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BN Prose: Willie Willie by Theo Ubabunike



He ran towards the house in boyish excitement.

“Hey mom, I’m back,” he said breathlessly as he clambered up the steps to the veranda where she was seated on a low stool, picking beans for supper. He gave her a wet kiss on her cheek and she caught the strong smell of sweat.

“Take off your shoes and go wash your hands,” she instructed, fondly rubbing his head.

He ran down the steps and around to the backyard where he took off his shoes and washed his hands. He sang as he did so.

Willie Willie Willie Willie o
Mother in the kitchen cooking rice
Father in the parlor watching film
Children in the garden playing ball
This is the end of my story. Oya change your style. Another one. Be like that.

He ran back towards her, his hands outstretched and dripping wet.

“See, I’ve washed. What are we having for dinner?” he asked.

She didn’t respond, instead, she asked, “Where did you learn that song?”

“It was Bose and Kayode who taught me today on the playfield. Do you like it?”

“No, I don’t. They did not get the words properly. Take a seat, let me teach it to you.”

He took a stool eagerly and sat down.

“Now, this is how you sing it.”

Willie Willie Willie Willie o
Father in the kitchen cooking rice
Mother in the parlor watching film
Children in the garden playing ball
This is the end of my story

He was quiet. Then he said, “It doesn’t sound right mom.”

“Okay then, let’s change it.”

Children in the kitchen cooking rice
Mother in the parlor watching film
Father in the garden playing ball.

He shook his head. “Boys don’t cook, Mom. That sounds wrong.”

“Well, why not?” she asked.

“I don’t cook,” he said.

“You will, starting today.” He was about to protest, but the look in her eyes silenced him.

She told this story to Uju much later that evening. Uju laughed, the ube seed she was sucking on protruding from the side of her mouth.

“Nnenwa, my dear friend,” Uju said, still chuckling, “you will not kill me. It is like this Obodo Oyibo you lived in has turned your head upside down. How do you want him to sing a song like this outside eh? His friends will laugh at him. Biko, let him enjoy a normal childhood, he is only seven years old. When he gets older, you can start filling his head with your ideas.”

“It would be too late by then,” Nnenwa said, wondering what a normal childhood was. She looked at Uju who was sucking on another ube, still smiling to herself.


Photo Credit: Dreamstime

THEO UBABUNIKE is a lawyer, freelance writer, and content creator. Her free time is divided between reading, fighting for noble causes, laughter, great conversations, drinking wine, and listening to great music. She loves a good story and is the ultimate foodie !.. You can connect with her on Instagram @theoubabunike


  1. Bookish

    January 29, 2019 at 10:18 am

    Love this! I’ve always resented that rubbish song that has the mother slaving away in the kitchen and everyone else enjoying themselves. Well done!

  2. Bowl

    January 29, 2019 at 6:50 pm

    Thoroughly enjoyed this

  3. Misan

    February 8, 2019 at 2:53 pm

    I love the simplicity of this story, the nostalgia of the song and how it tackles one of the main problems of entitled man-children.

  4. Hope Anemhen

    February 8, 2019 at 6:18 pm

    Nice one my lovely friend …keep it up… The song is a representation of the ideologies of the primordial African society…
    The best chefs on earth are men (heavily built ones at that)

  5. Mercy

    February 8, 2019 at 6:44 pm

    Enjoyed the read! And I’m waiting for part two… Till whatever part it is our young dear friend (whose name remains untold) grows up to be fed someone’s ideas. I love love love this! Well done love!

  6. Chizi

    February 8, 2019 at 9:27 pm

    It was about time someone said that song is wrong. Beautiful piece.

  7. Mims

    February 9, 2019 at 5:33 am

    This song appears to be something fun and basically forming the childhood memories of every child. What we don’t realise is how it negatively invades our mind without permission and gradually grows to become “the norm”. Your story did not fail to tell this truth in its simplicity, one that I find very heartwarming. Beautifully written Tee.

  8. Okwara Ify

    February 9, 2019 at 9:04 pm

    Dearest, we will cook the food, watch the film and together play in the garden. Till then, stay cool.
    Your love,

  9. Tomi

    February 9, 2019 at 11:39 pm

    Lol, amazing story, it’s funny how a seemingly harmless song like that has framed a patriarchal disposition in the life of the average Nigerian boy, everyone needs to read this, we all need to do better in raising the next generation.

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