A poet, an author, a teacher, a mother all these describe, Titilola Atinuke Alexandrah Shoneyin. Or as many refer to her, Lola Shoneyin.
She recently got her novel translated into German and will be coming to German for a book tour. The book, The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives, talks of a phenomenon most of us refer to as a tradition – polygamy. In this books she looks at polygamy and how it affects those involved.
To the dismay of her ambitious mother, Bolanle marries into a polygamous family, where she is the fourth wife of a rich, rotund patriarch, Baba Segi. She is a graduate and therefore a great prize, but even graduates must produce children and her husband’s persistent bellyache is a sign that things are not as they should be. Bolanle is too educated for the ‘white garment conmen’ Baba Segi would usually go to for fertility advice, so he takes her to hospital to discover the cause of her barrenness.
When Baba Segi awoke with a bellyache for the sixth day in a row, he knew it was time to do something drastic about his fourth wife’s childlessness.
Meet Baba Segi . . .
A plump, vain, and prosperous middle-aged man of robust appetites, Baba Segi is the patriarch of a large household that includes a quartet of wives and seven children. But his desire to possess more just might be his undoing.
And his wives . . .
Iya Segi—the bride of Baba Segi’s youth, a powerful, vindictive woman who will stop at nothing to protect her favored position as ruler of her husband’s home.
Iya Tope—Baba Segi’s second wife, a shy, timid woman whose decency and lust for life are overshadowed by fear.
Iya Femi—the third wife, a scheming woman with crimson lips and expensive tastes who is determined to attain all that she desires, no matter what the cost.
Bolanle—Babi Segi’s fourth and youngest wife, an educated woman wise to life’s misfortunes who inspires jealousy in her fellow wives . . . and who harbors a secret that will expose shocking truths about them all.
Weaving the voices of Baba Segi and his four competing wives into a portrait of a clamorous household of twelve, Lola Shoneyin evokes an extraordinary Nigerian family in splashes of vibrant colour.
The book reading event will be in Münster, there is another in Frankfurt but I’m yet to get the exact details.
Friday, 29th August 2014,
At 7:30pm (19.30 Uhr)
In the VHS, Forum 1, Aegidiimarkt 3, Münster
Entry: 8,00 € / 4,00 € ermäßigt
You can buy the tickets at ROSTA-Buchladen, Aegidiistraße 12, 48143 Münster
Lola is a Nigerian having been brought up in the UK and in Nigeria. She’s a teacher by profession and lives in Abuja. Lola is married to Olaokun Soyinka, a medical doctor and the son of Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka. They have four children. Listen to her below talk about the book and sexual violence in Africa.