On this episode of 9ja Spirit, which is also the first episode this year 💃, I have Tawakalit, a blogger, a graduate of Microbiology. We talked about her blog post – silence and sexual abuse , about traditions and how to unlearn the unhealthy parts of our culture and traditions we have internalized.
You can find her blog post that prompted this conversation here.
The 9ja Spirit is a category where I spotlight terrific Nigerians and have conversations with these amazing people about one or two of the million topics in the world. Click here to see previous episodes on the 9ja Spirit.
Hi, Tawakalit. Tell us about you.
My name is Tawakalit Kareem. I work in Communications, although I am a graduate of Microbiology from the University of Ibadan.
As a blogger, do you suffer ‘Should I say this’ and ‘Should I not say this’ dilemma? And how do you choose what to say and what not to say?
Not really, I don’t. Because my focus is not thinly spread and everyday, I remind myself of the importance of speaking up and amplifying some of these issues that affect our individual and collective lives. I also believe that the more you use your voice, the better you become at using your voice. It’s like a muscle that becomes more fluid with practice.
Hmmn, I like that “it’s like a Muscle thing”, never thought of it that way.
So I read your post about silence and sexual abuse and I read a point where you said (not in the same words) that people/ parents cover up sexual abuses of children to keep up appearances. Do you think this type of mentality is related to the culture of many tribes in Nigeria where Adults are supposed to be right and children, even if they are sexually abused are supposed to be wrong?
I cannot speak for all tribes in Nigeria. I have lived in Lagos for most of my life, schooled in Ogun and Oyo states and served in Kano. If it is true that humans are fundamentally the same, then there must be some hint of truth in that. Humans, whatever tribe we happen to belong to, are not immune to the emotion of ‘shame’ even when it is placed with the wrong person. We take responsibility for acts that were done TO us, and if this remains so, then it will always be our fault and from……that place, speaking up and getting help gets removed from the available options.
Now speaking of tribes and cultural traditions. I saw a trend on twitter where someone, a Nigerian complained about spanking of kids and how there are other ways to make kids do the right thing. The comments, although some agreed, many thought it’s an opinion coming from someone who’s obsessed with the Western ideas. So the question is what do you think about opinions that negate cultural traditions?
Do you think it’s an obsession over the Western ideas or do you think traditions could be just as bad as good?
I really don’t understand when people bring up “but it’s our culture,” especially when the practice is one that is obviously detrimental. A culture didn’t just ‘become’. People made culture, and so it reasons that if some parts of said culture no longer serve us, then we should do away with them. What does that particular part have to do with “obsession over western ideas”
I think it’s hard for people to let go of traditions they grew up practicing or watched other people practice. Like an old habit. It’s dies hard.
How do you think people can break off from the bad part of their traditions that they’ve internalized?
Get new knowledge. Read books that challenge the things you believe. Read from people who are not like you. Speak with people who are not like you. There is so much to the world, but we’ll only access it if we open our hearts to it.
How Nigerian are you? Like 2 habits you have that are peculiar to Nigerians.
I am low key scared of large bodies of water – is that peculiar to us? Haha.
I can’t think of a second one.
Me too, especially when I’m in the car and we pass by a bridge and there’s water left and right.
Can you give one advice to the Nigeria youths?
You can change the game. In our little pockets, we get to build the soul of the country we desire. Don’t give up just yet.
Hi. I’m Azeeza.
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