Burnt Stew

Hello Story Tellers! Welcome to another installment of the Parent Project. Tell me, how many times were you beaten as a child? In what variety of ways? Was it with normal cane or koboko rubbed with pepper? Today, we have Adaeze telling us about her only memory of a childhood beating. Sit back, relax and enjoy the read. Who knows, it might jog your memory too.




Like a lamb being led to the slaughterhouse, I came out meekly. I had been waiting for this. And to be honest, till today, I’m still not sure which pain was more excruciating, the waiting or the actual beating.

I knew I was dead. Mother never called me by my full name, and with such vehemence, unless I had ‘committed’, and was about to be dealt with accordingly. It was always, “Ada m” or “The girl”. Never Adaeze.

I think I was about 10 years old. We had gone to church that fateful Sunday morning. And as it was with most Pentecostal churches of those days, everyone was hungry and tired by the time the pastor decided to have mercy on us and end the service.

For some reason that I don’t recall quite clearly, my parents had dropped my brothers and I at home and mother had left me with instructions to warm the very last bit of stew we had left, so we could have the usual Sunday-Sunday rice and stew for lunch. They had to go somewhere for a quick errand or something.

Just recently, mother had bought us a new video game that was in vogue at the time. I don’t think we’d had it for up to a week. So we still had the video game fever.

Ada put the small pot of stew on the stove, and instead of staying with it until it was done, Ada went to the living room to play Mortal Kombat (abi was it Super Contra) with the boys

*laughs bitterly*

Ten minutes. Ten heavenly minutes of discipline was all I needed, and I would not be telling this story today. Of course, the devil being the wicked man that he is, (yes please, allow me to blame it on the devil) the next time Ada was reminded of the stew she was supposed to be heating up, it was by a very strong scent of burnt stew coming from the kitchen. Hahahaha. Hahaha. Haha. Ha. Cry with me, people.

Do I need to finish this story?

Let me sha just finish it.

Men and brethren, the beating was epic. Mother entered the house and was greeted by the smell of burnt stew.  I remember shoes, a broom, some wooden thing that was used to prop open the door that led from the living room to the balcony, the cover of the pot of burnt stew, of course her hands and legs… these are the ones I remember. No cane. And we weren’t even lacking canes in my house. They were properly arranged behind the door that led from the living room to the hallway. But my mother must have thought “Ain’t nobody gat time fo’ dat.”

That was not the first time I had been beaten by my mother. Neither was it the last time.
But I knew this beating was going to be different. And I wasn’t wrong. I don’t even remember where my dad was at the time all this was going on. I know he sha wasn’t nearby; else I would have suffered a reduced sentence. But no, I remember mother beat me until she was exhausted. So father must not have been around.

No, how is it that out of all the beatings I received from my mum during my beatable-age-window, I don’t recall one, not a single episode, as I do this one? The magic element that fueled this one had to be the hunger. The righteous anger of a hungry Nigerian mother is a fearful thing to face.

I love you, mum.


Full Stop


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