Aishetu by Paul Ugah

The Poem 


You walk in beauty
Like African queen
In her Queendom
At home you're Aishetu
Unlike others you refused to
Adopt campus names such as
Paula, Sandra, Juliet, Frances
Unlike others you refused to
Expose your erogenous zones
You shunned skimpy skirts
Because there is no mileage in it
You're original!

Our girls in quest of passing beauty
Have turned themselves into shadows:
Dark complexion is fair completion
Shadows! Shadows! Shadows girls on
Our campuses
Their real selves are buried beneath
Their fading beauties.

Cover us with the heart of African's love
That we may take shelter in it
Listen! Listen to the soothing
Voice of Africa calling
A- I- S - H - E -T -U
In acknowledgement of your beauty
And originality.

The Story 

I came across a lady from my village in Benue State whose name is/was Ochanya. Ochanya means Queen of Women in Idoma language. On that faithful day, she was dressed in a mini skirt walking along with some of her coursmate. I called her, but she pain me no attention. I kept calling until one of her friends turned and I gestured to her to call her friend for me, pointing at Ochanya. The friend now said, "Paula, someone is talking to you". Paula? I was perplexed. Ochanya turned, looked at me and stopped. I walked to where she stopped after we exchanged greetings. She said that nobody on campus knows her as Ochanya. I asked her how she came about the name Paula. She laughed and walked away. 

I came across a Hausa lady called Aishetu, a few days later. She was dressed in a modest African way with her natural beauty in dark complexion.  I observed other ladies and discovered that most of them who exposed sensitive parts of their body adopted English names with meanings they know not. I also discovered that they do that to hide from their tribal persons who might identify their tribe through their names and scold them of their misbehavior on campus. So Aishetu is a symbolism for the well behaved girls in terms of dressing and attitude across the higher institutions. That is what moved me to write the poem "Aishetu". 


The Poet 

Paul Ugah is a broadcast journalist,   publisher, editor, an award winning Author and staff of Brothers FM, Makurdi. He is a former Auditor of Nigeria Union of Journalists ( NUJ), Benue State Council. Ugah is the immediate past Chairman, Benue State Chapter of the Association of Nigerian Authors ( ANA). His major published works include What Goes Around (Children story book, 2013), Voice of Africa (a collection of poems, 2014) and the widely  acclaimed Midnight Cry ( a collection of short stories, 2016), The Holiday Camp (2021). He also co-edited Season of Laurels and Thrills  ( an anthology of poems and short stories, 2020) and Fete of Letters in Honour of Tyotom Keghku ( an anthology of poems, Short Stories and Essays. His poems and book reviews are published in several anthologies and dailies. Ugah's publishing company (Chapuga Publishers) has published about forty books across diverse academic fields.

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