Remember Unoma, who wrote Internet Lover (Read HERE)… Well, she has sent in another piece for our reading delight, an extract from her upcoming memoir, Embracing My Shadow. Check on it.


Girl ChildI was hungry, but I came alive as soon as other students started gathering their notebooks, getting ready to dash out of the class. The bread and tea we had for breakfast didn’t seem to serve any purpose. I had hoped that whatever we were having for lunch would be rice and stew. In the refectory, food was divided according to tables, so five to six students per table and each table had a pot or two of garri and soup. Sometimes, the soup was too watery, and then the rice and beans had small pebbles in them. I had the responsibility of dividing up the food. Nobody appointed me but I volunteered as often as I wanted. Occasionally, some accused me of not doing a good job.

At one point one of the girls at the table, Amaka, who had a large head yelled at me, “Unoma, the fish in your plate is bigger than others.”

“Bigger how? I shared the fish equally.”

“No, yours is bigger!” she yelled.

I shoved my plate to her and snatched hers, but she pulled it back, spilling some of the Ogbono soup. I clenched my fist and glared at her. I didn’t want to get into trouble by fighting. Otherwise, I would have punched her big head. The rest of the girls at the table told me to calm down and to ignore her.

As I walked towards my dormitory, House Five, with my school mother’s food, the sight of water containers that lined up in front of our water tank annoyed me. My containers have been in the line for hours. I was tired, sleepy and ready for the siesta. There were about fifteen containers ahead of me. As I was scowling and muttering to myself in frustration, Nkechi snuck up to the water tank, looked around, to make sure nobody was watching her. I didn’t want her to know I was watching her, so I looked down. Then she pushed her blue container next to the second one in line.

As she stood near her container, I shrieked at her, “What do you think you’re doing, Nkechi!”

“What am I doing? Unoma Azuah, mind your business!” she said and rolled her eyes at me.

“Look, I don’t intend to stand here all day! Take that container all the way back to the end of the line,” I said, pointing at the trail of containers.

She hissed and walked away, but I kicked her container out of the queue. She picked it up and left. A few minutes later, the line moved. I pushed my container ahead, glad that the long line of containers was beginning to shrink. The next thing I heard was my name ringing out in the air.

“Unoma Azuah! Unoma Azuah, your name is in the list!”

I didn’t recognize who it was that was calling out my name. She must be one of the new prefects. My heart started pounding. A couple of weeks ago, two girls fought in House Four. When they were asked why they fought, my name was mentioned. Even when I didn’t ask them to fight over me, I was still asked to cut the overgrown grass near the staff quarters.

I whispered a prayer and asked, “What list? Why is my name in the list?”

“You have a lover and you people have sex. Others are kneeling down in front of the principal’s office. Go and join them.”

There were about a dozen of us kneeling in front of the Principal’s office. The jagged stones I knelt on pierced through my nerves. The sun came down with heavy hands. It was not long before the principal’s whip came down upon my back. I squealed in pain and begged for forgiveness. My plea was ignored. Instead every lash was punctuated by, “Remember this pain when you commit your sinful act!”

After the uncountable lashes of her wheezing whips, she strutted into her office in a puff. We were to kneel under the intense heat for another hour. When we were finally dismissed, I could still feel the pain breathing through the slashed surfaces of my back. I didn’t want to feel the judgmental eyes of my bunk mates. I didn’t want them to cast glances of “you deserve what you got.” So, I climbed the stairs to my classroom and cried. I was about to wipe my tears when one of the born-again Christian girls in school strolled into the classroom with a Bible.

“Unoma, God loves the sinner, but not the sin. I just came to pray for you.”

“I don’t need your prayers.”

“So you’re not ready to renounce your sin.”

“Leave me alone!”

“See, the spirit of lesbianism is a stubborn demonic spirit. And I can start prayers and deliverance for you now, if you believe.”

I looked at Ngozi as she ranted on in prayer. Our eyes met, and a cold chill ran down my neck. There was fire in her eyes, but it sparked of madness. I moved away from her and gazed through the open window. A couple of yellow birds chirruped and darted around the hibiscus flowers littered close to our class room building. Their chirps drowned out the echoes of her prayers. Repeatedly she stomped the bible on her lap casting out demons. The convent next to our school towered about the tall shrubs of flowers that surrounded it and the hums from the hymns of the reverend sisters settled like a blanket of melancholy over my shoulders. The song was soothing but mournful at the same time. That could be my place of refuge: the convent.

Written by Unoma

31 thoughts on “WHIPS

  1. Wait!! Y r all these stories similar to my experience and I haven’t written yet? I shared the food belonging to our table in the hostel, difference is, I did my job well and they never complained. One day our boarding master gathered all of us in the assembly and complained that he hrd we were committing “abomination” in the hostel and some masturbated in the bathrooms. He had a long list of suspects and yes u guessed right my name was in the lamb’s book of homosexuals. Although at that time I was just doing touching body here and there, they didn’t accuse me of doing it with any of the touching body people, rather they accused me of doing it with someone that didn’t even tickle my fancy. See me denying in a very convincing manner. Well, in the end, my name was removed from the list and I since remained in the school and passed the touching body level to even more pleasurable levels. Unoma sorry for the whips eh.

    • Na wah o! My secondary school experiences were never anything close to this…NEVER! Was it not happening in my secondary school,or was I just floating around in a bubble of cluelessness and naivete? Thruout my secondary school days, it was only one case of “homo” that I heard abt,(and that’s cause it was widely publicized and ridiculed) and it was soooo far away from me that it might as well have been a story on E! News.

  2. Indeed I was not alone in my school days…truth is, I was caught doing it while in the boarding house but instead of the people who caught us to go and report, they joined in the feast

  3. “…there was fire in her eyes,but it sparked of madness…” Lol.That line is EVERYTHING! (Some of those born-again types do have those “crazy eyes”,don’t they?). Wonderful piece,Unoma.

  4. I rememeber reading this early this year when that silly bill was passed. I attended a boarding school for one year, but left. Had all these fine guys I liked chyking me but I was too born again and to concentrated on ‘changing.’ Lol.

  5. Up until the ‘food sharing’ and ‘dorm five’ part,.I was bout asking if you had schooled at IJ. Maybe cos I walked around with my head in the clouds, never heard much about cases of homosexuality in both sexes publicised at school. Prolly happened underground…of which I’m a partaker n witness.

  6. Beautiful Piece, Uno’m.

    As for the things I did in boarding school days, Pinkie knows a mere comment won’t do…we were Four (4) Musketeers with varying ways as to how they (School Community) viewed us…I was seen to be tough, sturbborn and somewhat loud, by the horny boys; hence, scared many away. Pinkie, the sub-lime fellow and green snake in a green grass (fight me, Pinkie) fair, beautiful, booty and assumed to be quiet. He did more than the other three of us, yet I was thought to have done more. The other two, one was so adventurous with junior students which left him with a final year scandal. The other was a day-student who wished he never had a mom who teaches in the school.
    Kai! I’m missing those good old days when my teachers would defend me without batting an eyelid, even in an offence I actually committed; no one would believe I did such back then, all they saw was a girly brilliant chap…so harmless.

  7. Ouch!!!!, that must have sucked……when I was outed in jss3, mostly to my classmates by some guy, they just laughed a bit and left me alone, most of em didn’t even react….Emmanuel apologised later that day for outing me and I dug into them beautifully round cakes of his later that night (curiosity killed the cat after all), then some guy later tries to blackmail me in ss3 it so backfired apparently the boarding master refused to believe that his beloved chapel prefect was capable of such shenanigans. I wish people just minded their businesses.

  8. ahhh boarding school! I fucking miss that place!! when we were young our minds unburdened and our laughter rang out pure and joyful by day & by night our hands and mouths were busy in a frenzy of youthful lust! boarding school, packed full of boys, hot boyz of all shapes and all ‘sizes’ … if you ddnt go to a boarding school, pele oooo you missed out major on something that can never be recaptured. A friend once told me that none of his kids will ever set foot in a boarding house cos thats what ‘made him gay’ … I honestly didnt know what to say, considering that majority of guys who went to boarding schools still came out straight …

  9. wow..great article Unoma…the narratives were wonderful..although i never had any of these experiences I can relate..I’d love to meet with you and read more of your article..Good luck on your memoir.

  10. Waooo! Me I never shared food on my table not that I can recall and I never complained cause I had reserves that I could plunge into after meal. Bt homosexuality ws a thing in my school, thought I escaped it while in primary school only to find a particular senior sneaking in on my bed. Bt after I refuse two or three times he stoped coming. I want to believe he stoped cause I din’t like it then or because 1 day 1 of the hostel master called us out one sunny day of an accusation. It so happened that a hall mate reported of being raped by a fellow student. He said the senior came on he while asleep and made love to him. Before he could woke up he has done what wanted with him and he found the senior’s spam on him. So that sunny afternoon name started coming out like a pack of beans. Immediately I ws sacred I would be name, i remember few days ago I ws in the school hall with an out going senior, while chatting he held my hands to feel his Dick, he asked do I like it, I din’t reply bt oh yea it felt good but a part of me din’t like it. So he took me to the steer case and tried to have is way, suddenly I regain senses and pushed him away. I ran to my hostel and sleep trying 2 forget. Ever since then av been avoiding him and he has also. So I could nt come down until my name was not called. Bt I found out I was not his only victim. I stoped being a boarder cause of it only to realize I can’t run away 4rm myself.

    • oh Wow! Thanks my lovelies! I always enjoy reading ALL your comments. Lolz!!!@King per “don’t be too fast, we’re not going anywhere!” Ola, don’t mind him jare! Emii, I’d be glad to meet you as well. Cheers!

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