The Joys of Manhood

Ijeweme Odiawa Written by Ijeweme Odiawa · 2 min read >

Na Man U Be!

John-Paul, Obanla and literarily all my friends

My learnings from the MBA have not only come from my facilitators. Many have come from my friends. And one day, I and John-Paul exchanged the above greeting. Na man you be, and it got me wondering… What does it mean to be a Man?

I once read a book by Buchi Emecheta titled The Joys of Motherhood. It was a deeply emotional book and brought to bear the struggles of the African woman trapped by poverty. I remember feeling so sad for Nnu Ego, one of the main characters, and wondering if there was any point living in this world if the real world was as cruel as the one Nnu Ego grew up in. Don’t mind me. I was 14yrs old and still very impressionable. The years have made me a lot more cynical. Who would want to leave this world where there is so much Afang to eat?


Women and Children first!

Boys scout motto of the sea.

I have often wondered at the above line. In times of disaster, why is it acceptable behavior to save women and children first? This means adult males are more likely to die from the event! What makes men so easily disposable in the eyes of society? Some have argued that it is a vestige of pre-historic times. That for the continuation of the species, we must save women and children so they may one day carry on the good work of multiplication of the human race. But aren’t men necessary for procreation? The response has always been this; Only 1 man is needed to fertilize a whole village of women, but 1 woman can only bear so many children. Thus, women are the more important factor, so we must preserve them.

This therefore implies that men are largely expendable!

I guess Nnu Ego and the female folk aren’t the only ones with problems. So for a minute, let’s talk about the challenges of being a man.


A man is supposed to be strong. At all times! He is supposed to always know the way. To always have the answers. To always be ‘the man’. But is this even possible? And ‘fellas’, don’t be fooled when she tells you ‘be vulnerable with me, baby..’. It’s a scam! Even she will grow to resent your so-called vulnerability.

I think men don’t whine about all the challenges of being a man because, well, it is unmanly to whine about all the challenges of being a man. You just have to suck it up, smile and take it all in your stride. But why are women free to express themselves and complain about all the struggles of being a woman? Because they are not so constrained. They don’t need to be strong, at least not in the sense of men.

So this is a shout-out to all the men.

To all the guys out there holding the fort and handling their business. To all the young men making ends meet noiselessly. To all the ones in emotional turmoil who are taking it in their strides without whining about it to anybody. To all the ones who are taking care of multiple dependants without complaint. To all the ones who are taking care of the women in their lives, and giving them a platform to complain about how terrible their lives may seem.

To all the real men, I salute you!

Na man you Be!

Written by Ijeweme Odiawa
I am Ijay Odiawa. The Last Afang Bender. Profile


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