By Yusuf Balogun Gemini
The subject matter of tribal marks yet regarded as a cultural onus from the very onset has now been reduced to an object of derogation, degradation, bullying and self victimisation. The infliction of tribal marks has been an age long tradition primordially known unto the Yoruba and even if the present trend and advent of new ideas portray it as being a rather extreme attempt of barbarism, it doesn’t stop the fact that the primary intention of those on whom it was afflicted was to further more buttress their beauty.
Every single person I have met with tribal marks are undoubtedly beautiful and unique in all ramifications, isn’t it even overwhelming that even foreigners take it upon themselves to sustain this act? It’s however depressing that freedom more like an illusion in this society and tribal marked individuals are constantly being oppressed for being subjected to victimisation and bullying, especially the female gender hence exposing them to risks be it mental, physical and psychological other wise.
I’m particularly impressed by the bold step taken by selected females to flaunt these marks yet stand out gallantly on the threshold of halcyon, talk of Belinda Baidoo (@belindabaidoo), Adetutu Epaz (@adetutuo.j) and much more who have made headlines and hit unexpected spotlight.
Despite the recent flagging and sky crashing attempts on tribal marks, there are still yet many voices being reduced to tears and regrets because of tribal marks. Such is the case of Temidire Alabi (@irenitemie), a twenty three year old lady who recently found her strength to come out of the dark and her ears still reverberate with the noises in the grove all on the fact that she has tribal marks.
Making a reference to Temidire’s words yet coated with utmost bitterness and dissatisfaction, she explained:
“My name is Temidire Alabi and I was born in 1995, having a primary connection to forefathers from Eruwa, Oyo who however migrated to Ondo state. My mother nonetheless is a native of Ago Oko, Abeokuta but I was born and bred in Lagos state. While at the very basic level of my education, I have suffered tags and unending rhetorics of insults from class mates as being a pussy cat. No one necessarily want to be friends with a tribal marked girl, it was and is still a representation of a curse”.
Though having concluded her secondary education in 2010, Temidire had to face an abrupt pause in furthering education mostly due to financial incapability and to a large extent, the outright stigmatisation.
“I once questioned my dad about the necessity of tribal marks and he retorted that the marks were to be given only to his first son and first daughter which he did but probably due to some misconceptions borne out of the legitimacy of the younger children, the marks were bequeathed to all his children”, Temidire further more commented.
Despite the threats posed, she however furthered her journey into catering and hotel management. But regardless of how time fleets, Temidire’s agony still remains on the loudest baritone. Tribal marks have been seen as a barrier by the society at large and in the words of Temi, she’s determined to break borders and unclip her wings. She’s just one of those who are whipped by the society now and then, she’s yet another offspring of our disruptive negligence and deliberate body shaming.
Temidire is another full moon on a bloody night, she’s yet the next glamorous thing to storm the face of time. An advocacy is necessary however, we need to understand that whatsoever is attached to the physical structure of a human does not make them less human. It is in our hands to watch Temidire become another victim of stigmatisation and derogatory stagnancy or give her a push till magic happens… We need to understand that tribal mark is not an allergy. The beautiful ones are already born, we just chose to cast stones at them…
©Yusuf Balogun Gemini (A Correctng.com reader)
Yusuf Balogun Gemini is a page and performance poet, cultural enthusiast and a radical angry commentator. He’s based in Lagos, Nigeria. He can be reached via his social handles:
Twitter — @yusuf_gemini
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