As a child, Morayo and her sister Eniayo loved visits from their older cousin, Bros T. A gifted storyteller, everyone recognized that he lied effortlessly, still, there was really no harm in his lies. But as the saying goes, if you'll lie, you'll steal. The day money goes missing, Bros T swears he hasn't taken it, lying to both his overindulging mother and his disbelieving grandmother. It's then that Mama Ejiwunmi recognizes that her grandson is a bad seed.
Expulsion from school and pleas from Aunty Tope result in Bros T taking up residence in the Bassey household and begin Morayo's descent into her own private hell. While Bros T's molestation of Morayo only takes up a few pages in the book, it is really her life after and the decisions she makes as a result of living with the shame that make up the bulk of Daughters Who Walk This Path.
This book could have been about any variety of topics. In fact, within the first few pages, I thought there was a chance that it would focus on albinism, since much is made of Eniayo's birth and the realization that she is an albino. Knowing that albinos in Nigeria often face discrimination, Kilanko had the opportunity to touch on that. Beyond a few comments about Eniayo being teased in school, no mention is made of it.
Instead, Daughters focuses on the repercussions that women live with when they're not allowed to make their own decisions about their bodies and who is allowed access to them. As the men that have violated them go through life carefree, the women are the ones that deal with mistrust, feelings of inadequacy and a host of other things that prohibit them from fully engaging in meaningful relationships. Though Morayo and her aunt Morenike are victims of similar situations, how they choose to deal with life after and which paths they choose differ greatly.
Remember that others have walked this path before you and now balance babies on their backs. Daughters, yours will not be an exception.
Published: January 2013
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