A rich Nigerian farmer, Baba Segi, is your quintessential polygamist. He is rich and of high standing. Like all polygamists, he takes pride in two things, more than anything else –The number of his wives and more importantly, the number of children those wives bear him. Of course, the more sons, the better the wife is treated.
His first wife had been slow to bear him a child. Despite all his attempts, her monthly visitor persisted. Eager for his ailing mother to see the fruit of his loins before she transited to the spirit world, he consulted a friend. His friend, Teacher, pointed him to a herbalist who prescribed a dark green powder. His wife’s belly filled up and she bore him a daughter, Segi. She now had a premium place in his heart. He gave her an armchair of her own and the honour of being called Iya Segi. The mother of Segi.
There come the second and the third wives with their children in tow. Iya Femi and Iya Tope. Then came his fourth wife, Bolanle.
Bolanle, unlike the other wives, was a university graduate. She gave herself to him because he accepted her as she was. He didn’t ask questions about her past nor judge her for it. She was his future and that’s all that seemed to matter to him. Well, at least until she didn’t seem to bear him any children. She refused to visit herbalists and prophets. She would only settle for a professional doctor.
When they finally saw a doctor and tests were conducted, the doctors insisted on testing Baba Segi as well. Stunned, he was quick to remind them that he had seven children. He submitted to the test nonetheless. Lo and behold! His ‘boys’ couldn’t not swim.
Which then begs the question, where did ‘his’ children come from?
Lola Shoneyin did a stellar job in character formation and plot creation. Each of the wives has a
story. A life that she lived that only she knows of. A secret life. Secrets that result in heart break,strained relations and death! She has peppered the story with proverbs that add to its allure!