The path of womanhood is not an easy one. A woman must withstand the heat of oppression under her feet and overcome the obstacles of gender bias ahead. At the same time, detours and derailments can determine a woman’s fate—they can make her either victorious or a victim of circumstance.
Yejide Kilanko’s coming-of-age novel, Daughters Who Walk This Path, introduces us to Morayo, the heroic narrator who indeed walks that path of oppression and gender bias among women in Nigeria. Growing up, Morayo had to deal not only with having an albino for a younger sister, but also with the social and traditional stigmas of femininity imposed by her conservative parents. As she walks this path of womanhood, Morayo is definitely not prepared for the derailment concocted by her cousin, Bros T, and the effect it would have on her in the long run.
But one cannot walk such a hard path alone. Morayo’s cherished aunt, Morenike, befriends her. Morenike has walked a similar path of abuse and shame, but lives to steer Morayo on the road to empowerment.
As a Ghanaian, I can relate to Nigerian conventions, such as conservative parents who favour males over females when it comes to breadwinning. But through Morayo’s obstacles Kilanko does a great job highlighting gender issues in Nigeria. The novel is broken into five parts. Morayo narrates the majority, while Morenike’s account is described in third person. Kilanko does a great job switching from first-person to third; both characters go through the same struggle, but it is Morayo who lives on with the lessons learned.
Daughters Who Walk This Path indeed encourages women to determine whether they will be victors over or victims of the obstacles in their lives.
- Raynika Awotwi