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Can the African woman dream as big as she wants?

by Franca Plange (@francafly)

I was sitting in a public transport to work one morning. A couple sat beside me with the husband carrying their newly born daughter. Wrapped in a white fury cloth, she slept soundly sucking on her thumb. Something happened really fast which escaped me but all I heard was the father of the girl pass a comment to the driver that he should drive carefully because on his lap was the future first lady of the country.

A few people in the bus confirmed the prophesy shouting big “Amens” and decreeing it in Jesus’ name. A lot of thoughts started going through my mind but I decided to keep it to myself because I didn’t want to sound and seem too controversial. After a few minutes, I reached my destination and just as I got down the couple with the baby also got down. (Call it a good coincidence)

I mustered courage and walked over to the man who was still carrying his daughter while his wife carried some bags. I said hello to them both and just bluntly the words came out of my mouth, “Sir, but why not president?” There was a big pause and in a very puzzled voice asked me what I meant. So I reminded him of the prophesy he made concerning his daughter’s future as a first lady and I asked him again, “why first lady and not president?”

I realized he was still quite confused so I probed further and asked him how his daughter was going to achieve that because as far as I am concerned, the position of a first lady is not one that is contested for. It hasn’t got any job specifications or qualifications except being the wife of a president. So in this case how was he going to bring his daughter up to become a first lady? Is he going to ensure that she ends up marrying a president or men with presidential ambitions by all means? Or has he got any plans to help his daughter achieve this “first lady” dream because these are the only means I know of becoming a first lady.

He looked at me for some time and said to me quietly, “you know what, I have never thought of it that way.” Then I said to him, well now that your mind has been brought to it, start telling it into her little yet- to – develop brain that it is possible to be the president instead of the first lady; because that is an actual dream. It is something you can learn and work towards achieving.

A lot of African parents now believe in the girl child education. However, there is still that trait of keeping the girl child in second field. As such in many mixed schools around, the boys are the main prefects and even though girls are allowed to contest in elections, they are always made assistants to the boys.

It is very obvious he wants to see his daughter as a very influential person in society but just like a lot of people, the thoughts of having a female president is unheard of, not even if it has to be his own daughter.

Many people believe and have accepted the fact that the girl child should also be allowed to dream, but the question is, “are we permitted to dream as big as we want to?” Don’t join the lot who are claiming that feminists are making too much noise because this encounter alone tells me that there is still room for improvement. There are still minds that need to be sensitized to believe that it is still possible to dream big, even as a woman.

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