Yesterday morning, traffic was at a standstill. Everyone was looking for a way out; lots of people taking the untarred roads off the highway to find a better, shorter road. A woman wanted to drop off her kids at a school that was LITERALLY 20 metres away from where she was but one man came out from nowhere and blocked her, insisting he had “right of way” and that she should turn back.
She explained that she only needed to drop off her kids, if he could just reverse a little, she’d manoeuvre her car and just be on her way. This man refused. The person behind him reversed so he could reverse so the woman can go on to drop her kids so the traffic would flow and everyone would suffer less in this unbearable situation. Baba said no.
He came out of his car and began to berate this woman, began to shout at her; telling her to respect him because he is a man, calling her a stubborn woman who didn’t know her place, who was not submissive and how “he had her type at home” and that he would NOT move; that all of us would remain in that traffic till she got out of his way.
The woman was undaunted. She matched him word for word, energy for energy and when he refused to move, stubbornness for stubbornness. There was no way she could go back; many cars were behind her. There were no cars behind him; just reverse na Oga. He said NEVER!
Toh, the woman got into her car, got all her kids out, their lunch boxes, school bags and what not. Accompanied by her maid (or younger sister, hard to tell), she locked her car and walked away.
The man was stupefied. He could not believe it. He became even more furious. He and the other men there then moved towards her car and attempted to deflate her tyres.
Then the unexpected happened.
Suddenly, all the women in traffic, as if some signal had gone off, as if following a planned script, flew out of their cars and rushed to attack the men, defending the car, surrounding it, ready to draw blood.
I don’t think the men expected it. The surprise fury made them back off but the women were not fooled. They stayed around the car, daring anyone to touch it, providing a united front. When the stubborn man saw it, he that said he would NEVER reverse till the end of time, got into his car, reversed and drove off.
The women protected that car till the owner got back. Then they all got back in their cars and drove off as the traffic began to move. The remarkable thing is, none of them went to this woman and told her “Madam, look we defended your car when the men wanted to deflate it”. The woman did not even know of the attempt by the men to deflate her tyres. She did not need to. Her sisters, random strangers, women whom she had never met, whom she might never meet, fought for her, had her back while she went to take care of her children.
Women whom the world said they never support each other. That lie, like so many others told for a long time, that women are their own worst enemies was debunked.
We became her Dora Millaje.
Happy Women’s Month.
By Kutu Ameji