Saturday, June 5, 2010

My Black is beautiful. Ocha is...?

Our people say:
Igbo: Ewu mmadu abuo nwere na-ehi ura nezi.
Eng: A goat owned by two people sleeps outside. - Igbo proverb.
I am writing about an albino. But I am not fully equipped to write about one. My skin is dark like the midnight sky and my eyes are big and bold. My lashes are black, like rich expensive chocolate, and they curl as withered raffia. I have no albino friend or family and I see ocha's ever so rarely. So, if I have to imagine an ocha, I think opposite. Sun-bleached skin, red pores, squinted eyes and invisible lashes; lashes that match the skin and sink into it's transparency. So, if I am dudu, then ocha must be everything that I am not. My black is beautiful. Therefore ocha is...?
It ought to be simple for me to tell stories, simpler than anything else. I like to talk about mangoes and raffia and palmwine and the iroko tree. And it's beautiful to talk about these because they are what I know. But I have talked about them too many times and the children under the baobab tree have began to tire. They ask me if this is all I know? 'No', I tell them. 'This is what we are'. But I have lied and have become a traitor. I have done the same thing as call Sango's name in an Obatala shrine. I have helped those foreigners with big cameras and single stories, emphasize those single stories.
So, I asked to meet with an ocha, an albino. I asked a friend and then many more friends if they knew albinos. They said no. Not as in, 'I'am sorry, unfortunately I do not have an albino friend'. 'No', as in 'do you really expect me to have an albino friend?' I shall never ask those friends for different stories again. It was like asking for Nsala soup in a Yoruba man's house or cold pepper-soup or a lazy Igbo man. So, I want to tell an ocha's story and I want to be the pen, the ocha, the writer. Or else, I will paint the story with pity and one-sidedness. I do not want to tell the story from this blind point of mine. I want to tell it as though they were a different kind of beauty and not the opposite, the way palm-wine is not better than kunu and zobo is not better than fura.


  1. You're leaving me wanting more. I want to read an Ocha's story.

  2. Erm... okay, so I can't exactly help in terms of giving you an albino's point of view but I can tell you that Ocha is not the Igbo word for albino.

    The Igbo word for albino is Anyali.

    Ocha = white (the colour).

    Anyali = Albino.

    Albinos are not people with white skin pigmentation, rather they are people with NO skin pigmentation.

    Hope this helps

  3. Alright thank you, Sugabelly. I used Ocha to mean 'white' and not 'albino. But now that I have the igbo word for albino, I would definitely use that!

    @Harry, please send me an e-mail.

    @Jaycee... :)

  4. I have seen one or two back in Nigeria but I haven't seen any here at all.

  5. could help too ,seeing i come from a family where,there are lots of alinos..

  6. my family is just oyinbo, but they tend to have all the spots, no albinos sha, but interesting would love to see the final story

  7. Story? thought it was more deep rooted than that..not actually on albinos i think...but an UNBIASED view of things in the world...just like BBC documentary on 9ja that was one sided...& you trying to tell me you like to be an OBJECTIVE person...& not look down on other people's norms & ways because you feel yours is much better...That is how i can understand your well scripted words...weldone! Me likey the proverb aferall, own, your own, & our own is DIFFERENT!

  8. I was inclined to agree with NG at first then I read the comments before her and changed my view almost totally till i finally read NG's comment and went back. So which one was it NS? Whichever it was, you have a unique style of writing that is not contrived.

  9. Thank you all so much for being here.

    It is true that I am writing an actual story of an albino. However, like almost all of my posts, this is deep rooted and much more than just the surface story.

    @Miss Natural and Nitty Gritty, it has so much depth to it. Infact, I have constantly gone back to read and take in my own sentences. You seem to be getting a hang of this post...well!!!

  10. Albino- thats afin in Yoruba. lol
    I love ur style of writing sha.
    Yoruba Edo.:)


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