To Kill The Culture of Silence Surrounding Male Sexual Abuse We Need the Voices of Male Advocates

For a lot of men, their first sexual encounter was through rape or sexual assault. From the nanny to the housekeeper, the school-teacher, seniors in secondary school boarding houses, and trusted family members, boys face a lot of sexual assault. Around the world, at least 1 in 6 men have experienced sexual abuse or assault.
A South African activist, Rees Mann, told a talk show host that 17% of South African boys will be sexually abused by the time they turn 18. A study carried out estimated that at least 784,967 young people, aged 15 to 17, in South Africa have been sexually abused, with 36.8% of the total number being boys.
All over the world, rape against boys is prevalent, but it is more worrisome in a lot of African countries and Nigeria where  substantial data to back this up is hardly available.
We live in a society that tells men to ‘man up’ or ‘behave like a man’ when they are in difficult situations. The idea of ‘manning up’ is to encourage (or in many cases, force) men to withstand pain and do odeeshi when they are hurting. The society raises men to believe that only women should show emotions and men who cry or are emotional are effeminate and weak.
The effect of forcing boys to ‘man up’ is that the culture of silence is being heavily propagated and promoted. In most cases, when boys find themselves in a fix, they shut up and look for solutions by themselves. When they cannot find solutions, they ‘man up’and live with the pain and trauma. In many cases, these sexually abused and emotionally traumatised boys grow up to become sexual abusers and emotionally unavailable or manipulative men.
A recent tweet by Ayo Bankole started the conversation on male sexual abuse on social media.

The Responses

The boy child needs to be protected from socio-cultural and economic vices; and just like when women are the victims of sexual assault, we have to be more intentional about male sexual abuse.
Killing The Silence
We cannot find a solution to this problem if we keep denying its existence. “Men cannot be raped” is a myth that many people have held on to for so long. The belief that a boy who was raped by an older woman/girl should count himself lucky needs to be killed.
To end the culture of silence surrounding male sexual abuse, we have to first admit that men can be raped. After this, we have to encourage more boys to speak about their sexual abuse and believe them when they talk.

Teach Boys Sex Education
Many parents fail to teach their children sex education. For many boys, especially teenagers going into the university, the only sex education they got from their parents was several packs of condom and a few words of caution, “we know you’ll ‘do’ all those university girls, just be careful and don’t impregnate any girl”.
From an early age, boys need to be taught that there are many pedophiles lurking around and they can come in many shapes and forms, as family or friends, as neighbours or strangers, as male or female – anyone can be a potential abuser until proven otherwise.
Teach your boys to report if anyone touches them in inappropriate places or if anyone forces them to carry out inappropriate acts. And most importantly, believe them when they talk.
Teach Them Consent
We have many boys who sexually abuse women because they do not understand what consent is. That is because the option of a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ had been taken away from them on many occasions. As a parents or guardian, you should teach your boys that no one has the right to touch them if they don’t  consent to it – even as adults. As you teach boys to respect boundaries when it comes to a woman’s body, they should also be taught to demand respect in return. Their boundaries should never be crossed because they are boys.
Boys Need Their Parents
A boy-child cannot figure out life on his own. That he’s a boy does not mean that he can take care if himself. The culture of “settle yourself na, no be man you be?” has to stop! Fathers need to step up and be very active in raising their sons and teaching them. Boys need more men to share their experiences, so they can learn from them.
Justice Starts With The Constitution
According to the Nigerian constitution, boys and men cannot be raped.
“The criminal code defines rape as any sexual intercourse with anyone without his or her consent or incorrectly obtained consent. Under this act, the slightest act of activity without the ‘yes’ of the other partner equals rape. It, however, does not recognize any other form of sexual activity, so any penetration of the anus or mouth is not considered rape under the Nigerian law.
The offence of rape under this act is also gender-specific; only men commit the offence and by implication, only a woman can be raped. Also, according to Section 30 of that act, a male person under the age of 12 years is presumed to be incapable of having carnal knowledge. This means that he cannot be guilty of the offence even if it is proven that he has reached puberty despite his age.”
In 2019, Senator Oluremi Tinubu pushed for a bill seeking to remove gender restrictions on rape cases. The bill, which has passed a second reading, will formally recognise men as victims of rape when it’s finally passed.
Without the backing of the constitution, perpetrators of male sexual abuse and rape cannot be prosecuted and the victims cannot get justice.
Creating a Better Child-Welfare System
Nigeria is one of the 10 worst countries for children to live in. A better welfare system for kids includes proper safety measures for them. Systems like child-hawking and Almajiri exposes kids – especially boys – to all forms of sexual assault. Children need to be taken off the streets, protected and provided for.
A Man is Raped? Don’t Laugh!
It is terrible that a lot of people see male sexual assault as so inconsequential that when a victim comes out to share his experience, especially on social media, people go into spasms of laughter. What exactly is funny?
Rape and sexual assault should never be joked with, used as a meme or as a skit. No one should laugh when victims of sexual abuse tell their stories.
We all need to do better in ridding our world of all forms of sexual violence against every human.
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Jessica Ireju: Beautiful Imperfections and Stained Glass Windows

Who else has experienced a random memory popping into their head and taking them back to a specific moment in time? In the last couple of weeks, I’ve thought about life, reminisced on my childhood and the past. It’s just this thing that happens every time I have a birthday coming up – I replay the past events of my life and attempt to decipher how those events led me to the present.
For some weird reason, I’ve had this particular memory on replay in my head: I was about 7 or 8 and I was tracing my finger on the patterns of the stained glass window at school. This memory ignited a sudden curiosity in me, I had to look up stained glass windows on Wikipedia. To me, they mirrored life and all its beautiful imperfections.
Stained glass windows are basically coloured glass, enhanced by painted details and yellow stains, that’s what gives the design its intensity and beauty used to create windows. I thought about the things that have smeared my life, the shocking details that have made my story imperfect but also how those imperfections have given me a story that is uniquely mine. It’s like how in random conversations with people I’m meeting for the first time, they smile at me and say “I love your name, Ireju, what does it mean?” And when I tell them it’s a reminder of worry, they’re always shocked that something beautiful has an uncomfortable history. When people send me a DM and say I love how you write, I don’t know how to say I wish I didn’t have to experience pain to weave words beautifully.
Stained glass windows, as an art, requires design skills to create beautiful pieces but also engineering skills to hold it together. It cannot just be beautiful, it must function, according to design fitting, into the space it was made for, resist strong elements, and support its own weight, especially in larger windows. It’s not enough to create a beautiful life but holding it all together – balancing family, career and other obligations – come with a lot of calculations because at every point in life, we must make sure the pieces fit together or it’s all going to shatter into a million pieces.
Then there’s the question of purpose – one that almost everyone wants an answer to. Why am I here? Where do I fit in? But it’s not like you get free time away from life challenges to come up with the answers to those questions. The reality is that the elements of heartbreaks, loss, and pain are hitting you hard while you’re still trying to support yourself on the journey to who you think you were created to become.
As someone who studied Archaeology, I’m fascinated with the past and heritage preservation. I understand that sometimes, a piece of something – as simple as glass – can be the only data left to tell an entire people’s story because guess what? We die and hundreds of years later, there’s no one living to tell our stories. Stained glass windows remain intact sometimes for hundreds of years, they are like you and me – resilient! No matter what life throws at us – pain, failure, even death, we remain standing.
One of the major forms of pictorial art to have survived in parts of Western Europe are stained glass windows. In this context, the purpose of these stained glass windows is not to allow those present in a building to see the world outside; to admit light but rather to control it so that they can focus on the beauty of these windows.
In life, we will always have a season when it’s just us. The COVID-19 pandemic forced us to close out the outside world that has some of our favourite things and people so that we could focus on ourselves. Just like these stained glass windows, we can discover the beauty, gifts inside of us – away from the distractions of the outside world and in the silence of our thoughts, hopes and dreams. We have to control what we let into our space so it doesn’t cloud our beauty. Even good things like light, when it’s overwhelming, can mar beauty. It’s just like how too much lighting can ruin the perfect selfie.
Some stained glass windows are donated to churches by members of the congregation when a loved one dies (they are popular with churches), as a reminder of how they’ve decorated their life with love in their absence.
If you ever read Nicholas Sparks’s “The Last Song” (or you saw the movie adaptation where Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth met and began their real-life romance), the stained glass window is donated by the lead character at the death of her father to a church. Because people are but memories when they die, they leave us with their quirks, habits, and funny stories to remember them by.
Recently, 3 days after the 2nd year anniversary of a loved one’s death, I was looking at the exact bricks in the same hospital parking lot and mourning another family member who passed away this month of May (death has a sense of humour, it picked the same month to visit again) I’ve had to decide how best to remember the ones I’ve lost, maybe not with a stained glass window, but in the stories that I tell – the words that I string together to create features like this.
How do you honour the memory of your loved ones? Life is a beautiful imperfection. Like stained glass windows, it’s not smooth, clear or devoid of obstructions but those stains are what make them beautiful. What’s the current beautiful imperfection in your life?
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Together, We Can Help Irede Foundation Provide 4-Year-Old Adanna with the Prosthetic Limb She Needs

4-year-old Adanna is the Irede Foundation beneficiary of the month. At the age of four, Adanna has had to deal with trauma from an accident which resulted in a deformed limb.
On the 9th of December 2018, Adanna and her dad were on their way home from church when a trailer lost its brakes, knocking her father off and running through Adanna’s leg. Adanna’s father was badly injured, and Adanna was left with a deformed limb. In the past two years, Adanna has had difficulties moving about and participating in school activities.
The Irede Foundation is raising 195,000 Naira to balance up the funds to make a prosthetic foot for Adanna and they need your help. So far, the foundation has raised N155,200 out of N350,000 and about 195,000 Naira is still needed. If 195 people donate just 1,000 Naira each, the remaining sum of 195,000 will be complete.

So If 195 of you use this link https://t.co/bBmBUbpVeW which allows you to give N1000 only, we would have made Adanna Smile again! Ps. She hasn’t been smiling since her accident
If you use this link, https://t.co/GCL9DhuBVK you can give any amount.
One more thing, please RT! pic.twitter.com/BlRyll3QJT
— The Irede Foundation (@theirede) May 19, 2020

You can join Irede Foundation and help Adanna walk again by donating at least 1,000 Naira. Donate 1,000 here. If you want to donate more than a thousand Naira, you can do so here.

Let’s come together to make Adanna walk and smile again.

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This post has been published for free as part of BellaNaija’s Corporate Social Responsibility.
The post Together, We Can Help Irede Foundation Provide 4-Year-Old Adanna with the Prosthetic Limb She Needs appeared first on BellaNaija – Showcasing Africa to the world. Read today!.

Money Matters with Nimi: How Entertainers Can Keep the Vibe & Make Money During this Pandemic

The economic effects of the Coronavirus with its social distancing restrictions have had a severe impact on the global entertainment industry, with creatives experiencing significant loss of income.
The temporary break in live performances has removed one relatively dependable source of income. Many musicians survive from gig to gig with typical sources of other income from entertaining at events, playing in church and teaching. As all these areas have been affected by the pandemic, there is a compounded loss of work as live gig dates and tours have been postponed indefinitely or cancelled.
Large corporate organizations are willing to invest significant sums to associate with particular entertainers that come with a significant fan base and audience. This is an opportunity for you, as an entertainer, to  take deliberate steps to develop and position a strong and timeless personal brand. Your image, credibility, reputation and style play a role in determining a brand’s interest and can significantly supplement and diversify revenue streams.
The popularity and success of celebrity endorsement have prompted stars to expand their portfolios by launching their own clothing, perfume, real estate, children’s products, or collaborate with major brands to keep their names out there and secure their earning potential.
This is one of of the ways an entertainer can make money during these difficult times. Are you an entertainer trying to navigate these challenging times? Consider doing the following:
Sort Out Your Administrative Matters
Many creatives can be somewhat lax about important administrative matters; freelancers operating largely without structure. Use this quiet time to put your books up to date and craft out a sustainable business plan. You are your business; things are different now, so it does need some deep reflection to review how you did business in the past, and what the future might hold.
Review Your Finances
Take a critical look at your finances. A strict budget will help you to prioritize. You must cut back drastically on expenses, except for essentials. It is at times like this that the need for an emergency fund to tide you over for a period of say six months of little or no income, becomes glaring.
Without the safety net of emergency savings, health insurance or a pension plan, one is very vulnerable to any shock. Start to be proactive about building savings. Start with what you have, no matter how little. There will be another crisis; that is part of life. Be prepared.
Map out a Digital Strategy
With everyone having to spend so much more time at home, your audience is looking for ways to fill that time. Are you online? Your entire fan base probably is, as well as millions of others that don’t yet know about you. The internet makes it possible to share and promote your work to a global audience reaching millions cheaply and efficiently.
With the right strategy, you can build a following in faraway lands that are happy to watch you on their devices. Take your online presence seriously. If you cannot handle this yourself, hire help. You do need to be out there.
This is the time to complete some of the tasks that you’ve neglected. This could include a merchandise range, a revamp of a tired website and social media accounts or a YouTube channel. An elegant website with easy navigation and designed for e-commerce may get you some sales over time.
Host Virtual Concerts
Why not host an Instagram or YouTube live concert? Advertise the live stream and prepare a small set just as you would for a normal gig. With the curfew and venues closed you have a better chance of getting a large group to watch you perform online now than you would have before. The best part is that both you and your audience are staying safe but you will also be getting your music out there.
No one can survive on totally free gigs for the foreseeable future. There is nothing wrong with including a donation link for people to pay something if they enjoyed the show. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for money that you need. Ticket sales for an online concert are likely to become the norm.
An online concert is not the same as seeing you in person but it may be all we have for a while. At the end of this, audiences will have a new appreciation and desire for that special connection that special magic that live music brings.
There are still opportunities to perform at online events; webinars, birthdays, weddings, funerals etc. Don’t be mediocre; practice makes perfect and you should also be able to manage the online platform as best you can to give viewers an excellent experience. There is nothing more frustrating than a musician struggling with the network as hundreds of people listen in.
Keep Creating Content
Yes you can’t gig or tour, but you have gained precious time to work on your creativity and create content. Write new songs and scripts, create new beats, make new music. Build a war chest of material that you can pull off the shelf at any time. Keep it fresh and current. Revisit old work that you never got round to releasing and perfect it. Continue to produce, even during the quiet times. Sometimes the best work comes from challenging times such as this.
Develop Yourself
Invest in yourself constantly and be proactive about developing both personally and professionally. Self-development is one of the greatest investments that you can make. When last did you enroll on a course or have some training? There are so many free or affordable webinars. You should always be learning, growing and adapting.
Create Multiple Streams of Income
Whether it is from a pandemic or during normal times, the need to diversify earnings becomes even more glaring for entertainers for whom irregular income is the norm. Passive income comes from having a diversified portfolio includes investment income, dividends, rent, royalties and so much more.
For composers, commissions are perhaps the most sought-after method of making money for original work. If you are a prolific songwriter, you can write songs for other musicians or compose specifically for movies, Television shows, adverts, jingles and so on. A composer could be paid a licensing fee to write music score for a production.
Commissions also come in the form of either a lump sum for a one-time project, such as a movie score, or in a recurring contract, such as scoring a television series. It is possible for talented composers to find consistent work by being commissioned to write television scores. Thankfully TV and radio are now needed more than ever.
Teach
There is a captive audience with the students of the world learning at home. It is not just about academic subjects; parents will not want their children to miss out on important extracurricular activities. A tutor with high quality online lessons will be highly sought after.
Can you teach your instrument to individuals and groups? This is a great way to supplement your stricken income doing what you love and leaving you enough time to build back your business.
Support Others
There will always be someone far worse off than you. If you are able to support others financially, through your network or in other ways, do so. Harness opportunities to collaborate; this is the time for collaboration and not competition; together everyone can achieve more.
It goes without saying that these are trying times for us all. It will require focus, innovation, and collaboration to navigate these choppy waters. It will be those that think outside the box, continue to develop themselves and are willing to collaborate that will come out stronger on the other side.
Above all remember that health is wealth. Be mindful of your mental and physical health and do all you can to remain positive, healthy and safe.
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Theo Ubabunike: Here’s What I Learned From Watching the Michelle Obama ‘Becoming’ Documentary on Netflix

NEW ORLEANS, LA – JUNE 22: Former U.S. first lady Michelle Obama discusses her forthcoming memoir titled, “Becoming”, during the 2018 American Library Association Annual Conference on June 22, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
It’s post-COVID-19 lockdown, but I am still working from home. This means that I still get to spend a curious amount of time binge-watching videos on YouTube and especially Netflix.
My taste in movies is quite the opposite of my taste in books. It is not cultured, eclectic or elite. I love cheesy movies; free of suspense and gun violence. I love simple plot stories, romcoms, happy endings. I also like movies that make me shed a good amount of tears.
I am also that person who always has a note pad and pencil handy when watching a movie or reading a book. I should probably call it my Book of Worldly Wisdom.
Anyway, a few days ago, after finishing the TV series, Orange is the New Black, I started looking for my next film or series. That’s when I saw Becoming. I squealed in delight, thinking ‘oh! They’ve finally made it into a movie’. It wasn’t a movie, it was a Netflix documentary about Michelle Obama on a tour for her best-selling memoir. Being a lover of all things Michelle Obama, I watched it anyway and took the liberty to pen down three quotes that stood out for me.
Quote 1: This quote was an answer to a question about dealing with invisibility as a black woman in America.
“…Invisibility starts here (in your heart). We cannot afford to wait for the world to be equal to start feeling seen. We’re far from it. Time will not allow it. It’s not going to happen with one president, one vote. So, you’ve got to find the tools within yourself to feel visible, and to be heard, and to use your voice…”
Quote 2: For this quote, I wrote down the question because I know it strikes a chord for many young people as it did for me too.
Q: “What advice would you give to someone who’s trying to avoid just becoming a stat? Like, when you go to college and you’re not just the kid with the 3.0 GPA. Or when you’re applying for jobs and you’re not just that person who graduated top of her class. How do you avoid becoming a number?”
A: “I think what makes you more than a stat is once you see yourself as more than a stat and you start thinking about ‘who you are’, ‘what do you care about?’ ‘What brings you joy?’ And I hope my story urges you to see the power of your story and to own that.”
Quote 3: This quote, for me, was the most profound.
“If we can open up a little bit more to each other and share our real stories, that’s what breaks down barriers. But in order to do that, you have to believe that your story has value. Be vulnerable. Dare to be vulnerable.”
I hope these quotes are as useful to you as they have been to me. You can also share quotes from movies that have touched you.
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Yewande Adeleke: Let’s Talk About the Stigma Surrounding COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has had far-reaching effects beyond the spread of the virus. In times like this, people worry more about what the future holds. While policy makers, medical experts and researchers are still meandering around on how to demystify the virus, the growing spate of stigmatization remains a major source of concern.
In this COVID-19 era, certain classes of people are currently experiencing social stigmatization. Some of them are: those who recently travelled, people of Asian and African descent, health care professionals, the physically ill and those who recently recovered from Coronavirus. Conflicting information being circulated about the pandemic has caused overreaction from the public due to fear and anxiety.
A major cause of stigmatization is ignorance. Ignorance, during a pandemic like this, could constitute grave problems because it can potentially create apprehension and ultimately lead to counter-productiveness of whatever preventive measures are in place. A lack of knowledge about Coronavirus could inadvertently lead to racial discrimination, victim blaming, scathing criticisms, unconfirmed narratives and evolving conspiracy theories. A good example is the eviction of Africans from buildings and hotels in China which was done because the perpetrators believed that Africans pose a greater risk of spreading the virus. This move was also retaliated with the burning of a Chinese factory in Ogun state, Nigeria.
So far, different stereotypes have been attached to Coronavirus: A renowned world leader was known to have tagged it as “the Chinese virus”; some social groups have been labelled as more susceptible to Coronavirus and these groups are prone to various types of stigma in form of social avoidance, denial of housing and healthcare facilities, rejection and more recently, physical violence.
Understandably, people should exercise caution because not much is known about the virus and what is known is still being subjected to constant change and predictions. Indeed, it is a difficult situation to deal with when we wake up daily to rising numbers of COVID-19 incidents.
Social stigma kills faster than the virus itself because victims are cowered into silence, for fear of oppression and discrimination. It would not be surprising that some families may be keeping in-house Coronavirus patients to themselves, for the sake of preserving the mental health of their loved ones. What could be more convincing than the realization that revealing such cases could yield negative results such as further isolation, depression and possibly severed relationships?
With uncertainty comes the fact that people tend to react strongly against what they do not understand and cannot control, a situation which can lead to a heightened sense of fear. Even burying loved ones who have lost their lives to the virus has become an uphill task for some families.
Some weeks ago, the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control Director General, Chikwe Ihekweazu, noted that due to fear of being stigmatized, some potential COVID-19 cases had refused to submit themselves for testing, a move which could further exacerbate the spread of the virus. Some others also refused to disclose their travel history. Most people who have recovered from Coronavirus are also afraid to share their experiences on how they recovered and how members of the public can learn from their recuperation stories.
Here are some measures to be adopted in ameliorating the incidents of social stigmatization:
Properly educating yourself about coronavirus and how to stay safe, because knowledge is power.
Raising awareness about the coronavirus pandemic.
Getting correct information about the virus and how it spreads.
Social support which does not have to be physical.
Encouraging real life experiences and recovery stories from those who have recuperated from COVID-19.
Be cautious about what is posted or read on social media, in order not to highlight negative stereotypes.
Engaging with stigmatized groups through means of social media.
Please take a look at the COVID-19 Stigma Guide, a document compiled by the World Health Organization and UNICEF.
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Tolu Falode: So You Were Ghosted… Now What?

You thought your relationship was going well. It was perfect: you would talk to each other every day, exchange texts, messages, video calls, voice notes – you got comfortable with him. You talked about him to your friends, you became really excited about where you thought the relationship could go, what you thought it could become, how you were going to plan the wedding – you allowed your mind to travel in thinking about this man and the possibilities.
And then one day, it just stopped. He stopped picking calls. At first you were worried; what if something was wrong? Maybe he’s just busy. You talked about it with friends and they told you to give it time. Slowly, they got quiet because it became obvious he was no longer interested. Or so you thought. He texted you at his convenience and gave you no rational explanation for his behavior. He became hard to reach and difficult to talk to.
At some stage, you could have sworn he blocked your number because you could no longer reach him. The dreams of a wedding has been shredded and the possibility of introducing him to your parents is gone like the wind. The thought of carrying his last name has now left an unsettling taste in your mouth and you realize that you have been ghosted.
At this point, many thoughts would have gone through your mind: ‘why is this happening to me?’ ‘What did I do wrong?’ ‘I can’t believe this’.
You would have also gone through the 5 stages of grief: denial that it’s happening, anger that he could try this with you, bargaining with the idea that maybe he’ll come back and he just needed some space, depression at the thought that you were not enough and finally acceptance – although bitter acceptance – that it has indeed happened and you were ghosted.
Now you’re wondering what next?
Here’s what you should do in this situation:
Send a message expressing yourself
Let this be the only message you send. No response after this and no conversation. This is your block and delete message. This is the message where you express yourself for the sake of your closure and peace of mind. This message should encompass how you feel, what you think about the whole situation and why you are now moving forward. I repeat: this is your block and delete message. After this message, don’t reach out to him and don’t allow him reach out to you. This is why it is important you express yourself fully in this message so you know you are done and you would not have any regrets, moving forward. You have given yourself the gift of closure.
Look at what you did wrong
It’s time to examine the situation. Maybe you moved too fast with this man? Maybe you opened up too quickly? Maybe you let him in too soon? Maybe you got too close? Maybe you had way too many expectations from him…
Do a self-examination, so you do not have to relive this experience again in another relationship. This is the stage where you question where you are presently, where you’re coming from and where you are going.
Ask yourself what you have to offer in a relationship
Ask yourself what you have to offer in a relationship: What are you bringing to the table? What makes you unique as a partner? Where do you flourish and thrive? What qualities make you stand out amongst your circle of friends, colleagues and even family members? Now build on those areas; make your strengths stronger and also work on your weaknesses. This is important so you learn to value yourself and your time. When you do this, it’ll be much harder for a man to waste your time because you have placed a priority on it.
Ask yourself what kind of man you desire
Now that we’re clear on getting your closure, taking a microscope through your own mistakes and building on those qualities you’re bringing into a relationship, you can now take a step back and ask: “What kind of man do I actually desire?” This question is important to ask when you’re single and unattached to avoid falling into any situationships and unfulfilling relationships. Do you desire a man that’s financially stable? A man that’s secure? A man that doesn’t come with drama? A man that’s fit, eloquent, well balanced? Write it down and make sure you’re clear on what you desire.
Now, align yourself 
Alignment, at this stage, is important. Align yourself by cutting off any excess weight and removing extra luggage – this could be friendships, it could be hobbies and habits, it could also be self-destructive patterns. It really could be anything, and as long as it weighs you down and brings negativity into your life, you have to cut it out. After you have done this, replace that space with more positive activities: start that business, change your habits and hobbies, work on your attitude, take up hobbies that align with the kind of man you desire because it will be easier for you to identify him and attract him.
This is what you do after being ghosted. This is how you handle moving on and moving all the way up from that situation. This is how you change your space and become more positive instead of sinking deeper into a pit of self-pity.
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Sylvester Kay-Adade: Every Child Deserves Quality Education During This Lockdown

A major concern for me, over the past week, has been how to educate/stimulate pupils and students in Nigerian public schools during this extensive lock down period. Majority of the children receiving any formal education right now are those in private schools.
The private – primary and secondary – schools are about the only ones that can afford to implement e-learning protocols. However, the vast majority of Nigerian pupils and students attend public schools, so for the time being, most aren’t learning anything academic.
This means that a lot of them will lose a whole term, or worse, a whole year of school, and fall far behind (than they already are/were) their peers in private schools. So in a bid to provide a solution, I considered having a YouTube channel, in partnership with teachers of basic subjects (like English Language and Mathematics).
However, there are 2 challenges. First, there would either have to be enough content for classes by level – Primary/Basic 1-6, Jss 1-3 and SS1-3, or (the better option) classes by age groups – ages 2-5, ages 7-10, and ages 11-16. Secondly, there is the possibility that because of financial constraints, most of their guardians or parents may not have laptops/tabs and WiFi modems or smart phones (with enough data) to stream the content for long periods of time, talk more of several times a week.
I concluded that since the target audience may find it challenging accessing online content, YouTube may not work.
Next, I considered working with a radio station, as this may be more practical for their parents/guardians. However, off the bat, the first issue is children have short attention span, so without constant supervision, audio might not be too effective, especially for a subject like Mathematics.
This led to my final consideration:
Instead of subjects, the focus could be on puzzles and/or problems with quantitative and verbal elements – according to age groups. They may not learn anything new, but those could help keep them sharp and mentally-stimulated. So maybe the best option for the masses would be to broadcast verbal and quantitative problems catered to various age groups on a regular basis – possibly, a different group at a specific time every weekday.
While seeking a partner for this initiative, I learned that 9Mobile Nigeria had started providing free data to access certain e-learning portals to support the Federal Government’s e-learning program for students during this lockdown. Some of those portals include, MobileClassroom and Schoolgate.
Kudos to 9Mobile for taking the initiative. I wonder if and when the other national carriers (MTN Nigeria, Airtel Nigeria and Globacom Nigeria) will make similar arrangements.
This initiative will, in no doubt, help those with access to smartphones, but those without access to those devices will still be at a disadvantage. So, we’re back to square one.
I wonder if there are those equally concerned and willing to partner with me or support the radio programing angle (#RadioSchoolNigeria), as a palliative/temporary measure, of course?
The use of classrooms is still the best teaching method for children and teens. Please note that it might not be profitable, monetarily, but I believe it will go a long way in leveling the academic playing field and enriching the lives of our younger ones.
The post Sylvester Kay-Adade: Every Child Deserves Quality Education During This Lockdown appeared first on BellaNaija – Showcasing Africa to the world. Read today!.

There Was a Good Reason For Your Break Up, But You’re Going Back to Your Ex

For a lot of people, when a relationship ends, it automatically becomes a closed chapter. There is no turning back. In fact, some people immediately block their ex-lover on all social media platforms, delete their phone numbers and anything that’ll remind them of the relationship.
It doesn’t end there, many people are beginning to adopt the ‘biko biko, I don’t know you‘ act. Don’t know what that means? Oya hear the gist.
Have you ever dated someone that when you look back now, you wonder if you were blind or dumb? Well, it happens. Sometimes – for those who are still following their ex-lover on social media – your ‘ex’ will just give one ‘hot take’and you’ll open your mouth, wondering how you ever dated someone so dumb. What were you thinking?!
It is for this same reason that when some people see their ex – especially if the person is sagging or wearing colour-blocking, they will just throw their face one kain or suddenly focus on their phone.
For some people, na straight up denial:
Ex: Hey love, it’s so good to see you, it’s been so long. I really miss you.
You: Excuse me please, do I know you?
This thing can pain o, so you better think well before you do it, or kukuma don’t do it at all. Just say “hi” and keep going.
On the flip side, many people have ended up together years after they broke up with each other. After all, people always say that “na old firewood dey burn pass“.
Before you say “God forbid”, think of why you broke up with your ex. Was he/she mean? Abusive? Manipulative? Violent? Lazy? There are some people that you know you can never go back to, even if he/she is the last human on earth. You’ll prefer to remain single. That’s because while you dated, they were extremely toxic and that relationship broke you in many ways.
But there are other ‘exes’ that their own firewood can still catch if you light a match stick, especially if the circumstances surrounding the breakup was out of your control and the person has evolved through the years.
For example:
If the breakup was due to timing or circumstances
Aminu wanted to get married in the next one year and Farida knew she wasn’t ready. After stalling for a long time, she opened up and told him that although she loved him deeply, she wasn’t ready for marriage. That had to go their separate ways. Aminu was so hurt, but he was the first born, his parents were old and his family was pressuring him to get married.
4 years later, Aminu and Farida met at an event – both of them still unmarried. Still in love, they rekindled their relationship.
Sometimes, pressure from family, long distance, future plans and dreams can break up a relationship. In many cases, when one party travels out of the country to study, it brings  an end to a ‘flourishing’ relationship. This sort of relationship can be revitalized.
If it was because if religion or tribe
Zainab loved James and she knew her parents will never consent to the marriage. Yet, she went ahead with the relationship. Love triumphs, right? But in this case, religion was placed above love. Zainab’s parents totally rejected James and even threatened to disown her. This brought some issues into their relationship and they had to split up.
The same thing for Ada whose parents insisted that as the first daughter, she must marry someone from their tribe.
The funny thing about love is that no matter how suppressed it is, it has a way of rearing its head when you meet someone you were once so much in love with.
Both of you have ‘grown’ and evolved
Tade and Bukunmi dated from their secondary school until they were both in 100 level in the university. After their first year, they split because they just seemed to like different things and were not compatible.
9 years later and they are back together.
There is nothing wrong with going back to your ex. It will only be wrong when your ex was abusive and the relationship was toxic. You will be disrespecting yourself and doing yourself a lot of disservice if you rekindle a relationship with a person who has, over and over, disrespected and humiliated you in any shape or form – even in the littlest way. It will end in tears laslas.
If that is not the case and the previous relationship ended due to certain circumstances outside your control, then, by all means, go ahead. Let this old firewood catch fire.
But at the same time, you need to be careful. If your relationship ended because your partner’s family members loathed you, you might want to find out if they’ve changed their minds about you before you dip your head into the relationship. Some things don’t change and it is better to be safe than sorry.
If you are also going back to your ex because you are getting ‘old’ and your parents are asking you to bring a husband/wife home, then you’ll be making the same mistake all over again.
You should only go back to your ex because those butterflies dancing in your belly have not died and you’re both sure you are best for each other. You’ve both learned, unlearned, relearned and are ready to start the ‘forever journey’ together.
So guys, whose ‘old firewood’ has caught fire recently? Have you ever rekindled your relationship with your ex? How did that work out for you?
The post There Was a Good Reason For Your Break Up, But You’re Going Back to Your Ex appeared first on BellaNaija – Showcasing Africa to the world. Read today!.

Sinmilolowa Omole: 12 Lessons From My Parents’ Marriage

On 28th of April, 2020, my parents celebrated their 41st wedding anniversary.
A lot of people hear 41 years and exclaim, “wow”, thinking it has been all rosy. Trust me, a 41-year-old cannot fully claim to be an adult without experiences, scars and lessons to show for it. I have been fortunate to have lived with both parents and although I’m not married, I have stayed under the parenting and marriage of two ‘perfectly-imperfect’ people who have managed to keep their marriage ship afloat. As the last born of the family, I am almost sure I have stayed longer with them than any of my siblings have.
These lessons are timeless. Intending couples, as well as the married ones, can pick a lesson or two.
Here are 12 things I have learned from their marriage so far:
Respect is mutual
If I did not witness this in their marriage, I wouldn’t have known that every person deserves respect, regardless of age and/or gender – not because you are a man or woman, but because you are human and you have the God-given right to be dignified. I see no malicious manipulation in their relationship, inspite of their differences. I believe the basis of this respect is because they did not create room for major insecurities.
When a man is insecure, he becomes threatened by the success of his wife or her stereotypical feminine attributes. It is the reason violence happens. Violent men are insecure men.
When a woman is insecure, she could become verbally abusive and suspicious of everything the man does until she self-destructs the home. However, mutual respect places a bar on the level to which you cannot exceed even when you are very upset. It is this respect that makes you quiet even when you are tempted to erupt in rage at your spouse.
Violence is not an option
“If he doesn’t respect you before marriage, there are high chances that when the heat is turned on, he might one day ‘mistakenly’ hit you.” My Dad would say to my older sister and I. “God forbid any man hits any of you, you are leaving that marriage that same day“, he’d continue.
I have never seen my dad hit my mum. Never! It is why I know that an insecure man is not an option, a hot tempered man is not an option, neither is a verbally abusive man an option. They are all equal to violence. I learned that I am a dignified human being first before I am called a wife or anything else. So, anything that makes me less than that is a no.
Marriage is enjoyable when it is more of partnership than role play
I see a lot of people are quick to imbibe the mentality of boss and servant once they marry, especially when children start rolling in. My parent’s marriage shows me partnership (with no one maliciously taking advantage of the other) makes marriage more relaxing and enjoyable. As a primary school student, my dad sometimes had to cook our meal when mum was not back from work.
I have not asked them how they handle their finances, but I know they jointly contribute to family upkeep (although not in equal proportion).  Both of them are involved in decision making that pertains to the family. Nevertheless, Dad still gets to determine the ayes and nay, but with mum’s influence.
Individuality should not be lost on the altar of marriage; there is an extent to the happiness your spouse can give
I have learned that no matter the heaven and earth you promise each other, there is a limit to what your partner can do that can give you the satisfaction and happiness you seek. I have learned it is necessary to discover yourself before you marry – who you are, what you want, what you love doing, your circle of people and your purpose. It helps you to avoid straining your relationship by demanding what he/she cannot give.
Developing yourself will keep you busy, instead of overthinking what is not. It will also give you a healthy view of yourself when your partner is not doing that. It breeds admiration from your partner too. My Mum (even after retirement) bagged her PhD and keeps learning new skills. Dad is so proud of her. He is quick to tell my siblings and I about the new bag mum is making or the face mask she sewed for both of them. Hilarious!
Birthdays, career achievements, small or big victories – celebrate every milestone
Because in life, YOLO! You already know life is a mix bag of good and bad moments. It is the reason I learned from them that celebrating one another means a lot. Even if and when you are fighting or not talking with your partner, you must (as a standing rule) celebrate their birthdays, milestones and achievements. These things come once in a while, but the memories you will get from them are some of the strands that form the root of marriage and family bond.
It doesn’t have to be big. In our home, if anyone is being celebrated, we all eat grilled fish (or whatever delicacy) from one big plate and toast to the celebrant’s health and happiness. No matter how small, even if it is a card you can afford with a genuine heartfelt message, by all means, give it. My dad still buys happy mother’s day gift and birthday gifts for my mum. Mum does the same. They also buy random gifts for each other once in a while. These gifts and celebrations go a long way to show thoughtfulness and care. It cannot be one-sided or miserly. It has to be mutual and generous within your means.
Storms will either break you or make your bond stronger
Some unexpected things may happen that will shake you to your core. There will be every justification to react as you deem fit and you may even convince yourself that you can’t take it anymore.
Storms will threaten your family dreams, personal health and wealth, emotional and mental stability. Again, I cannot tell you about my parents but I know they have had their share of it, internally and externally. This breaking point determines if your marriage will make it to the next tempest. When both of you are tired, but no one is willing to give up, you add one more layer of bond and strength to your marriage.
What is marriage without team spirit?
When there are some major decisions to be taken, even the children (right from secondary school days) are carried along in the decision making process. I remember a time dad had a major interview, he knelt at the centre as we circled him and prayed for him in turns. I have always seen my dad as the head coach and mum as the assistant coach. I love that they carry us along and no one is left behind, not even the youngest.
Genuine compliment goes a long way
I learned to be generous with genuine compliments. I previously was not used to giving compliments generously, but my parents’ relationship has taught me that it is important and I should be intentional about it. Genuine compliment goes a long way, especially when it is unexpected.
Love is not perfect, it is quite messy
There are days you won’t want to share a bed with your spouse. You will be confronted with die-hard habits and what was once tolerable, will become irritating. I have learned to love beyond ‘picture perfect’ because humans will be humans, no matter how cute they look.
Your marriage will have its own peculiarities
Newlyweds are always bombarded with marriage advice when they get married or before they do. Even I gave my friend some advice at her bachelorette party. Nevertheless, I learned from my parent’s marriage that I do not and should not model my marriage after anyone else’s or certain tradition without understanding my partner first. Third parties may instigate partners against each other on certain things, in certain ways, but by all means, do what works for both of you. Then and only then can you begin to model after those who look like where you are going and want to be maritally.
Try to hang out as often as you can
Whenever my parents tell you they are strolling around the neighbourhood, know that they are going to a nearby food joint to enjoy themselves. When we were much younger, this was their practice. Just both of them. Although sometimes they carry us along. I believe this hangouts also contributed to their bond.
Your definition of love eventually becomes friendship – genuine friendship
I obviously did not meet my parents in the lovey-dovey phase of their relationship, as I am the baby of the family. However, I met two people who shared a lot together, sacrificed a lot and brought me up with a team spirit. My parents were friends right from the time I knew them – friends that share a bedroom. The mutual support was evident and strong. I believe one of the things that makes them stick together is mutual support. After all, what is friendship without mutual support? My dad recently referred to my mum as his nurse, while my mum referred to him as her teacher and mentor. These descriptions keep changing positively, and they are true. I see my parents practice friendship and support even in their old age.
After all is said and done, successful marriage is a matter of mutual choice and determination. I wish you joy and happiness.
The post Sinmilolowa Omole: 12 Lessons From My Parents’ Marriage appeared first on BellaNaija – Showcasing Africa to the world. Read today!.