the person’s true intent. Over the years, I listened to your eyes. I was deceived.
So you’re calling off our relationship of four years because of your village people?
Did you not know we couldn’t get married all along?
Why did you keep coming back and stringing me along?
Why did you have us open a joint account?
Why did you have us do all the things married couples do and tell me it’s in preparation for our future?
Why did you talk so much of ‘our’ future like you saw one?
So many questions bombarded my mind like a blitzkrieg, but they remained there.

You called off our relationship like the commentators in St. Peter’s chaplaincy, UNN announced obituaries- unemotionally, as a matter of formality.

‘The death has been announced of Mr. XYZ, who hails from ABC. Until his demise, he was a member of this church.’

Full stop.

It was in this tone you said we had to break up: We have to part ways, Kosarachi. For the duration of our relationship I loved you dearly.

For every good reason, Charlie Puth‘s Dangerously played in my head. Weirdly, I didn’t shed a tear. Not when I remembered our first date. Not when I remembered our first, second or third break up and how we always took a fancy trip to mark our reunion. Not when I remembered that Yoruba girl you got pregnant and blamed me for it!

“You gave me space for too long, you shouldn’t have,” you said, when I confronted you about it.

I never shed a tear. I moved on, but without my flesh dragging only my shadow along; so you see why I reacted the way I did when banns of marriage was announced one Sunday and your name was called.

“Banns of marriage”, the commentator announced.
Marriage is proposed between Abugu Dennis Uchendu, son of Abugu Fredrick and Abugu Esther of Nsukka Local Government Area in Enugu State and Miss Adebayo Ruth Folake, daughter of Adebayo Peter and Adebayo Naomi of Ikeja Local Government Area in Lagos State.”

“Excuse me please,” I said as I requested a bulletin from someone sitting beside me. It wasn’t enough to hear the announcement. I had to read it to be certain my ears weren’t playing with me. They weren’t.

“Excuse me please,” I said while collecting yet another bulletin from another parishioner. It was the same thing. It was really your name on that bulletin. It was really you getting married.

Less than six months and you moved on fine, enough to marry another girl. Another girl not from your village or state or geo-political zone or tribe! It was you afterall, and not your village people. Your father would have no heart attack. Your marriage would be a remarkable one too. Weren’t we all advocating for One Nigeria?

I couldn’t wait till the end of the mass. I needed my pillow and bed and the comfort of a bolted door to cry.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Uzoamaka Okafor is a graduate of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where she studied Religion and Sociology. She has extensive experience writing about lifestyle, beauty, healthcare and wellness. When she's not writing, she's probably reading or hosting classes on writing and freelancing. If musicians were a drink, a mix of Hillsong Worship, Jon Bellion and Chike would be her favourite cocktail.


  1. Saywhatnow

    November 3, 2018 at 7:35 pm painful

  2. Adamba

    November 4, 2018 at 2:41 am

    Chai, umunwoke!!

  3. Asa

    November 4, 2018 at 8:04 am

    Better don’t waste your time crying for the mugu o! I have been in these exact shoes… he is not married yet but he said something along those lines and I cried like my heart was breaking. Rubbish! Someone better will come, eziokwu! I thought it was cliche but that was how it happened! Someone better came!

  4. annette

    November 4, 2018 at 8:58 am

    such an excellent read

  5. Chinonye

    November 4, 2018 at 10:58 am


  6. abi

    November 4, 2018 at 11:40 am

    The story of our lives. Men are truly from a different planet where the self is the ruling order.

  7. nina

    November 4, 2018 at 12:11 pm

    for someone who recently went through an heartbreak and had similar words said to me ,these words brought tears to my eyes
    I just hope I can find the courage to move on, because it’s really had

    • AsMyself

      November 5, 2018 at 12:50 pm


    • Uzoamaka Okafor

      November 6, 2018 at 7:02 pm


    • didi

      November 5, 2018 at 12:56 pm

      My dear what should help you move on is the way you view the issue, you just escaped a death trap you should be happy. When you are down and low just take your things and go stay with some bubbling friend and make sure you leave your phone behind after you have told your family where you are going.

    • Uzoamaka Okafor

      November 6, 2018 at 7:00 pm

      You’ll find someone. Just love yourself and build yourself, so that when that someone comes, you’ll be ready

  8. Baymax

    November 4, 2018 at 12:50 pm

    Sometimes, i wonder if the heartbreak many girls go through today is karma for the pain their fathers put other women through. When i see such, i wonder if God in heaven doesn’t see the pain women go through, because many times the man marries the new babe, have children and live happily ever after whereas the jilted girlfriend may spend years being heartbroken and unable to find love or trust anyone ever.

    A friend of mine hasn’t dated for 10 years now, whereas the guy has married and had a child whereas she’s one of the nicest people i know.

    • didi

      November 5, 2018 at 1:07 pm

      Well dear thats the effect of remaining in your past, it keeps you from the future. Never let anyone’s action or opinion keep you down and wasted. Dear it baffles me why we dont remember God during the time we want to enter a relationship but when the pain comes you remember to blame God. Which girl would not know that a guy who uses another girl to rebound when your relationship is shaky is a FOOL. You heard it from him and you still carried on with him. The signs are always there but we wo en use our emotions to make decisions most times.

    • Uzoamaka Okafor

      November 6, 2018 at 7:03 pm

      Isn’t life full of ironies?

  9. Ephi

    November 4, 2018 at 12:51 pm

    Lovely read. You write so well.

  10. Lilo

    November 4, 2018 at 1:47 pm

    It happens to the best of us. This burns like a mofo, I can feel the aches and pain for you . But your recovery will be badass. Trust me you will look back and laugh at yourself for wasting air, time an tears over that silly rabbit. Our resilience and ability to heal again is so underrated . Guys like that are better of away from you cos how they treat someone is how they treat everyone. This all looks like a baseline integrity issue on his part so I worry for his new bride

  11. Sapphire

    November 4, 2018 at 6:14 pm

    Nice piece. The man needs to be taught a lesson! Time waster!

  12. MZ_Danielz

    November 5, 2018 at 6:12 am

    I had a conversation with a married toaster who told me he left a girl he was dating for his wife. His exact words were ‘ the babe dey plan marriage, I know say I no go marry am.’ Apparently, his wife was the daughter of an influential person and he got her pregnant ‘ I plan am’ actually slipped from his mouth. I asked him why he strung the first girl along for a long time and he just shrugged it off. Surprisingly, when this man talks about his wife, he sounds like a man talking about his child or a business project that’s doing well but when he talked about one of his ex side chicks, he sounded like a man, you could see his eyes light up. This man treats his wife well according to him but he was asking me out publicly in a bank in his estate.
    I think he married his wife for the connections her family could give him. He was a hard worker and needed the connections.
    This story shows that sometimes, men are selfish in this dating game. Because society allows them have affairs and behave inappropriately as long as they ‘respect’ their wives, they marry for reasons that serve them.
    It’s not a crime for women therefore to be selfish in dating and date objectively. We must approach the dating game like a business not love, love all the time.
    PS: I rejected the man’s advances.

    • bolintin

      November 5, 2018 at 10:21 am

      I like “…….date objectively……”
      this love thing is exaggerated and in my opinion that is why you can fall in love many times.
      So don’t be stupid ladies.

      With maturity we all learn that love is simply commitment (which springs from a decision) and not a feeling. After a while what you love about a man/lady especially is marriage is not a feeling persay, its a just their commitment to you that you appreciate.

  13. MZ_Danielz

    November 5, 2018 at 6:14 am

    That said, shout out to all those that has the courage to break up with their spouses honestly and not lead them on. Thanks for not wasting our time.

  14. Nyong's

    November 5, 2018 at 9:33 am

    Beautifully written.

  15. zzzzzzzzzzz

    November 5, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    Have had my heart broken several times, my only advice is seek God, pray to find the one and even when you do, don’t fall hard for the person because breakups really hurt, I mean hurts real bad.

    • didi

      November 5, 2018 at 9:29 pm

      My sister theres nothing like falling in love softly or hardly ehhhh all God tells us is to put him and his kingdom first, dont go gaga because he is almost perfect weither your courting or married, men always appreciate women who loves them but are not clingy. Let him keep wanting you. Get your life occupied with changing your world, have and live a dream then once in a while send some romantic gestures so he knows you love him but you are not desperate. When you meet the right person as achristian you would know, it will feel like the heaven opened, its pure, fresh and purposeful. Until this is the case trust me NO BE AM.

  16. chu-chu

    November 6, 2018 at 12:20 pm

    I used to think, I was too smart and cold hearted to be heartbroken, until it happened. I’m still recovering from the pain. I left my little my comfort zone and it backfired. I wish I could turn back the hands of time and we never crossed paths.

  17. Uzoamaka Okafor

    November 6, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    Thank you very much Ephi.

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