Our village people and the drums they beat on our heads.

– By Semiloore Atere, ABH PRESS

Nollywood has, over the years, portrayed rural life as a place where the settlers are wicked conspirators, a den of killers and haters that constantly plot the ill of their kinsmen from the city when they visit.

Not only Nollywood, even us, most of our parents shielded most of us from the village. If they didn’t stop us, they didn’t encourage it either. So, most of us as kids had the mindset of a village as this mystical scary place where evil follows you immediately you set your foot in it.
A friend once narrated her first village visit to me, she told me how her mum had series of vigils prior to the trip. Her parents had always gone anyway but not with them. However, when she got to the village, she loved the village, she wanted to explore everywhere, she remembers only the contented simplicity of the hardworking people, their kind nature and how it was everyone’s responsibility to raise a child, how the full moon meant everyone gathers in the square and socialise.

She loved the party preparations, she loved to watch the loud banter of women cooking, the old women directing the young as they reminisced in loud voices, the men doing the slaughter, the dancing by the people and the masquerades. She did not fail to remind me that our man crush drummers in our Pentecostal church was only a learner compared to drummers in the village. She was looking forward to the next holiday in the village. But when they got back to the city, mother again started her vigils and made them have a compulsory fast. For ten days, their food had no salt! The following year, she wasn’t interested in the village visit. I said to myself, this is how we lose touch with cultural roots and history unfortunately.

‘Village people’ is just a joke you say, it is only humor jare, don’t make a fuss out of it! Perhaps, this is the time I apologise for being this uptight. Regardless, I tell you unapologetically that this type of stereotype is entirely WRONG. Not only because one of the common clichés in my class is about ‘village people’ but also that it has become a comfortable rising perspective in our everyday conversations that they are drummers of peril.

When we use an experience to blanket an entire people because of where they live it is UNFAIR. Again, we do not like it when the developed world sees us has shit-hole, violent, hungry and uneducated people, not as though these are false but it is a single story. We are more. Such jokes are unwarranted.

In fact, I want to believe there are more crimes in the city than in the village. I try to remove the imagination that this cliche is from our pseudo narcissistic view. Because, in the city we also get robbed, killed, kidnapped, poisoned and raped even despite the luxury of education, a neutral hand to settle dispute like a court of justice, written constitution etc yet no stereotypes for city people and crimes..
Therefore, I will make a conscious effort to remove the phrase ‘Village People’ from my vocabulary. There are bad people everywhere. Bad stories everywhere. I will not attribute misfortune, bad luck and evil deeds to village people.
I am born again now to see that these kind of stereotypes are the worst!
A happy resumption to the 2k18 MBBS/BDS class.

Congratulations to us!

This post is dedicated to everyone of us and to Zainab Haruna who made me conscious of stereotypes.

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