I had the pleasure of having an interview/conversation on Africa UK Radio with Yejide Kilanko- Author of the best selling book ‘Daughters who walk this Path‘ on Saturday, 29th March, 2014.
I cannot tell why I had butterflies in my tummy all afternoon before the interview as Yejide is the warmest person ever, but I did. I had watched a video of her presentation at the 2013 TEDx talks held in Chatham, Ontario Canada and it felt as though I had known her all my life:) Here is a link to her well received lecture titled: Celebrate Yourself. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4PV4rnFO38.
Recognizing the blessings of God in her life, Yejide said ‘Writing is a gift’. How can it not be? You have to be gifted to be able to express your most sensitive thoughts and insights in ways that resonate with most people. Yejide’s writing feels very familiar. I cannot tell if it is because we both come from Ibadan or that we are both Yorubas, I dont know. But her poems are enthralling. Her work would literally take you away from your reality into her world. That takes skill. Honestly. She is brilliant. Fullstop.
Like many writers, Yejide’s muse was her work. A couple of years ago, in her role as a child protection worker,she provided services to children and families affected by sexual abuse. The ability to put her thoughts on paper, gave her peace. Her initial expression were through poems which eventually led to her writing her best selling book.
The rest is history. Her book deals with the uncomfortable silence that surrounds the horror of being sexually molested. This is the epidemic currently eating up Nigeria. Parents, teachers, media and communities still find it hard to talk about sexual violence and when it happens to children. Families and victims are stigmatized and perpetrators are left to the mercy of God for judgement. The Nigerian Police are not trained to deal with this tsunami that is practically making little girls into old women. This tsunami is snatching away our childrens’ innocence without apology and we are seating under palm trees drinking palm wine observing it all. We are not doing enough to keep our children safe.
The solution in Nigeria, unfortunately, is still silence. The profound belief that if we ignore this problem, it might just go away. Regrettably, it wont. Unless, we begin by talking about it, arming ourselves with tools to prevent it will continue to punish our communities.
As I am yet to read the book, here is a review from Africa Book Club http://www.africabookclub.com/?p=11040.
The book is available on Amazon, it has been published in four countries with the Nigerian edition by Farafina Books coming out June 2014.
Yejide’s website is: http://www.yejidekilanko.com/
For more on child abuse and how to prevent it, have a look at the Underwear Rule from the NSPCC: http://www.nspcc.org.uk/help-and-advice/for-parents/keeping-your-child-safe/the-underwear-rule/the-underwear-rule_wda97016.html.