The Woman with the Artistic Brush: A Life History of Yoruba Batik Artist Nikoe Davies

By Kim Marie Vaz | Go to book overview

6 Co-Wife: My Friend and My Enemy

We were taught that it was a very shameful thing for a girl not to be a virgin when she went to her husband's house, Our custom required that the mother of the bride hide by the small house where her daughter was having sex with her husband. She would listen to see whether her daughter cried. If she did cry, the mother would know that her daughter was a virgin. Afterward, the mother collected the bride's soiled cloth to show to the other women in the house. If the girl was a virgin, the mother and other women would be very happy. The mother would give her daughter's friends a fall packet of biscuits and a full case of soft drinks. If the girl was not a virgin, she would give her friends only half the refreshments. Her friends would be ashamed and say that their friend had disappointed them. The girl herself would not receive all of the money and presents a new wife usually gets. She would be given only half. 1

But the day before a new bride goes to her husband's house, she has to spend the day crying. I always said that I did not like the crying. If you are crying, it means you are lazy. When you live with your mother, you can get away with everything, but when you go to your husband's house, you are entering a totally new life. You have to work hard. The first two weeks of your marriage, his family does everything

-55-

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The Woman with the Artistic Brush: A Life History of Yoruba Batik Artist Nikoe Davies
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Note on Orthography xi
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Introduction xv
  • 1 - Come and Buy Leaves!"" 3
  • 2 - No Man Will Pay Bride-Price for Me 16
  • 3 - I Went to Learn About Life 27
  • 5 - Iya (mama) Labayọ 49
  • 6 - Co-Wife: My Friend and My Enemy 55
  • 7 - I Will Not Mention My Enemy's Name 65
  • 8 - Strong Women 76
  • 9 - The Woman with the Artistic Brush 81
  • Appendix Muniratu Temilade Bello 89
  • Notes 105
  • Glossary 123
  • Index 131
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