Stella Damasus Blasts Nigeria’s Under-Age Marriage Law And Calls out 1st lady Patience Faka Jonathan To Stand Up As The Mother of The Nation

In most of Africa, we refer to the wives of our presidents as the “mothers of the nation” not the 1st Lady. We grant the wives of our presidents the highest honor in being the mothers of nations of people, yet their voices are rarely heard on issues concerning their children. What bigger role in life does a mother have but to protect, speak up and stand up for her children? I highly applaud Nigerian actress and singer, Stella Damasus, on being the change she wants to see in Nigeria by forcing Nigerians and particularly its artists, women elected officials and the mother of the nation, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, to face the truth of who we are as nations and how we use our platforms for granting others the quality of life that everyday people have granted us in privileges that are unimaginable dreams deferred for them. How can the mother of Nigeria talk about “Women for Change Initiatives”  without lending her voice to the protection of young girls in Nigeria to have the chance to live and develop fully as women before being imposed upon by men who buy them as commodity to serve womanly duties in marriage? Stella Demasus represents the voices of many Africans locally and globally calling for the type of change where artists, first ladies, women politcians and women in power in general use their voice and privilidge as the mothers of our nations in standing up for the rights of young girls, women and our most vulnerable in general not only in times of convenience but at all times, even when it goes against the men and political parties whom they support. As the saying goes “To whom much is given, much is expected“.

I cannot believe that such a barbaric and degrading issue would be discussed by the senate, in a country which is described as ‘the giant of Africa…Of all the issues facing this country-corruption, energy unemployment, infrastructural deviancy, health, education, security – our senators have decided to waste taxpayers’ money to discuss how to enable these shameless randy old men to marry underage children legally… I cannot believe that a senator of Nigeria will push for child slavery to be made legal.

Nigerians are not happy. They are furious, enraged and mad at those representing them at the upper chamber of the nation’s sacred shrine. Ask an average indigene and he tells you ‘my eyes are very red, all in protest against underage marriage… The senate had reached a resolution to alter Section 29 (a) of the proposed constitutional amendment, which states that a Nigerian girl-child can only go into marriage legally when she is at least 18 years of age, but Senator Ahmad Sani (Zamfara West) objected to the provision which inserts a minimum age for girls before getting married, on the grounds that it contradicts Islamic law… After Yerima’s objection, the Senate President, David Mark, then called for a new round of votes and after the second round of the votes, the earlier provision was partially discarded by majority of the Senators who voted against the existing law on girl-child marriages…READ MORE

Sen. Yerima weds a 13-year old…pays $100k in bride price

When his name entered into the hall of fame as the first Governor in Nigeriawho first adopted the practice of Sharia law, the entire Muslim community gave him a nod for that effort, little do they know that he is a worst infidel hiding under Islamic tenets for his own selfish reasons. Senator Ahmed Sani Yerima’s penchant for underage virgin girls in recent times has now taken a dramatic and shameful dimension. The nymphomania ex Zamfara Governor was recently cited in a wedding Fatiha at the Abuja National Mosque to an Egyptian teenager, the bride is said to be 13 years old. … Huhuonline.com gathered that prior to the weeding, the former Governor of Zamfara Statehad divorced his second wife since he already had four other wives and he had to abide by the Islamic injunction that provides for a maximum of four. The wedding Fathia, according to our Abuja source who elected anonymity, had to take place in Nigeria instead of the bride’s home country, Egypt, because her country laws forbid marriage at such a tender age, especially to a man believed to be in his late fifties or early sixties...” READ MORE

It seems no matter where democracy is placed it never complies with its law of separation between church and state. One of the biggest stories in Nigeria right now is the fact that the government has now moved to make underage marriage a protected and sanctioned  law. While many in the world are speaking up for the need for all of us to come together and stand up for the rights of young girls to live up to their full potential as future heroes like Malala Yousafzai and the millions worldwide waiting for their moment to have their voices heard and the opportunity to not be crippled and marginalized just for being born as a girl child.  Stella Demasus put on her activist cape and took to video to use her platform as an artist and celebrity to champion and to speak out for the protection of young girls in her country along with forcing Nigeria, Africa and the world to face the uncomfortable truth about the modern day slavery of young girls all over the world still being legalized in our modern times as acceptable by another name.  As the great Nina Simone said “An artist’s duty is to reflect the times. I think that is true of painters, sculptors, poets, musicians. As far as I am concerned it’s their choice ..I choose to reflect the times & the situations in which I find myself.. that to me is my duty..At this crucial time in our lives ,when everything is so desperate, when everyday is a matter of survival- I don’t think you can help but be involved. Young people -Black and White know this, that’s why they’re so involved in politics. We will shape and mold this country or it will not be molded and shaped at all -anymore. I don’t think you have a choice. How can you be an artist & not reflect the times? That to me is the definition of an artist….

 

It is ironic that the 2013  theme of International Women’s Day was “The Gender Agenda: Gaining Momentum.”  What exactly is the momentum being gained when young girls and women are being marginalized  and dehumanized more than ever by laws all over the world; be it “the right to choose”  in America or “underage marriage” in Africa and many parts of the world. It seems the ongoing narrative is that everyone speaks up for the African and his/her problems in need of change and solutions except the African in his or her own voice. All one has to do is walk on any city street or go into any chop bar in Africa to know that Africans are by no means voiceless, yet we sit back back and watch as the world paints our picture and delivers our narrative as voiceless beings who can not ever seem to evolve in finding solutions to what it projects as the never ending problems steeped in cultural, religious, societal and tribal cognitive dissonance that keeps us from growth and attaining our given potential and equality in the world. We can not blame slavery, colonialism and the new colonialism for all of our problems when we refuse to do aswe say in Ghana “Di Wo Fei Asem…”  loose translation: “Mind the business of your own home.”  There are homes all over Africa and the world where abuse of children and women are sanctioned by society, religion and law going unaddressed  by those living with acceptance of backward madness. As Wunmi Olaiya– a great daughter of Nigeria and true artist who reflects the times said  “A mad man does not come out on the streets, he stays in the house” – where society can’t see his real truth exposed.
We can not solely blame the media for a slanted view in telling our continetal story when we do not even utilize our own platforms to shed light on our truths be it good or bad. We have become a continent of unabashed mindless consumption and mimicry of western cultures with no sense of duty nor pride in recognizing, challenging and celebrating our own in creating a legacy grounded in the type of world recognition and celebration that it once had through our artists, scholars and leaders in the world who ushered in an Africa in freedom times. Where are our artists along with our elected and anointed leaders of today giving a global face in true representations of our cultures and voices locally and globally?  Our post freedom generation has become a generation of constant flash without substance, talk without actions and dreams constantly deferred because of lack of personal responsibility, planning and execution.
All we see and hear from western and even local media outlets are stories of Africa’s 1st ladies and head of states living glamorous and luxury lifestyles afforded to them by nations of people with a majority in poverty, and homegrown artists/celebrities flashing these same said lifestyles of fake and real privilege as aspirations for nations of people without the right of freedom and the pursuit of happiness. Nations of people being sold aspirations of luxury without basic human rights in access to unlimited clean water  and electricity on a continent surrounded by water, with western and eastern nations utilizing our own resources to bring alternative sources of energy to their nations as Africans continue to sit in darkness with no alternatives while awaiting an opportunity to one day benefit from their own resources and labor in self-determination, ownership and sufficiency. We hear the world media and local media talking about Africa’s growth and Africa being the future without ever addressing the uncomfortable truth that this is far from the reality of the majority of Africans and just the mere privilege of the few -most of whom are not even citizens of African nations- whose only  stake in Africa is  profiteering off of the poorest and most marginalized African nations and their people. Where is the United Nations in truly speaking to the truth of this global matter void of the usual placates to no real solutions?
Today we rarely hear about the causes and platforms of the mothers of African nations even though there are some who are being the change they want to see. We are wrapped up in a current state of media with boundless information, yet the only things that trickle through our airwaves are sensationalism and trivial matters effecting a continent in desperate need of real voices toward solutions. Gone are the days when 1st ladies and mothers of African Nations like Ghana’s Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings and Winnie Mandela , along with all those fearless women who fought for change before them, like Yaa Asantewaa and Funmilayo Ransome Kuti . These women represented the power and fight for respect and equality not only for African women and girls but also for their nations and the world at large to recognize that injustice anywhere is truly a threat to justice everywhere. These warrior women maybe seen by some as as imperfect and controversial, but no one can deny the difference they made in change at home and abroad. I would love this generation to bare witness to our current 1st ladies like Marieme Faye Sall who is Senegal’s first fully Senegalese 1st lady,  and the new young women politicians like Samia Nkrumah using their given and chosen positions and privilege in life to bring about platforms of substance and action that truly push the envelope in change and continued legacy for Africa’s future.
As a young child,  I was inspired by the 1st lady Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings who stood as a global icon for many of my generation as she put Ghanaian designers on the world stage by always choosing to wear her traditional attire with a fashion-forward vision of what an African fashion industry on the world stage could potentially be. I found my global fusion in her as an American born child raised in Ghana, as she showed up in pages of Ebony Magazine and stood amongst presidents, 1st ladies and dignitaries around the world unabashed about representing Africa through fashion, cultural exchange and being voice of the future of Ghanaian and African women in declaring the importance of equality and protection of women and children through laws with her 31st December Women’s Movement. Gone are the days where African 1st ladies like Winnie Mandela came in already with their own voice as world acclaimed  freedom fighters who were on the front-lines of bringing change not only to their nations but the world at large.
We have to face our truths in the fact that we have had limited evolvement in natural progression and legacy as a continent because we continue to use currency, culture, religion, gender, privilege and politics to keep certain portions of society in their place of stagnation without any opportunity for freedom. We have gleefully & complacently accepted the exact type of slavery that derailed Africa as a continent from its destiny in the past by utilizing the same tools of currency, culture, religion, gender, privilege and politics to once again derail our natural progression with a world continuing to see us as barbaric, inferior beings who sell off their children for as low as the cost of alcohol and tobacco. Today, we have young African girls and girls throughout the world growing up believing by law, religion and culture that their biggest commodity in life is their body and its worth to others with no one truly looking into the fact that we have slipped far from the dreams of the wind of change that brought Africa its freedom. Today, “the new normal”  is the selling of the bodies of African girls in a new culture  of “hoes be winning”, where being mistresses and kept women are the new normal in status symbols no matter one’s education level, and western celebrities known best for their sex work get hundreds of thousands  to show up to events in Africa.  Sex-trafficking and sex-tourism at home and abroad is running rampant at a time when the coveting of ill-conceived and ill-acheived western celebrity, money, power, respect lifestyles are being played out like telenovelas through social media posts, shedding the light on our dirty little secrets which we refuse to clean up beyond its surface because underneath it all there is enough dirt to cover us all in our complicity in acceptance for ourselves or others!
The UN declared 2012- 2020, the decade for women. Lets not wait until the final year of the decade to finally have the 20/20 vision needed to fulfill our goals for a much more progressive, equal and compassionate global society, where young girls and women are given their voice in no longer being silenced second class citizens put upon by poverty, culture, religion and laws that continue to enslave them without opportunity to realize their innate worth.  It is not solely an African problem, a cultural nor religious problem ; it is a world problem that effects young girls and women around the world on many levels who are shamed and institutionalized into the silence and acceptance of local and global societies defining their caste in the life to always be lesser.

Woman child , child woman … I search your eyes for understanding. So much ……so much… Second hand pain . Now it’s our turn to break the chain,We will break the chain…” Who brings voice to the reality of Africa’s woman-child and ALA’s in a time of local and global debates on child marriage, sex-trafficking, immigration, poverty, women’s rights and equal citizenship in the benefits of national resources at home and abroad? We must first see ourselves in all of our uncomfortable truths in order to break the chains toward a New Africa. Africans have always had voices –it was always just a matter of finding an audience willing to not only listen- but to also hear, feel and see Africa through the eyes of an African.

Should we commit our own genocide before exercising our minds…We Need To Free Ourselves From Cognitive Dissonance Worldwide!

In psychology, cognitive dissonance is the discomfort experienced when simultaneously holding two or more conflicting cognitions: ideas, beliefs, values or emotional reactions.Cognitive dissonance theory explains human behavior by positing that people have a bias to seek consonance between their expectations and reality. According to Festinger, people engage in a process he termed “dissonance reduction,” which can be achieved in one of three ways: lowering the importance of one of the discordant factors, adding consonant elements, or changing one of the dissonant factors. This bias sheds light on otherwise puzzling, irrational, and even destructive behavior.READ MORE

We people who are darker than blue
Are we gonna stand around this town
And let what others say come true?
We’re just good for nothing they all figure

A boyish, grown up, shiftless jigger
Now we can’t hardly stand for that
Or is that really where it’s at?
We people who are darker than blue

This ain’t no time for segregatin’
I’m talking ’bout brown and yellow two
High yellow girl, can’t you tell
You’re just the surface of our dark deep well

If your mind could really see
You’d know your color the same as me
Pardon me, brother, as you stand in your glory
I know you won’t mind if I tell the whole story

Get yourself together, learn to know your side
Shall we commit our own genocide
Before you check out your mind?

I know we’ve all got problems
That’s why I’m here to say

Keep peace with me and I with you
Let me love in my own way

Now I know we have great respect
For the sister, and mother it’s even better yet
But there’s the joker in the street

Loving one brother and killing the other
When the time comes and we are really free
There’ll be no brothers left you see

We people who are darker than blue
Don’t let us hang around this town
And let what others say come true

We’re just good for nothing they all figure
A boyish, grown up, shiftless jigger
Now we can’t hardly stand for that
Or is that really where it’s at?

Pardon me, brother, while you stand in your glory
I know you won’t mind if I tell the whole story
Pardon me, brother, I know we’ve come a long, long way
But let us not be so satisfied for tomorrow can be an
An even brighter day

Read more: CURTIS MAYFIELD – WE THE PEOPLE WHO ARE DARKER THAN BLUE LYRICS

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