After saying she’s not the marrying type, Funmi Iyanda, broadcaster and talk show host, has shared an account of how she was almost married off to an older man at 16.
In a memoir on Medium, Iyanda described her childhood experiences and her reason for being averse to the marriage institution.
She wrote: “I have finished WAEC and my grades are good so l need money for JAMB and university. I’ve started teaching English and maths to more fortunate children in the estate, l had refused to hawk on the street as mama Tosin (my step mother) suggested. She always has these survivalist ideas, l always have expansionist ideas that my ego could live with. I hear they say I’m proud.
“Mama Tosin is lukewarm about university, she thinks that if l must go then it’s best l went in there as a married sister to protect me from a place the devil roams wildly in. My grandpa Ida-Ogun also thinks this. He said universities were the devil’s footstool and there was no point to worldly education when Armageddon was so near.
“So it was that mama Tosin, concocted a plan to match make me with this man who worked in an oil company. She was blissfully unaware that the old and gross man -I hear he’s almost 30- had already been giving me bad vibes with lecherous moves. Brother or no, l can always tell the ones who want to get into my pants but I’m determined to go to university and become a doctor.”
At 16, marriage was the “least intelligent survivalist option” for Iyanda.
“Last week he came visiting bearing gifts, which he handed to me in a shopping bag. There was that new Seiko watch, the one everyone wanted badly, a bottle of Samsara perfume and 50 naira.
“Mama Tosin went to the kitchen for some reason. In that time he stepped up to me and tried to hug me, his penis poking my long skirt like all those stupid men on the bus to school. I really don’t know what came over me but a blinding rage travelled through my belly button and flung the gift bag out of our second floor window.
“I was so mad; l tore the netting with my bare hands and tossed the bag out through the bars. Everybody has been angry with me since because you can’t talk emotions with parents.
“If Daddy asked me l would have told him that l was appalled that this man and everyone else thought that of all the possibilities open to me at age 16, the best was marriage which seemed the least intelligent survivalist option.
“I couldn’t communicate how disgusted and belittled l felt. Nothing about it made me feel excited or hopeful. The thought of it made me feel entrapped and frightened.”
“I hate feeling trapped. In 2017, I still hate feeling trapped,” she added.
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