Growing up in a traditional and male-chauvinistic society is no easy feat. In fact one can say that being born a woman then (and maybe now in some societies) was unfortunate as it meant having no privileges and no say whatsoever in decision making. A woman’s destiny was always decided upon by culture and fate.
That’s the gist behind Amadi’s new book, Ada: A Victim of Fate & Cultural Circumstance. It is a story that reflects stories of many other young women born in similar cultures or situations.
Ada is portrayed as a happy and intelligent young girl, an excellent student in school, doing better than most boys her age. Her parents have tried their best, even incurring huge loans to keep her in school. Even as the family struggles, to Ada, it seems worth it. After all when she’s done with studying and is working, she knows she will help out her parents in return. But fate has other plans- all the dreams she had for the future seem to vanish before her very eyes one day, when she comes home for her break. Her parents, she learns, have decided that “Ada’s education had become a necessary luxury the family could no longer afford.” Yet there were her brothers, the future family flag bearers to think about.
At the age of 16, Ada’s destiny is laid out for her. She must get married and a potential husband has already been found for her. It wasn’t just because her parents couldn’t afford her education anymore, but society and tradition expected women to marry at a certain age. Ada tries to resist but without success.
Her marriage begins rather well. Her husband Bello is educated, loving and supportive of Ada and their children. However, later on the challenges come when she can’t bear a son for her husband. The pressure from her husband’s family forces him to take on a second wife, who bears him three sons. All is well for some time. Bello divides his time and attention between the two and provides for them equally. This changes, however when Bello loses his job and resources become limited. That’s when all hell breaks loose.
Poverty is what Ada blames her misfortunes on. If it hadn’t been for poverty, she wouldn’t have married at a young age. If it wasn’t for poverty, she wouldn’t have faced the harassment her co-wife put her through. She blames poverty for all her other misfortunes.
Determined to find a better life, Ada’s daughter Amina takes a different path that brings mixed results. Even though it is too late to save Amina when Ada finally learns about the source of her wealth, it is this wealth that helps Ada get a second chance at life.
Barclays N. Amadi is a London based barrister with a specialty in criminal law and the administration of justice. He is also keen on gender issues and maybe this explains why his novel is about gender and feminism. The book was published in 2014 by Book Guild Publishing.