InformAfrica – Religious mental slavery in Africa, we can’t deny it does not exist. It’s sad that most children of Africa have to undergo the horrific tribulations of religion on the African continent. This enlightening story is helping to liberate the minds of the African people from (religious) mental slavery.
“The Horrors of My Childhood: The tale of a Nigerian Child” is brought to you courtesy Teekay Akin (Akinyemi Adeseye)
Kick back, relax your mind as you read, and be enlightened with the following story…….
As the sun of the world; the light of the world rose this morning like it rises every day, I got out of bed cleaned up and had breakfast, which normally consists of a huge mug of strong freshly ground black coffee and two sticks of well packed cigarettes. I turned on my laptop and got comfortable in my chair, checking my emails – “There it is” I yelled, referring to an email from one Ms. Linda Brown. She had emailed me after reading some of my articles online, telling me how she has a volcano of feelings and experiences bottled up inside her which she was ready to let erupt. I was quite interested and eager to hear what she had to say.
After exchanging a few emails, we had finally agreed to meet in person – a sit-down-interview if you will, with yours truly. The day had arrived and I got dressed, took the last gulp of my coffee and headed for my office – our meeting spot. I seemed to be enjoying the morning and mind you I’m not a morning person, but I had no choice than to wake up early; work started at seven, neighbourhood dogs woke me up at six. As I sat in the back seat of the taxi, I enjoyed the same morning street madness that I always detested, for some reason the day already had symptoms of a great day [I still don’t know what that means, a great day I mean].
There she was, looking younger than I thought she would be, smartly dressed with a bright smile. She had arrived almost half an hour before the scheduled time! I sensed this lady meant business. I called her into my office straight away, turned on my voice recorder and my laptop. The usual pleasantries went on; we spoke for a while about random topics ranging from politics to the weather, and after getting more comfortable she proceeded to tell her story.
She was born to a family of five; parents included. She had two siblings; an older sister and a younger brother. Her parents were “middle class” – assuming that still exists in Nigeria, they had originated from the south-western part of Nigeria, Ibadan to be precise. “Growing up had its ups and downs,” she exclaimed, “my father had retired from a job hoping to start off his own company, at least that is what he told us and my mother was a secondary school teacher”
[The following is an edited transcript of her tale]
When we were younger everything seemed fine financially, my father did well for a while, we lived in a decent rented flat, had a family car, attended good schools and had the basic needs, need I say my parents weren’t into sports or any type of arts, their children they believed had to become doctors and engineers, so having a bicycle, learning to swim and the likes were luxuries for us, although, we had the occasional football, Barbie dolls and Lego toys to play with but that was about it. Our days were mostly spent indoors.
Now, I wouldn’t want to delve into the economic part of my childhood, which I’d say was average and could have been better, if my parents had managed our resources a lot better and lived in their own world rather than a world dictated by the society considering the various financial problems that we faced,. Let me say this, my parents are very nice people, generous, and kind hearted – I can even bet that most that know them would attest to this.
I was raised in a Christian home, our family went to church at least twice a week, with the monthly night vigils and seasonal retreats and camp meetings; my father for some reason rarely attended these extras. My mother on the other hand was the biggest fan of Jesus, she would drag us to church [occasionally we would also do a few churches], make us have morning and night devotion, tell us these things about heaven and the bible [same as she had been told by her parents or the leaders in her church], she would scare us with these gory mental pictures of hell, the devil [which sounds like a decent chap by the way], sin et al.
We were made to pay tithe from the cash gifts which we were given by family members and friends. We would attend an all night vigil where we wouldn’t be allowed to sleep, we had to wrestle the devil, bind it and cast it somewhere, then we had to cry, wail, dance and do whatever it took for Jesus or God to answer our prayers. This I utterly got bored with, was this why I was born? I wondered. Not also forgetting the seasonal retreat and camp programs where we, like the vast majority of the congregation would stay at a campsite for days in the cold and heat queuing up for food like refugees, sleeping on the grass, on benches while the church leaders stayed in comfortable houses funded by the contributions of the same congregation.
This was sometimes fun for me as it allowed me the freedom to get out of the house, mingle with other kids, chat up girls and do what normal kids would do, other times it was simply horrifying and a complete torture for a kid of that age to experience.
That was normal life for me, which I had no choice but to put up with. Until someday while I was about nine, my life hit a new gear, three girls from our neighbourhood raised by a single mother came up with a “confession”, where they claimed to have been witches, flying at night and meeting up with others committing unspeakable atrocities in the spiritual realm– they went further to come up with a list of people from the neighbourhood who were also members of this witchcraft gang and lo and behold my name was mentioned. Their mother was a friend of mine and she came dashing down to inform/warn my mother that I was also a witch like her kids and that they had seen me in their dreams at these supposed meetings where I was responsible for my father’s flop in business and the family’s financial difficulties.
My mother believed every word they said without an iota of doubt, her Christianity and believe in such was definitely working to her advantage – the source of the family problems had been unravelled. She approached me and confronted me; asking if I was a witch. I promptly denied as I hadn’t got the slightest clue of what she was talking about but she never believed me, she went on for days questioning, threatening and then comforting me to confess to the affirmative; she played the good cop-bad cop and would not take no for an answer.
For a child my age, these times were simply horrific; being treated like an outcast within such a small family was unbearable. After days of holding on to my truth I could no longer withstand the pressure, there was no one to turn to for a listening ear or for comfort and support. It was just me and me alone walking through this wilderness.
Finally I was broken in all possible ways – mentally, morally and intellectually and had to tell her what she wanted to hear as I couldn’t bear the daily mental torture anymore. I had to lie, create a story and put up act to fit the character of a witch. I told her the allegations were true; I was a witch. Shocked and disappointed she went on about how wicked and evil I must have been to ruin my father’s business and plague the family with financial hardship.
Later she booked a list of deliverance sessions at various churches where she believed they would cast out this demon in me. This went on for about a month and me missing school sometimes to attend these insane exorcisms. And even when these were over and I was finally “delivered” she never stopped asking me if I ever saw myself back at those meetings till I grew older and told her not to ask me such again.
Now I ask myself “Was my mother/family just being cruel?” – No, would be my answer, she was just acting out a scene in a life she herself had been brainwashed with. She was living on her fears, the fears religion had instilled inside her, that had clouded her human senses of judgement in these contexts. She had taken what her own parents and religious leaders had taught her hook-line-sinker without questioning them, she had followed a bandwagon sheepishly, the religious teachings and her beliefs overruled everything, and those came first even before her child in this case. I’ve never had the opportunity to speak out to my family about this, and confront them, asking why they did such to me, why they put me through such mental and social torture.
Furthermore, I recall us as a family never been allowed to listen to the secular music; for instance, Fela Kuti’s music was banned in our home, rap music was demonic, even Michael Jackson’s “We are the world” was considered a dedication to Satan [I really wonder where and how she came up with that]. It was all about Don Moen and the likes, even the films we saw surely had something to do with Christianity.
I, as a child, was never taught about my great and rich Yoruba culture, traditions and mythology. According to my family like most in Nigeria, those are all evil and devilish which we should distance ourselves from. The only way to salvation was Jesus and the God of the bible. We were never taken to visit our local and cultural historic sites, not even the port where majority of slaves from West Africa were forcefully taken and bought, NO! The sites we visited were churches and campsites and we even dreamt of going on a pilgrimage to see the holy sites of the colonialists’ religion. That was our dream; that was our utopia!
I was never taught about the slave trade or the history of my country nor my people, nor was I taught about the civil war which engulfed Nigeria for three years; this I also partly blame on the poor education system in Nigeria. Instead I was taught about the bible, the life of some Middle Eastern tribesmen and their god. I was subjected to lower myself to claiming their “prayers” for myself. I was taught that I was a descendant of some Abraham and somehow the promises of his god applied to me as well. I was taught to see myself as some sort of Israelite extension, even though those same people didn’t and still don’t rate nor see my people as a part of them or their equals. I couldn’t question anything – It was a take all, swallow and jog on lifestyle!
The blonde sometimes brown-haired blue-eyed white Jesus was my saviour – the only way. The white angels were the messengers of our God, for some reason even in heaven there were no black beings in the ranks. These were the good guys – the white Jesus, apostles and angels while our black native African Gods were the evil guys.
This was the life I was shown and raised in, anything different would mean me deviating from god’s word and hence hell would be my punishment. And it went on for my entire childhood till I was seventeen and headed to university, after which it all reduced albeit a bit. It would also be important to add that these I have mentioned are what most Nigerians have faced in one way or another and are still facing today.
Throughout my university days, God was more of an acquaintance I randomly prayed to for forgiveness after every major “sin” just to double down on the heaven flight. Years went by before I started questioning everything – religion, its teachings and doctrines. I haven’t been able to speak about this publicly because of the social rejection that I’ll receive from the majority. But when I started reading your articles and that of your friend Godwin Otobor, I believe is his name – Go Da, I knew it was time to come forward and recount my story.
I sat there dumbfounded, eyes laden with tears as this lady told her story while wiping tears her tears off. She also mentioned how lucky she was during all these as most kids from lesser educated and poorer families have been maltreated, some even burnt alive at the hands of these religious leaders for being accused of witchcraft!
I wondered how we as a people could do these to ourselves, how we could compound our lives with the causes of other men, take up others’ mantles and inflict this great injustice on ourselves and our children. How fast and how low the black man has fallen, how sad it is that he has assumed the role hater of his own kind, neglected where he has come from while clinging tightly to the garments of the laws and words of others.
For the love of humanity, for the love of our children and future, how long shall we continue this madness? How long shall we continue to follow blindly rather than lead? How long shall we continue to bury ourselves into the grave of oblivion while carrying flags of other men high?
Now Linda is living a life free from bondage and mental slavery, free of religion and she wants everyone to learn something from her own experience of how we have mentally enslaved ourselves and committed grave crimes against ourselves and future, how our blind followership and “zombiism” has robbed us of our dignity as humans and as equals.
Slavery was abolished centuries ago, when shall we start implementing that? When shall we take off the chains we’ve bound our minds in? When shall we start reasoning and acting like free men? When shall we pull our heads out of the sand and start using it? When shall we continue to be followers rather than leaders?
As a good friend Go Da clearly stated;
“The black man is truly a lost soul whose whole existence is shadowed by a deep inferiority complex. How many times do you need to spell out to an enslaved mind that you are not part of their plan? You will only be their slaves forever, here on earth and in the Jacobian heaven you clamour for. You are really not worshipping any unseen God in the sky. Your own God is right here on earth… Your tormentor, your enslaver is who you truly worship. Your God has human flesh. That God has long ago flogged your predecessors into submission and have applied the Jim Crow’s method to totally rule their minds. The ones that disobeyed were scapegoat and hung to dry. The psychology was to reduce the man to his knees and let the fearful woman rule the house, under their watchful eyes. They killed off most of the strong men and allowed the remaining weak ones to mate with the obedient woman who in turn reared their children in total subservience and trained them to see the white man as God. The generations to follow were perfect compliant zombies good for manual labour to benefit his white slave aster. The Blackman was therefore reduced to the level of an obedient dog. Were this situation to continue, biology would have re-categorised the blacks under some sub-human category. The most effective means of mind control was to borrow from Middle Eastern religion. The white man remodelled the bible for their personal use. First testing it on themselves and seeing the “dumbing” effect, took it to Africa as the most potent weapon of mind control. It worked a miracle and many Africans found other people’s Gods, which were superior to theirs. The Arabs were less subtle in their campaign. Their crusades were bloody and they decimated half your population until the rest bowed on their knees to proclaim their Allah as the God of Africans as well. Read your history books well and don’t bury your heads in the sand and realize that you do not belong there.
It is not your religion. You are only an enslaved and capitulated mind with no sense of identity. You would need to be bold and realize your folly, take a very shower and remove this last remaining remnant of your enslavement. Do not let the fear rule you as you wonder “what next?” Your spiritually is sacrosanct and is always within you . You only need to rediscover yourself and boldly sever your bond with eternal enslavement. You are keeping what does not belong to you, what has all these generations after to end of physical slavery, kept you firmly rooted in the same position even without your shackles. This is the time to fight this slavery mentality and make an effort to stand up to be counted. You have two borrowed books that have overstayed their time with you, The Bible and the Quran. They are not African books and most definitely will not save your African butt. Be a proud African and let us start our own genuine religion, without outside interest. Let us start by simple “live and let live”. We are not Christians or Muslims. we are simply their slaves! Let us now liberate ourselves!”
“Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet” – Napoleon Bonaparte
“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” -Seneca the Younger 4 B.C- 65 AD.
Wake Up. Free Yourselves!
N.B. Although the account of above is real, the name is fictional and any linkage shouldn’t be made to anyone bearing that name alive or dead.
By Teekay Akin [Akinyemi Adeseye]