Thursday, 6th October 2022
Breaking News:

In A Woman’s Valour, Abimbola Ogunmolasuyi interrogates love, hope, betrayals, virtue

By Gregory Austin Nwakunor
28 August 2022   |   2:46 am
Abibola Ogunmolasuyi is not your known voice, but in her book, A Woman’s Valour, she gives voice to ordinary lives.

Abimbola Ogunmolasuyi is not your known voice, but in her book, A Woman’s Valour, she gives voice to ordinary lives.

With a simple plot, she takes her readers through the life of Janet, who is married to Johnson.

The marriage is blessed with two children: Jennifer and Caro. Not long after she gives birth to Caro, her husband dies in an accident on his way home after a visit to his village.

The story continues with Janet struggling to give her children a future. She sees to Jennifer’s journey to school, graduation, marriage, humiliation, and eventual, success. She remains steadfast to her philosophy, ‘never give up for tomorrow will be better’ and hopeful until her death.

The travails that follow her husband’s death birth the book’s main plot: Jennifer’s unsettled and disturbed life.

Jennifer is plagued by memories of her mother’s sufferings. She is also plagued by the betrayal of her father, who sired other children, and her people, who believe a widow is only as important as allowing herself to be remarried in the family. She works tirelessly and never believes in any man to give her a break. A trait she inherits from her mother, even with a stronger vision and focus.

Everything begins on time and runs to its end in Jennifer’s life: Her marriage to Tunde, miscarriages, retrenchment, her husband’s life of debauchery and disappearance from his responsibilities, abandonment, Tunde’s life in America with Maggi, his moment of peripeteia and the eventual discovery that he had led an unworthy life.

With chapters such as Humble Beginning, How the Journey Started, Weather the Storm, Mission Accomplished, Challenges of Rearing Children, For Greener Pasture, Not As Planned, If the Hard Way is the Only Way, The Bad News, The Unexpected and Tough People Last, the book journeys through the challenges of womanhood in Africa, celebrating matriarchy, with two women – Janet and Jennifer – as the lead characters in the interrogation of what happens when a man is no longer around.

A dark portrait, the book magisterially follows up on feminine travails in a patriarchal society. However, it is not a pamphlet on feminism but reflects in a concise manner, male tyranny, oppression and rebellion with global relevance. The author celebrates the vital roles women play in providing support for their families needs.

The book takes a cursory look at the challenges of the female character in Africa. “Some of them go out of their way to work hard, both secularly and domestically, which then invalidates the African contextual expression that limits the roles of women in the kitchen. There is no doubt that many women who have balanced both of these worlds also remained the pillars which held their families up, and they are still the central foundation upon which a real family stands,” Ogunmolasuyi says.

She conveys their passionate attachment to the freedom of their deep connection to nature, along with the adult doubts and betrayals happening off stage. What’s her reward? Is it worth it for a woman to give 100 per cent of her labour to her household, even to the detriment of her happiness and joy? All these questions and many others will be answered in this book.

A Woman’s Valour is a boisterous novel, which delivers uncomfortable truths about Africa and its internalised misogyny and creative frustration. However, the reader is not allowed a peep into the life of Caro, as the image of Jennifer looms very large in the novel. This maybe deliberate, but it is likely to haunt the reader. A Woman’s Valour is definitely a good book to add to your shelf.

In this article