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All writings and photographs by Ijeoma Umebinyuo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Phyno - Nme Nme

Ha na ekuoku, ha na eme eme
nwata were ezibo weight, that’s my fantasy

 Would have LOVED to see this video made in Enugu or some Eastern part of Nigeria. This is a serious Igbo song. Some serious atilogu dancers, some serious masqueraders and beautiful colorful outfits! I love Phyno’s music and this track is perfect for onwa december. LOVE LOVE LOVE this song!

P.S. I am sure we all know this was shot in beautiful South Africa, right? Right.

burntoceans: I came across 'Five Languages' just seconds ago and it blew me away. Your writing is remarkable! Keep up the good work ❤️

Love, thank you. 

Let me explain how i wrote that piece, asakiyume wrote “five languages” while trying to describe another poem. I kept thinking about that “five languages” till i just sat down to write that piece you just read, centered around the mistaken title, five languages. 

keep fighting for your peace
leave souls who do not
see or feel your light
plant beautiful wild untamed flowers
on every single part of your being they taunted
do not apologize for how
self-love drips off your skin
keep fighting for your peace
leave souls who do not
understand the miracle
of your beautiful existence.

I carried many storms with me. I have washed myself ashore, I have been my tide and lighthouse. Darling, this becoming me didn’t come easy. I have let my demons play. I have cursed God in three languages. Forgive me. I have peeled my flesh to reveal broken angels pressed onto my soul. I am my night and my sunshine. I have let my screams deafen me at night. In darkness, I swear I have seen the devil begging me to end it all. I have patched myself slowly, gone to war and won myself back. So, here I am. Here I am. I am not asking to be validated. Here I am. I am not asking to be protected. Here I am. I am not begging to be loved. I am here. I am here and that’s enough to be celebrated. That is enough. Darling, I am here. I am a glorious cause for celebration.


Ijeoma Umebinyuo.

(via theijeoma)

You come to steal our girls, a sharp scar runs across my homeland. You take our daughters and bring them as “violated” souls. You come to steal our girls, a sharp cry goes around the world and slowly….dies. You come to steal our daughters with skin the color of moonless nights. We will sink our teeth into your skin and demand our pound of flesh. Make no mistake. We will not forgive you. You have beaten our hearts into lifelessness and the taste of sadness has become our side dish for dinner.

there you were at thirteen
tracing back your age
to find truths you tried burying

two years back
the smell of the dark room

three years back
the sound of your siblings playing outside

four years back
he said, “do not tell anyone. No one will believe you”

four years back
your mother asking why you hurt so much
you quietly swallow the truth

he offered you darkness

at twenty-two
he touched you, you flinched

at twenty-five
he asked,
“so, how come you’ve never had sex or even a boyfriend?”
your response
should have been

because a child given darkness as a gift
cannot comprehend how to let the sun in
without thinking, it would take from her again.

thirteen years old
she held your hand
“what will people say? They wouldn’t believe me”

and you wish you had told her
sitting there, how you were also offered darkness.


Ijeoma Umebinyuo

(via theijeoma)

We need more discussions on mental health and abuse in Nigeria because at fifteen years old, an SS2 student who was held at gunpoint and raped should have a safe environment for her to go. Her safest place should not only be in the arms of her fellow classmate, crying in the middle of an empty classroom. We need more help for survivors because shame should not be a part of the skin given to survivors of such assault. We need it because a teacher shouldn’t openly and without remorse sleep with his student, where we claim it as the fifteen year old being so “loose” and saying in the same sentence how it is never the teacher’s fault. We need it because we have labelled it a taboo but don’t tell me that when four young Nigerian women are gathered and three have been offered darkness. We need it because my friend called me saying in anger something is wrong with the mentality of some men who actually argue with him about rape not being rape, that a woman who dresses a certain way, “deserves” to be raped. We need more discussions on mental health because the pains of survivors cannot be prayed out. Yes, not everything can be taken to Jesus in prayer. We need more discussions and resources for survivors because a housemaid who was raped by her Oga should not be spoken to and treated like she is less then a human being. We need it for all socio-economic levels of society. We need harsher prosecution for those who offer darkness, who try tearing others apart, who try devaluing another being due to their selfish needs.

break you apart,
they will find a
sobbing child
undisclosed locations
of your body

but, tell me, how many times have you forced yourself  into adulthood?

Ijeoma Umebinyuo

(via theijeoma)

(via theijeoma)

You carry six* languages in your tongue

The first you learnt at eight
When he called you away from your siblings
And taught you why some men
Who smile at little girls
Make you uncomfortable
You painfully learnt the secret language of mistrust.

The second language you learnt
At ten years old
When your uncle said
“You will never be
as beautiful as your light skinned sister”
you heard your mother cry
Five years later,
As you begged her
To make your skin
Just a little lighter
For you have learnt the language of self-hate.

The third language you learnt
When you saw your auntie
Go back to her husband
The one Umuada chastised
For hitting her
She told you
“A woman is nothing without a man”
Her eyes gathering tears
And you learnt
The language of helplessness.

The fourth language you learnt
When he kissed you at twenty
And you flinched
He asked,
“What are you scared of.”
You didn’t tell him how
Fluent your tongue is
With the language of mistrust
“You are a virgin”
He asked
And you saw the glee in his eyes
That moment,
You learnt another language
The language of power.

The fifth language you learnt
At twenty five
When your friends
Brought you offerings of darkness
And you painfully peeled your skin
To reveal another being
The language of change.

Five* languages

Ijeoma Umebinyuo

(via theijeoma)

So many nights I have heard God crying in the corner of my room, screaming for me to live. God says, “someone show her a mirror! Someone show her a mirror!” as I watch God weave a blanket to cover my tired heart.


Somewhere around your fingers I find Timbuktu. There. Your blood still speaks in your grandfathers languages even when you break your tongue in French. You speak in broken peace and I hear wars in your voice but they never told me I could find salt water in your eyes.