Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The bikes that laspapi bought.

Two 400cc motor-bikes, a Suzuki and a Honda, much too powerful for first-time bikers but life is short, let's live dangerously. One's for myself and the other for the hard-working production manager of Theatre@Terra, Olarotimi Michael Fakunle.

The man-hours lost in Lagos traffic are mind-boggling and I've been known to hop on a bike to beat the log-jams but it's much saner to trust myself on a bike than believe a complete stranger who probably arrived on the ferry from his village two days before and took his first bike ride 24 hours earlier, just because he alleges he's an okada rider.

Fallen off twice already, smashing a hole in the fence at the back of the house in the process of one of the fallings (swollen shin, bruised rib, sprained wrist) but I'm much better now, Thanks.

But really, I'm quite a ...ahem...hell's angel, now. The principles that govern bikes are very car-like.

A couple of weeks ago, I put up a picture of a building that appeared as if it would crash any day on the heads of Lagosians, right in the city centre.

The government must have read something somewhere (maybe Governor Fashola and his commissioners read my blog :P) but it was announced on the radio that it would be brought down and down it came, safely too.

This should have been done a long time ago. Well done to the government though, it'll take a while to correct the many things about our city that have to be fixed but it's obvious real work goes on.

Pictures show the building a day before demolition and then a less dangerous landscape.

laspapi at 'play'

Rehearsals for Professor Wole Soyinka's 'The Jero Plays' continued at the office last monday.

In the room along with me (you can't tell by looking) were 21 artistes.

The plays will be part of the Theatre@Terra series showing at Terra Kulture every Sunday in October at 3&6pm.

Cell-Phone Photo by Segun Ogundipe

The Girl Whisperer

as published by

The Sunday Guardian of Sept 27

The Last Bus-stop

What would you do if the next decision you made would be your very last one?

The reason many of us make irresponsible decisions is because we feel we have all the time in the world. The strange thing about life is that all our yesterdays are made up of memories alone. It is a wise person that tries to ensure that recollections of the past will be happy ones.

When the Whisperer was a teenager he made many reckless decisions as many young men do. He would ‘love’ a girl for her hips, her perfume, for the way she crossed her legs or walked down an empty street. The way she stood out in a group of girls would be enough to make his heart race and give him sleepless nights. And in the light of the next day he would regret his decision the night before. He would stop taking her phone calls, and he would find alternative routes to the one that led him to her. As he grew older, he continued to make hasty decisions until he came into his own as the Whisperer.

There are many people who are unconcerned about the far-reaching consequences of their decisions. There are also many naive people who have put their own lives on hold for the sakes of philandering partners. They have met people who profess love without serious intentions and have totally believed people who are glib of mouth. There is nothing so damaging to the human psyche as finding out that the person you have given your heart to is really a ‘tourist’ who is just enjoying the sights. There are many people who do not want permanent resident permits in another’s life. They are there for the short term and will refuse to renew their visas when their term expires. You cannot make another love you, against his or her will.

There are ways of identifying a person who has reached his or her final destination. It is not a completely fool-proof method but it is a useful guide. What you must learn to do is not to listen to the words being said to you, but to the actions that follow the words. A man who tells you his heart is yours alone forever is quite different from the one who goes to great lengths to severe himself from previous, complicated relationships. Like the old saying goes if you really want to know what a person thinks, look at the person, don’t listen to the person.

There are many instances of people who have loved and lost because they chose to follow partners who are tourists-for-life. You cannot cure and should not make it your mission in life, to change a person who has wanderlust. A restless soul will remain that for all eternity no matter how hard you try. It is the same as trying to make a tiger a house-pet. No matter how hard you try, the tiger was made for the wilds.

So you must trust your instincts to identify a natural-born runner. No matter what the person with wanderlust says, he is designed to keep moving from person to person. His default-setting is that of a person who changes base as often as he can, and when it matters the most to you is when he will tell you he has to go. The same way a computer or a camera will return to its manufacturer’s setting when there is a problem, is the way this partner will show his true self if he meets a stumbling block. We must all learn to weigh the decisions we intend to make before we make them public. We live in a world in which the actions of one can have far-reaching repercussions in the lives of many others. Good things really do come to those who wait and sometimes tasting from too many dishes can kill the strongest appetite.

Even simple acts done in pure innocence can be misinterpreted. There are people all over the world who blame the Whisperer for having deceived them by being too friendly or looking too deeply into their eyes. Many actions done without guile can be misread, not to talk of those that are done to deliberately deceive. There is no one that owes us the responsibility to be forthright and honest, we owe ourselves that duty, the duty to check, that we are doing the right thing and that we have finally met the right person. If you value your happiness and your peace of mind, you will ensure that you screen all comers to ensure that they are not just hopping from bus to bus. For the bus-hoppers, they must remember that there is such a thing as the last stop and though it might have been amusing to deceive little girls, there is nothing remotely funny about deceiving fellow adults. The desire to roost can be a very strong one and it is not to be trifled with. If two ‘tourists’ meet each other, then it is a thing of joy. If your prospective partner is not a tourist however, you owe a duty to announce your intentions well before the party begins. It is not enough to say that your partner should have known what type of person you were. Lay your cards on the table so both parties are clear where they stand at all times.

A long time ago, Paul Young sang, “I love them and I leave them, break their hearts and deceive them, everywhere I go.” No declaration of intent can be more forthright than that. Break their hearts and deceive them but let them know first.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Theatre@Terra presents live on stage, Wole Soyinka’s comedies-

The Jero Plays

The Trials Of Brother Jero
Jero’s Metamorphosis

Every Sunday in October

Written by Wole Soyinka
Directed by Wole Oguntokun

Venue- Terra Kulture, Tiamiyu Savage St, Victoria Island
Time- 3pm and 6pm
Tickets – N2000

Produced By Wole Oguntokun

For Tickets and Enquiries, please call 0702 836 7228, 0808 123 9477 or e-mail laspapi@yahoo.com


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Yinka Craig went to be with the Lord at 6.00am on september the 23rd at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

He was a pioneer radio and television broadcaster, a sports journalist extraordinaire and a national icon.

He is survived by his wife, Dr. Kehinde Craig, his sons, Mr. Olayinka Craig and Dr. Olamide Craig and Miss Temilola Craig.

The Girl Whisperer

as published by the Sunday Guardian

of 21st September, 2008

Okafor’s Law

I bet that title got your attention. I also bet you’re wondering how I’m going to tackle this topic without offending public policy.

There are very few Nigerians who do not know the principle behind Okafor’s law. For the very few who do not, the Whisperer’s here to bring it to your notice and to educate the world as a whole.

Firstly, just like the Western world’s ‘Murphy’s law’ which states that if anything can go wrong, it will; Nigerians, decades ago, ‘discovered’ a principle concerning relationships which many believe to be true. The law which they likened to infallible laws like that of gravity is that you may continue a relationship in which you and your former partner had a strong bond even if you meet years after.

How did it come about that I decided I was going to write on Okafor’s law? Earlier this week, I got an invitation to a radio show out of the clear blue sky from one of the top guns in that medium, Cordelia Okpei. Cordelia is a very good friend and producer of, amongst many other things, a radio show that deals with relationships and so I went.

Apparently, the host of the show, Tolu, had read an article the Whisperer wrote a couple of months ago, titled ‘Soul Ties’ and had decided it had links to Okafor’s law.

Seated at the table where we were recorded were other guests, including the musician Eldee, also known as ‘The Don’; Dolly; Tokunbo Agbesan’wa; and Kate (a clergyman’s wife). The topic? Okafor’s law. The theme? Can a man continue an intimate relationship once broken, from where he left off if he sees the woman months or years later, irrespective of whom she’s with or what kind of relationship she is involved in? There are numerous test cases that say he can. Like Eldee said, if you’ve been there before, you may return. The Whisperer’s stance? That may be true, but let no man say it is on account of Okafor’s Law or Soul Ties, or whatever reason humans give so as to be able to rekindle the flames of lust. We pursue other people or allow ourselves pursued because we want to, not because there is a principle of chemistry that compels us to do so. The females at the discussion were more or less on the same side, contending that a woman (and even a man) could condition herself not to yield to someone she once cared for with all her heart and who has decided to try to return into her life when she has moved on. There is no one in his or her right mind who should underestimate the laws of attraction. Your spouse, partner, friend will find other people attractive. It is what is done with this attraction that separates us from people without control.

I wrote Soul Ties because I met a female who said she had listened to a clergyman who had submitted that people were soul-ishly tied to others for the rest of their lives. I have one thing to say to the clergyman and her. If you’re tied to anyone, it’s lust and a remembrance of how things once were. It’s because you dwell on the ‘magic’ you once shared with that person and when you meet that person again, the memories you have watered and nourished, kick in and that is all you can think about. ‘Let no man say when he is tempted, he is tempted of God...’ is what the good book says. This female, an adventurer in many ways, found justification in fanning the embers of residual attraction even through a marriage (not involving the Whisperer),in that philosophy. If that is so, the Whisperer is ‘Soul-Tied to seventy females and still counting. It’s a ridiculous concept, the soul tie, purely driven by lust but I digress. Back to Okafor’s Law.

We all commit this ‘transgression’, dwell on one or two special people in our minds, our ‘soul mates’ that we didn’t end up with, our dream partners, those who understood us. So when your current partner is acting oafish, you allow the mind to drift, lending incredible attributes to that partner now gone and sowing the seeds for Okafor’s Law to take root when your paths cross again.

Six days ago, as I drove down a quiet street in Surulere, I saw a female go past, and took a second look at her. She saw me too and raced back to me. We’d met eons ago when I was undergoing that mind-broadening experience called the National Youth Service, she being a student in the University of the State I was ‘serving’ in and travelling back that day too. We’d had a long talk on the journey and agreed to meet again in the state we were both travelling to, obviously attracted to each other. For some reason, we never did, and didn’t see each other until almost a year after. She had come to meet her boyfriend who stayed next door to my relatives whom I was visiting. We joked about it, said it was a good thing we didn’t hook up but the attraction obviously remained. And then, just a few days ago, we met again, attraction still ‘zinging’ through the air around us.

Hear the Whisperer. You will always meet people you are attracted to. It’s the way life is. You have to weigh the situation you’re in, and make up your mind that you will allow nothing disrupt it. Believe the Whisperer, Okafor’s Law will turn your peaceful life inside out, if you allow it to. And don’t think you can get away with it without ‘hurting’ anyone. This Law will make itself known. It always does.

I think I should put Okafor’s law on Wikipedia so when its googled, more of the world can understand this theory.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

I saw one of life's moments yesterday. I sat watching bits of the 1998 Spielberg movie on World War II, 'Saving Private Ryan' when an incredible scene unfolded. A platoon of American soldiers led by a captain played by Tom Hanks, had just lost a friend to two bullets from the German Army, as they fought over desolate waste-land. They had tried to save him, shore him up with morphine but nothing worked. Two bullets in the stomach. He died. Blood everywhere, pumping out of the small holes in his body tillhis heart stopped beating.

Then they caught a German soldier who hadn't made it away on time. They made the German soldier dig a grave for their friend and as he dug, it was clear they intended to take their revenge on him for the death of their friend who had fought through thick and thin by their side.

The German soldier, still standing in the grave he was digging, looked up at them and began to beg for his life. He held on to one who had been friendlier than the others and had given him a cigarette, and began to plead in English with a strong German accent. He repeatedly shouted, 'I love America' and tried to climb out of the grave but was pushed back.

Then he sang the first few lines of the American anthem, brokenly, repeatedly, not fully understanding the words. He would sing two lines and start again and again.

The guns cocked around him and he shouted...'f**k Hitler' a few times as well in a desperate attempt to save his own life but he could still see his death in their eyes as they cocked their guns.

Then they pulled him out of the grave, and tied a blindfold over his eyes. And the Captain told the only American who could speak German to tell the prisoner to walk a thousand paces away from them, not looking back before taking off his blindfold.

As he walked away, stumbling over the rocky terrain, uncertain as to what would happen, I waited for the bullets that would knock him to the ground. But they never came. The captain made his platoon let him go.

In those few minutes, I saw the humanity of both sides and I fully understood the futility and senselessness of war. And also for the first time, I totally comprehended John Donne's words-

Every man's death diminishes me because I am involved in man-kind. Therefore, never send to know for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee.

Friday, September 19, 2008

On the last day of the Moments with Mo shoot for Season 4, The show host, Mo Abudu, gave away a new car donated by Bras Motors as a random act of kindness. The venue was the foyer of the City Mall at Onikan. A bemused young man (not in shot) was the lucky winner. In the picture, Mo addresses the crowd on the rules of the draw as Gbenga Adeyinka the 1st, Comedian and Master of Ceremonies, contemplates how he can make a quick getaway with the car, without anyone noticing.

Taking a drive down the troubled 3rd Mainland Bridge last week, I saw this sight. The sails of the boat were made from old sacks but I would have given a great deal to be able to sail away for a while. Far from the hustle and flow.

The Wole Soyinka Sketches and Plays (A Season Of Soyinka) were staged through the months of June & July at Terra Kulture.

Below are pictures from a couple.

Pic 1- Babuzu Lion-Heart- The forerunner to Prof. Soyinka's play, King Ba'abu. In the scene shot here, the sit-tight dictatator, babuzu, rises from the dead.

Pic 2- Symbolic Peace, Symbolic gifts. One of Soyinka's satires of politics in Nigeria. In it, Olarotimi Michaels (left)and Paul Alumona go head to head.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Kachifo Limited, publishers of Farafina Books, Farafina Educational and Farafina Magazine, is proud to announce the release of their latest fictional novel: To Saint Patrick.

This is to encourage new and upcoming writers who are discouraged by the belief that Farafina publishes only established writers.
The novel is a gripping and courageous debut from Eghosa Imasuen, one of the next generation of great Nigerian writers. Eghosa was one of the participants of the year 2007 Creative Writing Workshop organized by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.


It's the year 2003 in an 'alternate Nigeria,' and a prominent member of the NPN political party, veteran journalist Chief Johnson, has just been murdered. Two small time crooks are found with a bag full of his bloody clothes. They will take the fall to assuage the public, although some evidence suggests they may just be innocent... Is it politics as usual?

To Saint Patrick rewrites Nigerian political history, presenting the reader with a series of 'what ifs': what if Major-General Murtala Mohammed had survived the 1976 coup attempt, and had run for a 2nd term?; What if Babangida was simply on the sidelines—an honourable gentleman?; What if our democracy was healthy?
The Girl Whisperer

as published by the Sunday Guardian

September 14


I went to a birthday party last night; lot’s of food and music. People laughed, danced and chatted, and there dancing in a snazzy hat and a short dress, was the girl of my dreams. She was beautiful by every standard, she was effervescent, the soul of the party...and she didn’t even look at me.

I’d met her a few times before so I knew her inability to ‘see’ me was deliberate. But the point of my story? It’s not every situation you are in, that will work the way you might want it to. And the fact that it does not work the way you want it, doesn’t mean you are at a disadvantage. Sometimes, some things are not meant to be, some friendships are not meant to take deep root or blossom, and like ships that pass in the night, we sail past each other, unaware of the interests we might share with this person or the levels the meeting might be taken to. As a young man in his early twenties, I would have mooned over this girl, but I know now, from experience, that things are never what they seem, and the world is full of beautiful people. What you must look out for are those with beautiful hearts.

How many people can you actually connect with? We must reach a point where we accept that what will be will be. It removes feelings of frustration, and of helplessness. Don’t waste your time trying to change what is cast in cement. If you give anything time, it will pan in your favour if it was meant to be.

As an aside, I sometimes meet with people who say they’re bored. I have never been able to figure that. How can you be bored with life? They’re too many things happening around you at any point in time. Everyone who goes by you has a story, has history, and you can see another world through the eyes of the man who walks past on the street. Pick up a good book and read, watch a seven-year old laugh down the road, sit and muse as rain falls and the air is filled with the smell of parched dust rising, but never say you’re bored.

Chance encounters. One night, years ago, as I drove home in the company of a friend, I took a detour down a deserted road and saw a man walking fast holding an object that looked like a machete in his hand. Just a bit further on was an old woman who must have been in her seventies. I slowed the car to match her pace and asked if she knew the man behind her. She said she didn’t, but that that the man had been calling out to her, yelling for her to drop the polythene bag she was carrying. The man had melted into the bushes nearby, the moment he saw my car slow down but I had a feeling he was tracking us in the bushes. I asked the old woman to get in but she hesitated. I could see she was half-crazed with fear and I asked her again, harshly this time, telling her I would leave her there if she didn’t get into the car. I knew I had endangered myself and my friend and I didn’t want to stay longer than necessary in that dark place. She got into the car and I accelerated away from there. In the vehicle, she told us she had decided to walk down that road because she knew that her son and his family whom she lived with would have been waiting for her to return. She had gone out of the state to stay with another son a couple of days before and upon her return to Lagos, had been unable to get a vehicle that would take her home so she had chosen to walk a few hundred metres. In the bag she had been carrying, was a new local broom she’d just purchased and three hundred naira. Not nearly enough to get yourself killed over but she had been so paralysed with fear that she hadn’t been thinking straight. The bag must have looked valuable to the man in pursuit. When I dropped her much further on, at a very busy bus-stop, she knelt by the road to show appreciation. I have not seen her since, four years on now, but her memory will stay with me forever. My eyes have met with those of nice-looking young women on trains, people I knew would connect with me with ease, laughing eyes, pleasant eyes, but we have gone past each other, not talking, realizing an age-old truth. You are not sent to everyone in the world, just a few.

The Whisperer has met with many females; it is his calling after all. There are really great people out in the world, unsung heroes, people who might never be known publicly, but these are the individuals that make the world such a great place to live in.

The next time you think you’ve missed the chance to be close to a lovely person, remember it is humanly impossible to be with everyone. Circumstances, inclinations; all may work against you being more than two people whose eyes lock in a crowded room. You must believe, however, that you are exactly where you are meant to be; and if the reverse is true, the change will come naturally, without you having to force the situation.

So, I remember my dream girl in the snazzy hat as I write, and I have a smile on my face for the beautiful moments I shared being in the same crowded room with her. And I understand that life has beautiful moments. And she was one of them.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Loving Laspapi...

I don't know what that subject title means. I just wrote it anyway.

I went missing for a while but there's light at the end of the tunnel.

-picture by kristina

Missing With Mo

I've been missing from everywhere for the past month or so since I joined the talk-show 'Moments with Mo' team as a Producer/Senior Script Writer on the programme's 4th Season.

I didn't know what I was getting myself into. Mo is a hard task-master, demanding value for her money, but the experience has been mind-broadening and highly enlightening.

What struck me about her? ( Apart from her very good looks? :P ) She's highly intelligent and has a very quick mind. This talk-show's process is larger and much more complicated than any I have seen in Nigeria, and I've seen the internal workings of quite a few. Having to be on top of so many issues didn't help for a very relaxed host in past seasons but that's sorted now.

The Senior Producer- Sebari Diete-Spiff, The two other Producers, Yemisi Elo and Pam Ofoegbu as well as a studio-staff strength of more than 40 others ensures the work goes on as smoothly as it can.

The programme is seen around Africa (41 countries), the NTA Network, Silverbird, Sky in England (is in the works) and the USA.

Will I be there next season? If I told you, I would have to kill you.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

The Girl Whisperer

as published by

The Sunday Guardian

of 7th September


There’s an odd story of the origin of having a best man at weddings. We go to ceremonies and we see a mirror image of the husband-to-be, dressed in the same suit, a matching tie and same tint of sunglasses. I’d often wondered what the significance of having a husband’s clone was. For everyone who has ever had a ‘best man’ at a wedding and not wondered what the need of it was, deduct intelligence points now. The chief bridesmaid is a different matter; the exorbitantly-priced voluminous swathes of clothing the brides call dresses need assistants to see they don’t get trapped in doorways and ripped to shreds or have the folds sweep all the dirt off the busy streets as they trail behind the wearers. The presence of another female is expedient in these matters. There has to be a calmer female to whisper into her ear that she’s doing the right thing, marrying the right man, reminding her to smile for the cameras. That’s essential.

We follow customs we do not fully understand here, but everyone should do what makes him (and her, happy). I sat watching an office assistant one day. ‘What happened last Saturday?’, I asked. She cheerily replied, ‘I was a covettee lady at a wedding ceremony’. It took me a long while to figure she meant ‘confetti’. Her function was to throw ‘covettee’ at the marrying couple and the wedding programme said so. Then there’s the ‘ring bearer’, a distraught young man forced to carry a ring on a cushion when he’d rather be watching cartoons; the flower girls... Why would you want to carry hibiscus flowers at a wedding? It had a purpose for those who started the custom. The flowers were carried, then, for the perfume that emanated from them. Why would they have needed perfumes? Go figure.

But enough English weddings bashing here, it won’t make me popular with the ladies who spend their time checking out wedding sites on the internet and planning what the midget masquerading as a ‘little bride’ will wear.

If you choose to feed a thousand people with nine hundred and fifty of them not caring whether you lived or fell off a bridge the next day, that’s your prerogative. I think families willing to enter debts over weddings should instead invest the money into the marrying couple. Just open a bank account in their new name and give the gazillions you would have spent buying wine, to them. They’d be grateful forever. Now if you’re a governor’s son or whatever, it’s wise-thinking and strategic to marry with fanfare and pageantry. All the governor’s friends will be there and give you enough presents to ensure you live happily ever after or that you can be unhappy in comfort.

Let’s go back to the best man. According to legend, it was the practice to have another man stand ready just in case the groom failed to show up at the ceremony. This person was known as the second best man. The ‘second best man’ who would be dressed just as the groom would have been, would take the wife instead. Gradually, as the years went by, the word, ‘second’ was removed and the fellow became known simply as the ‘best man’. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

Now the application to modern times- how many people have been unable to hang on to the man of their dreams and been forced to marry the second best man? There is a saying the Whisperer holds dear, ‘it’s not who you love, it’s who loves you’. Sometimes a woman meets a man who fits almost every expectation she needs from a man; he makes her laugh, doesn’t take himself too seriously, is hard working, playful, and grooms himself well. Unfortunately, it’s not everyone we love who loves us in return, and even if they do, it doesn’t always happen at the same time.

So, a woman might grieve for a long while when she cannot have the man of her choice but after a while, she stops grieving and makes herself available to potential suitors again. The only thing is she might settle for someone not quite near her initial expectations.

What happens in this case? Does she settle for less? Many women deciding to be ‘realistic’ or listening to those who say they should be, in this way, enter into permanent liaisons and live to regret it.

You must place a price on yourself, have a ‘minimum standard requirement’, and tell yourself, ‘nothing below this’. When we settle for the second best man, it leaves us miserable. Remember that the wedding ceremony itself is not a destination, it is the beginning of a journey, and you’d better have the right companion for the journey or you’ll be waking up on many nights as the road gets bumpier, wondering how you ever managed to get yourself into the situation you are in.

‘I can learn to love him’. Maybe. Still the Whisperer thinks it is best not to try to grow this love but to have it from the onset of the relationship. The second best man might be the one that is available but sometimes you have to hold on to your ideals. There’s a difference between being married and being happily so.

As you walk through life’s paths, I pray you find your best man and even as important, that he finds you too, and recognises that he has done so when he sets eyes on you.
The Girl Whisperer

as published by

The Sunday Guardian

The Ultimate Betrayal

The Whisperer sat alone in a dimly lit room a few days ago, contemplating the dusk as it came slowly and enveloped the world. The hues and shadows of the failing day brought strange thoughts to his mind and the sounds of the night made him reflect on broken expectations and many wasted promises. He dwelt on the harshness of truth and the treachery of hypocrisy, and for a long time, he pondered the question, ‘what is the ultimate betrayal?’

In affairs of the heart and in the laws, if any, that govern the relationships between man and woman, male and female, is there any ‘crime’ that is truly unforgivable? Is there a ‘sin’ so great that you cannot forgive or forget? Can an incident happen that is so great that you cannot walk away from? For men and women, there appear to be differing standards. Men all over the world and in every tribe and creed have been caught by their loved ones in the clutches of other ‘strange’ women and have lived to tell the tale even if done with a wry grin and a foolish look. These men have gotten away with the equivalent of murder and received only a light rap on the knuckles for their erring ways. For women however, there are very few that have lived to tell the tale when caught ‘delicto flagrante’ by their male partners. It is an exceptional man that can ever remove the image of his partner’s limbs entwined around another, from his mind or memory banks. No matter how hard he tries, and how large-hearted he may appear, a man will dwell on the ‘transgression’, even long after he says he has forgiven and forgotten, and one day, a piece of straw will be added to the burden that will break the camel’s back. He will finally tell the woman he has loved through stormy weather and in peaceful times that he cannot take the relationship anymore, weeks or months after the incident, giving concrete form to a dissolution that actually occurred the instant he found her in the arms of another but which he was unable to process at that time.

Women, however, have resilience in ways men will never be able to figure and which makes them the more dangerous specie. Often, no matter how terrible the betrayal is, the woman sees the big picture, the whole tapestry, not just a small segment of the work in progress and because she is aware that she is in pursuit of an end and the fulfilment of her own purpose, she is more likely to accept betrayal from her man.

Let no one say the Whisperer is advocating that women be more docile and be more accepting of a man who cannot control himself. The truth is women ‘see’ further ahead and are able to separate an incident they recognize as a speed bump from their plans. The Whisperer has never been under the delusion that women are the weaker sex and it is a truly ignorant and undiscerning man that believes this to be true. Women have, time after time, shown they are as capable of great acts of loyalty or of perfidy as men can be. A woman can go through her life and into her grave, knowing it is another who fathered a child an unsuspecting man claims to be his. It is just an ability they have, to close up like the earth itself and not reveal the innermost secrets hidden there. When it truly matters, they can be silent. The man on the other hand, who for example, fathers a child outside his relationship, is more likely to someday, sooner or later, feel the need to tell of his ‘dastardly’ act.

Now to the act of betrayal- Is there some act that is so unforgivable, that a relationship cannot walk away, whole, from? Many will feel that the ultimate betrayal is the partner that becomes physical with another, but sometimes, the treacherous act does not have to be physical. There is no physical betrayal that did not start with a betrayal of the emotions first.

There are women who have betrayed husbands with old boyfriends, with new lovers, with fleeting acquaintances as men themselves have done to women over the centuries. And take the word of the Whisperer and William Shakespeare on this- There really is no art to seeing the mind’s construction in the eye. Partners who have lovers on the sly will meet this ‘part-time lovers’ when they are in the presence of the official partner and not blink an eye-lid. They will call this person, ‘Uncle’, ‘Auntie’, ‘Mr. Somebody’ and whatever respectful terms exist, without anyone being the wiser but the parties involved.

The world is a truly wondrous place and strange things take place in it every day. It is a place for the brave and not for faint-hearted people. Every woman (and man) must decide if there is a limit to the wrong that can be done her. Will love truly forgive all, or are there things that you will put your feet down for and say ‘no more’?

For many, physical betrayal is the no-go area. It is the one thing they will not accept, they will not forget and cannot forgive. It does not matter how beautiful it had been in the past, an act of betrayal will taint it all for these ones forever. Some will say there should be no limitations to forgiveness. The reply shall be “To everyman his own”.
The Girl Whisperer

as published by the

Sunday Guardian


The Whisperer thought long and hard before he sat down to write and came to a conclusion; many of us refuse to look deep into the things of the past. We do not dissect the reasons for events that we have gone through and therefore take no lessons away from the pains or joys of the past.

Today he looks into a mirror and tells you a few of the lessons he has learnt. As a young man in his teens, he met Wendy (not her real name, of course) and thought he had found love. She would walk through his school while he sat with his friends and they would yell and make all the immature noises that young men make when they see pretty girls. She had eyes like a Chinese girl, a lovely feature on a black woman if it is just at the right angle. One day, he summoned courage and walked up to her and found she was the girl of his dreams, or so he thought. His love for her was pure, that of the heart, and he thought that it was the same with her, until she left him for a brighter prospect- a young man who was already in his first year in the university. The lesson learnt- Never lend attributes to another that he or she does not have. Your affections are sometimes not appreciated, don’t waste it or pour it down a bottomless pit. The Whisperer met her years after when he was no longer a bumbling youth but a master of his game, and couldn’t believe he had ever wasted time with her. Another lesson learnt here- Don’t let the pain of your past poison your future.

Then there was Banibe, a beautiful young woman, who though the Whisperer hasn’t seen in many years, he still thinks about from time to time with a smile on his face and a desire for the days of ‘auld lang syne’. She would walk through his school too, daily, on her way home from her school where she was studying for her Advanced Level. The Whisperer’s school? Baptist Academy, for those of you who are trying to build a dossier on this writer. He became good friends with her, and sometimes now, he wishes he could see her again and have those long talks they used to have. Banny was a beautiful girl, in her heart and physically, and maybe someday, she and the Whisperer will meet again, and remember the days of innocence, and they will sit under a tree and watch the world go by. The lesson lent- Sometimes, you stumble across gold accidentally- don’t throw it away. Another lesson- Not all that is gold, glitters.

There was F.G. who looked like one of the members of the musical group, Destiny’s Child. The friendship started shyly, and blossomed into a beautiful thing, and even till this day, he measures some he meets against her. She would write letters to him and seal it with an actual kiss (you’d see the lipstick mark on the page, for those of you who have done these silly, wonderful childhood things before). It was a heady relationship and the pure memories gave great pleasure in periods of sadness. Later on, I met F.G. as an adult on another continent but adulthood had left its mark on both of us. All the experiences mentioned above were in the Whisperer’s teen years. The lesson here- All you need to know, you probably learnt before you left your teenage years. The only problem is we refuse to look into the mirror and understand that life starts its tutorials early. Adulthood is not the place for you to plead ‘ignorance of the law’.

The Whisperer also met ‘Zawazawa’ during his pre-university days, and she, though younger than him, was wiser. She was bright, effervescent, and sharp of mouth but she would let him get away with some things, sometimes, just to keep the peace. The lesson learnt – Men will always be boys. It is an unknowing woman who cannot manage a man who truly loves her and whom she truly loves.

There was Rosemary whom the Whisperer had a crush on as a young teen, and who was fond of the Whisperer as well but only as a friend would be fond of another. One day, Rosemary had a party and somehow, the young man the Whisperer used to be, wangled an invitation. At the party, Rosemary greeted the yet-to-be-Whisperer warmly and then said the legend, ‘someone your own height will soon come in’. The Whisperer’s growth spurt came late and like many male adolescents, he struggled in the early teen-years with wanting to be taller. Words like that from the dream girl, Rosemary, were harsh and the world went grey for an instant. The lesson learnt- There are five billion people on the face of the earth, not everyone can like you the way you like them. But the odds are, there are people out there who will care for you as much as you care for them.

Another lesson- you must be able to laugh at yourself no matter the circumstances. If you take yourself (and life) too seriously, there will be a lot of pain as you move down the tunnel. The Whisperer probably towers over Rosemary now, and would probably not recognize her, if they were to meet on a busy road or a quiet street. But as a young teen, she spoke words that will forever be etched on the mind. Yet another lesson- It’s not who you love, it’s who loves you.
The Girl Whisperer

as published by

The Sunday Guardian


An oddity arises with every column the Whisperer writes. Some people who know him imagine he must be writing about their specific situations, about issues that he is privy to and things he has observed concerning their personal lives and their relationships with others or the manner in which they themselves relate with him. The Whisperer’s subjects have little or nothing to do with those that have discussed matters with him in confidence, except they have given permission for these matters to act as lessons and pointers to others who might be facing the same issues and wondering what steps were best to take. Many people say the Whisperer has helped them out of really bad situations and he is glad. There are only so many combinations a relationship can have- Good man, bad woman; good woman, bad man; bad woman, bad man; and then the truly blessed set, good woman, good man. Life thereafter is made up of different lock-combinations of these varieties and sooner or later, the Whisperer will be talking about you. It’s nothing personal.

There are a few times however, that the Whisperer has reacted personally (and sometimes strongly) on these pages to real-life situations. It is the nature of man to lash out at times and even though the Whisperer considers himself to have a mind of the developed sort, sometimes even he falls prey to the frailty of all man-kind (and woman-kind). In the Whisperer’s lifetime but well before he became Lord of all he surveyed and at a point when he still sought his own identity, he met with many women, some of whom became great friends, some who abandoned a ship that appeared to be sinking then, and some others who would have given anything to be his mate and who became evil-incarnate when he rejected their offers (I’m sure we’ve all met one or two like the last category in the course of our lives).

In matters of the heart, partners often play games with each other. There might be an unwillingness to accept responsibility when a problem arises, with both sides waiting for the other party to apologise first, to break first. These are normal things, pride being the only issues at stake and are often quickly resolved when one or both realise the matter is being taken too far.

However, there are those who play war games in their relationships, not grasping a simple truth and a canon governing men and women issues- the rules of war must never be applied in matters of the heart.

The trick, the Whisperer has discovered, is to look for a partner as developed as you are. You will probably be unable to handle a partner further in development as the reactions of this partner will be as incomprehensible to you as Greek is to the untraveled man. You must find a partner that will not badmouth those who have walked the same path before you, your predecessors in other words, will not tell you tales of horror of the person ‘whose shoes you are filling’ and then when you ask why the relationship continued in spite of the things you are being told, get a blank stare for the trouble you took in inquiring.

If you meet the incarnated version of evil in human form, the games you will play with each other will border on nuclear warfare. For this type, there are no holds barred when the subject they are fixated upon refuses to reciprocate their ‘love’ in a manner they consider favourable. The truly safe person is one who scrutinizes potential partners. There is no problem with being finicky if you seriously intend to share your life with another human being. Do not apologise for passing a fine tooth-comb over the life of this ‘prospect’ for there are people out there who have no business engaging in relationships with normal people. These relatives of Freddie Kruger will prevent you from sleeping, from finding rest, and from closing your eyes. They will go after your job, your friends, your respectability and standing in society, your means of livelihood or whatever else they can sink their teeth into. These ones have nothing to lose and a lot to gain even by being engaged in warfare with you and if they cannot use a positive relationship to gain whatever ends they seek, they will settle for the negative, hoping the nuclear fall-out will lend them some notoriety and relevance in the society you live in. Warped mentality, you might think, but there are people like this out there and they will get you in the end if you do not keep your eyes open. So when you decide you want to play games, be careful of your choice of partners. Some play for the highest stakes and all that is meaningful to you is the ultimate prize in this game of poker.

As we start the race towards the end of another year, let us remember the story of the aborigine and the kangaroo. When an aborigine pursues a kangaroo for its hide, he doesn’t change his mind whether he comes across a bigger kangaroo or a slower kangaroo. He continues his pursuit of his original choice through smooth paths or rough and rocky terrain. Many of us would do well to apply that philosophy to our own pursuits. At night, because the kangaroo cannot see its pursuer, the kangaroo goes to bed not realizing the aborigine is still in pursuit. We would all do good to remember- the fact that we cannot see our pursuer does not mean we are not being pursued. Remember the words of Andy Grove, Intel’s boss, ‘Only the paranoid survive’. Amen.