Let's face it, the trashiness of [most African] men has statistical validity | Sayo Aluko

#menaretrash Karabo Mokoena #NotAllMenAreTrash

No, not all men are trash, all men are not trash. We do not need to argue that, good men do exist. But then, truth be told, when you look around to carefully consider the irresponsibility quotient of most men, and how actually high it is especially in this clime called Africa and in our country Nigeria, it’ll simply take a little honesty to accept that a lot of men are indeed ph-ucking up a lot, and yes, trashily at that.

As expected, men across social media, including some of my friends, in trying to defend themselves have strongly rebuffed and rebuked the #menaretrash carriers, tagging them as stupid and unserious, going as far as asking what kind of trash their fathers are, if indeed all men are trash. But, not wanting to jump into the fray without at least a denarii of information in hand, I did a little digging to know the source of this hashtag. It happened that it sprung as a deed of outrage from the heinous murder of one beautiful 22-year old South African lady, Karabo Mokoena, who after enduring physical abuse, was eventually shot, set ablaze (while allegedly still partially alive) and dumped burnt at a refuse site by her supposed boyfriend. She had decided to leave the guy. But then,……burnt.

#menaretrash Karabo Mokoena #NotAllMenAreTrash
Karabo Mokoena before and after her murder, with the culprit in between

Even without knowing this above, I knew the hashtag couldn’t have been steeped in generalization as most men took it . But then, now knowing this above, I took me mere seconds to understand that the hashtag #menaretrash was birthed from a place of understandable emotional revolt, and not feminist silliness or misandrist mockery. And that it doesn’t deserve the charged and borderline-insulting back-and-forth ongoing between both sexes as a result, across the media. Rather, I think it deserves some reflection, at least.

In this clime, women are enduring too much from the arsenal of male trashiness in the most. Just take a look around and we wouldn’t have to argue this unveiled fact that would make most women jump upon the wagon that says #menaretrash as we see it now. This is not unconnected to the way our clime and culture is set up to relate and handle the male and female sexes is warped from the root, and it is really reducing the index of humanity within our reins as seen in adulthood. The male child is not as overly nurtured and raised compared to the female child. A lot of focus and conscientiousness is placed around raising the female child for the values of chastity and obedience, while not much of such is applied to nurture male child to master the values of respect and responsibility. The male child is assumed “born strong”, the female, “fragile”.

Let me take you through a quick detour.

Two years ago, myself and my wife were co-tenants with three other families in a 4-flat building behind the University of Ibadan. And, we endured a level of irresponsibility that rankled daily by sight. Two out of the three “head of house” were PhD holders who lectured in the university, but, they were the kind of men who enter the room belly first due to unbridled beer consumption. These two always came back home late, very late just to meet sleep, leaving chores and prancing kids (3 apiece) to their equally working wives, who to me and my wife, never seemed to have a break to at least chill in life. These two wives, one a teacher, the other, a banker, wake up as early as 4:30 am to kickstart school runs alone, with daddy’s guttural snores as background tune.

Then, there was the family who lived in the flat directly under ours. The “head of house” here works as a Manager in Nigerian breweries, his wife is a full housewife and he is a self-acclaimed “proudly typical Yoruba man” – his words. They are both educated and have two kids. In this age of machines, most of the work the wife did were still done manually. The one that rankles most – pounding yam with pestle and mortar at least 4 times in a week. That woman was stressed to the brim and it was evident on her face as she couldn’t fake joy anymore, even while she tried. She was most times heard humming a complain or two in solitude and had started transferring some aggression to her kids. She beat them with savagery at the slightest provocation. She hand-washes, she hand-pounds, and Oga just comes home to “krosslegge” (cross his legs), watch Africa Magic Yòòbá, while waiting for food. The thud made from each pounding was getting pestilential for me and my wife, we shook our heads almost everytime, we felt pain for the woman, and when we couldn’t take that anymore, armed with a little courage and cunning, I approached Oga in the hope of reaching reason.

“Boss Boss, e ku igbadun sir”, I hailed.
“Sir, there’s a machine that can pound yams now oh, in fact, there’s also one popular Ayoola Poundo yam flour that one can easily use to make pounded yam like Eba. They are better options that can replace the stress of pounding with pestle and mortar in a domestic setting Sir. I think you should consider these options jare Boss Boss”, I said, after banters.

His response shocked me. “Ha ha ha ha, Mister Sayo ooh, Ekiti o l’ounje meji, Iyan nii. And you see, all those your options can’t give correct Iyan. And I can’t eat fake Iyan lai lai”, he said heartily through his teeth. He didn’t even get me, he didn’t even get it. Till tomorrow, myself and my wife call him ‘Mr. Ekiti o l’ounje meji, Iyan nii’. I was a 27 year old at the time, and these men were in their mid 40s, and I seemed to understand this particular stuff better. 4 families, but, it was 3 to 1. See, statistical validity.

To these personal experience above, add the many stories we hear about the whims of absentee dads, add the many stories about the caprices of men who believe it’s their life’s duty to just use their penis to have kids like litters with different women but without concrete means to cater for them, add stories about men who shamelessly shit and eat at tables where their dime didn’t drop, add stories about boys who believe it’s a right and normal manly practice to hunt skirts as game for conquest, add stories about boys who grew up believing women are “second”, objects to be possessed, and subjects from which obeisance must be demanded, add stories about men who strongly believe the only potent way to seek understanding from a woman is via blows, add stories about boys who are wont to feel violently entitled to women who have express a choice to say “no” to their advances. These examples that are precursorrs to exhibiting trashy behavior are replete and we can’t deny them in all honesty. So, again, statistical validity.

Am I character-shaming men and then call women purest angels? No, that’s not it. Some women are actually cuckoo too, heavy dumpsters in the order of trash. We could sit all day to talk about women excesses too. But here now, what this piece simply tries to do is address a saddening trend through the eyes of honest reflection, with the hope getting reprieve, a reprieve handful enough to make our society saner.

We may think things are not as bad as it were pre-civilization, but brethren, be ye not deceived, trash is happening lóju páálí [wholesomely]. Again, I say, we don’t need to argue, just look around. And, until we actively challenge and change this very warped and actually uncouth belief about gender-biased upbringing, and start nurturing the male child with the same level of conscientiousness applicable to the other, the female child will continue to be raised as ewes to eventually live amongst wolves, lions, hyenas, and “hyenanas” [pun intended] who will mostly only understand the trashy and the trashy way.


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