Daughters who walk this path

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Yejide Kilanko’s Daughters who Walk this Path, set in Ibadan, is a wisdom-oriented novel. By its satirical style, it subtly exposes, criticizes, and rectifies the weaknesses of every society. The author goes a long distance to challenge some African ills and tenets which as a result of primitiveness among the Yoruba community are seen as a necessity, their effects as self-sabotage on the exhibitor.

The book as a whole, carefully discusses the stages of development of the young minds, being the up-and-coming couples and parents of the morrow, and the life-long panic associated with it for those passing through the adventurous and tasking stage, especially the feminine. 


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The author, being someone who has just passed through the young adulthood stage must have been very conversant, cognizant, and vigilant of her contemporary society, as to how children rise from their respective backgrounds and emerge reflecting the images of their various societies. This thereby offers her a wide and vast variety of knowledge needed about child upbringing, societal and family pressure,  flaws, and effects in her community.

To this end, one can assert that we are the product of our society. As this majorly constitutes the source behind the work. Kudos to Kilanko for her linguistic hybridity, and integrative usage of the autochthonous style and diction. Unlike some other African writers who derive much pleasure in the appreciation and idolization of the foreign lingua, Kilanko has adopted an effective style with a fusion of local words. 


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Before holding on to a particular observation as a theory, preferably, one needs to question how often this has taken place. The text raises eyebrows with its approach to some social issues. One is the stand of a superstitious woman, the elderly woman in Owolabi’s family. Stereotypically, she thinks the birth of Eniayo, born with extremely white skin and pinky eyes, so-called Albino (Afin in Yoruba)  into the family of Owolabi and Bisade would bring nothing forth but absolute misfortune and turmoil.

This, she flexibly justifies by the blood-boiled ordeal of her friend’s daughter who also delivers an albino.  Following the child’s birth, the father of the infant is fired from work. A few days later, the mother has a minor accident that affects her leg. A Complete misfortune! 


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However, this retrogressive and barbaric Yoruba mentality must not follow the newly-born Eniayo to the outside world. This necessitates the abrupt negation done by Mr. and Mrs. Owolabi. They exonerate their poor infant by the scientific theory of genes, that her albinism has not been caused by some demonic spirits but rather a recessive gene. Clash of theories! The former theory is that superstition is untrue as goodness and bounties follow the birth of Eniayo. Her father completes his new site. 

The novel, set in Nigeria, undoubtedly creates an avenue to subtly highlight some anomalies in the setting and governance of the country. Specifically, judging the discharge of essential services to humanity. As for electricity, the mood and tone of the characters in the novel judging the power sector are that of complete deprivation amidst abundance.


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Another related case is the rustic description attributed to the school where the adamant and cliquish Tayo popularly called ‘Bros T’ is intentionally enrolled by Mr. Owolabi for reformation and rehabilitation sake. Of course, another strategy does it well!  This is a general thought held onto by most Nigerians that one of the ways to make a child regret his actions is through enrollment into public schools. Though, some do this due to financial incapacitation. The government of the country is supposed to ensure that if not equal, public schools should stand shoulder-by-shoulder with privately-owned and managed ones as well. This is to stimulate academic training without preferential treatment.

In this century, for humanity to have a violent free world on the part of the youth, proper care is required. The fire would not hesitate or feel reluctant to engulf the farm, only the farmer would not watch placing his palm on his cheeks.  “Àti kékeré ni a ti ñ pa èka ìrókò, Kí ó má gba ebo lówó eni tó bá dàgbà”,  says an aphorism. Aunty Tope, whose husband had gone in search of the horse’s horn before the birth of her only son, Tayo, failed to realize and learn from the foregoing witty statement. She went ahead transferring her affection to her son without giving it a second thought.


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This inconsiderate movement leads to a greater decadence in the child’s moral life. As he is extremely over-pampered. Aunty Tope is left dumbfounded, bewildered, and agape at Tayo’s unruly and morbid behaviors. The boy is eventually expelled from school after he is caught attempting to force his way into a poor girl’s room at the midnight. Albeit, Aunty Tope did not believe her son could do such. Although several cases of such have been reported to her. This is enough justification for the level of her parental irresponsibility.

Withal, Mr. and Mrs. Owolabi are also victims of parental irresponsibility, to talk of how they remain clueless about the shameful act that transpires between the beast Tayo and the poor innocent girl, Morayo. Imagine a girl being subjected to sexual assault under the shade of her parent. Where else is safe, then? 


You are reading: Daughters Who Walk This Path – Book Review


 And for them, instead of adopting the principle “of chasing the thief first before bouncing on the owner”, only the thief they pursued by mercilessly returning Tayo to his mother but failing to address the girl on their arrival. 

The space is amid devastation!  Our empire is in the talons of downfall as it is backward in modesty, decency, and morals. Our youths need to be well fed with wisdom. To prevent them from falling into the dungeon of regret. Yoruba believes in excessive intimacy. This makes them stand the risk of adventure at the expense of the priceless dignity of their wards. The costly mistake Gbanjubola, Morenike’s mother, and Gbadebo, her father had committed for gazing at Chief Komolafe as a common innocent fellow.

Morenikeji is a morally-guided child, though, but grows up to find herself amidst hooting and hovering hawks and ferocious pythons. Animals clothed in human flesh! A devilish character is portrayed in chief Komolafe who happens to be a childhood friend of Gbadebo. “The enemy lurks in the courtyard, the evildoer lives within the home”. Despite the kinship tie between Gbadebo and Komolafe, it is such a dramatic irony to have found the traitorous  Chief Komolafe forcefully gained the canal knowledge of Morenike. No one can be trusted! 


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“If one’s neighbor is gnawing a poisonous ant and one fails to engage them, the whole house suffers the tribulation”. This common proverb depicts the enthusiasm of Mr. Owolabi to have suggested employing a home tutor for Tayo to make his hands full that there wouldn’t be ample room for mischief. His guardianship role to have decreed an immediate trip to his barber’s shop in Mokola upon noticing indecency in Tayo. Collective responsibility is also evident in the story. And the unceasing report on Tayo’s immoral acts by Mama Ejiwunmi and Aunty Adunni also illustrated their exemplary character. 

Despite the credibility of the novel, in the end, analyses, the denouement was not left out unfelt. The world would have been a more worthwhile land to dwell in if everyone could learn the principle of less destructive and injurious anger with a highly facilitated forgiving spirit. The author in her creation allows for the manifestation of what the religion preaches.


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Whether Christianity, Islam, or the traditional, the indisputable fact is that no religion supports the death of a sinner so far as he/she repents. If otherwise, legal redress would have been sought against the traitorous chief Komolafe for his sacrilegious deed though without strong evidence. Or better still, as in the Yoruba community, the spiritual attack could be invoked on him.  While Bros T. would undoubtedly be put to trial for juvenile delinquency. Instead, their plead were both considered respectively. 

Alas! The novel closes with laughter and happiness filling the entire atmosphere. Morayo was blessedly married to Kachi, her boyfriend from her late memory of secondary school days. Fulfillment of destiny indeed! “One does not quit when one has not reached his domain”. As all her courtship along the way did not materialize. The death of Morenike climaxes into purgation. 


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One major criticism against the novel is the circumstances that culminate in the death of Morenike. The death of the poor girl leaves much to be desired as it is only one of the very few blemishes that soil the face of the white-looking text.

However, other characters in the novel such as Bambo popularly called Bembe, Tomi, Mrs. Adigun, Gbayi’, Dotun, etc., contribute immensely to the development of the plot, and the reality of the world around the protagonist.

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