Author: Bayo Adebowale. Country: Nigeria.
Language: English. First Published: 2006
Pages: 141 (Spectrum Edition) Chapters: 14
Other books by the author are: Out Of His Mind and The Ambitious Village Boy.
Lonely Days, Bayo Adebowale’s novel centres on Yaremi, a strong widow and her experiences as a lonely woman in Kufi village.
Yaremi is the widow of Ajumobi who was a very brave and prosperous hunter. She has three children: Segi, Alani and Wura. As in all African cultures, Yaremi faces a lot after the demise of her husband ranging from accusation of murder and several rites and practices. After going through all those, Yaremi is now left alone to face life as a widow.
Yaremi’s grandchild (Segi’s son), Woye, is a small boy who stays with Yaremi during this trying times. The boy helps Yaremi with her trade in the market and also with the production of dyed materials who she sells for a living.
After a short while of reminiscing on the good days, of sorrowing over her dead husband, of trying hard to face the new life of loneliness that the death of her husband presents; Yaremi is to pick a new husband.
Dedewe, Fayoyin, and Radeke (three widows whom Yaremi used to pity before she also becomes a widow visits her and comfort and encourage her a day before she is to pick a new husband during the Cap- Picking Ceremony.
As a result of her husband’s death and the love she had and still has for him, Yaremi has grown stiff and is fast becoming more like a man. And so when three me, Ayanwale, a popular drummer; Olonade, a successful wood carver and Lanwa, a successful farmer who is also Ajumobi’s half-brother; when these three men presents themselves before Yaremi in front of the whole village, she rejects them all to the utter shock of the villagers. The elders were ‘speechless and overwhelmed’.
Due to this act of stubbornness, ‘a conspiracy’ is ‘sprouting which might get her ostracized or outrightly annihilated from Kufi village.’ Yaremi decides to leave and return to her own maiden village Adeyipo before she is sent out of Kufi.
A week after the new-husband-picking incident, Segi, Yaremi’s first child and daughter visits to comfort her mother and tell her that there was ‘no reason on earth for’ a second marriage or new husband.
Woye, the small son of Segi who has been living with Yaremi is undisturbed by the issues at hand. When Segi, his mother sets to return to her own husband’s house, Woye sets to follow her and dreams of going to school.
After this, Yaremi sets to leave Kufi but for the ‘timely appearance of Alani’ who has not been seen for a decade. Alani lives in Ibadan city.
Uncle Deyo, a friend of Yaremi’s husband comes and shows Alani the farmlands of his father which has been left untended since his death. According to uncle Deyo, ‘It is the duty of the son…to look after his father’s property. When fire burns, it succeeds itself with wood ash…’
Despite all this Alani is not moved. The next day, he approaches his mother, Yaremi and explains to her that he cannot stay in the village to tend any farm. He has a booming carpentry business in the city which he wants to face squarely in a bid to marry ‘a pretty city girl’ who is now heavy with pregnancy and to also take his mother to his home in the city in the end. After this explanation, Alani leaves two loaves of bread, a tin of corned beef and a large size custard for his mother and departs. Yaremi bursts into tears.
The village elders add to the problem the following day when they announce that due to her stubbornness and refusal to pick a new husband, Yaremi is to be ostracized as a leper and also her husband’s property is to be confiscated. The story ends as Yaremi cries and lament for the future days of widowhood and loneliness.
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