Friday, 31 July 2009

See Who's Behind This?

By Mabi Azefor Fominyen,

On my way from work, a well dressed woman approached me demanding for money to feed herself and her twin daughters. The children stood close to their mother, both of them shabbily dressed. As she put it, they" hadn't eaten since morning" translated from Wolof. I felt sorry for them and decided to give her a token so she could buy some food to eat and share with her children.

Upon opening my bag I noticed both children, who until then hadn't opened their eyes thus making me think they were suffering from some kind of eye problem, suddenly opened their eyes and quickly stretched out their bowls for me to drop in the money. At that point, the woman(their supposed mother) pushed them aside instructing them to close their eyes. She even used her hands to forcefully close their eyes. Unhappy with the lady, one of the children screamed saying she was going to inform her mother once she returned to her home.

Did I hear her well? I sure did hear her well!

But that sounded a bit tricky and aroused my curiosity thus I started asking questions.

And so it turned out that the woman was not the biological mother of the twin daughters. On the contrary, she had "hired " both children to go out begging throughout the week. While on the street, she claimed she and "her children" were so poor and hungry.
What a thing to do!

To say the least, I was shocked by that incident. Not by the fact that people would go begging on the streets but at what length some people would go to exploit children, evoke pity only to extort money from others.

On the occasion of the 47 edition of the African Women's Day(celebrated on July 31),discussions and activities in some parts of Africa focused on putting an end to the different forms of exploitation that women and girls suffer from. Many forms of exploitation exist today and include: physical, psychological, sexual, financial to name but those!

The consequences of such are many, causing enormous suffering, pain, regret, and even deaths. Unfortunately, some individuals and many communities continue to exploit women and girls, despite the numerous challenges some women and girls face, on a daily bases.

So who's behind this?

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Go and Rest Auntie, Becky Ndive We Will Miss You!

Written by Mabi Azefor Fominyen

I barely dried my tears following Michael Jackson's death only to learn about Becky Ndive's passing on!


So I thought: what a cruel world we live in ! Is it so cruel that some "STARS "can no longer bear but pass on to a world beyond? Otherwise, how can Auntie Becky ( like she was fondly called) die when she was always so full of life?

She would weep for others and sympathise with many!
She would visit you if you were sick!
She would cheer you up if you were feeling low!
She would joke even when no one expected her to.

She would tell you to 'keep up the good work and be there for listeners and viewers'
She would make you feel proud of yourself in a 'house' where others hardly did same!

She was such a warm person in an environment where such charateristics were lacking. When I was appointed deputy service head in-charge of coordinating CRTV's provincial radio progammes and sent to work at CRTV's National Station (2005), Auntie Becky opened her arms and heart to welcome me. I presented Luncheon date, a CRTV national radio magazine programme which Auntie Becky Ndive used to coordinate to great acclaim.

She joined me in the studio on many ocassions to present 'LIVING WITH AIDS' - a regular health feature she produced and presented every Wednesday on "Luncheon Date". Whenever she came into the studio I was most humbled by how much she gave to satisfy the listeners .

She often had very kind words for her younger colleagues and would urge us not to relent. Like she once told me " I di come go retirement so wona need for continue the work".

She was full of concern. She would call me after broadcasts of the CRTV television breakfast show - 'HELLO' - to give me feedback. One day she told me ' You make me not to leave my house early in the morning because I have to stay and watch TV until you are done with the programme".

She had a style and knew so well how to touch her listeners and viewers! I remember on one edition of the Wake Up Show on CRTV National Station, the sportscaster told a story about one of Cameroon's footballers buying a number of motor-bikes for youths of the under-privileged neighbourghood in which he grew up on the condition that they report each with 1000 FCFA daily to his mother. "Ma mami eh who give dat kind money, na dey Becky don rich!,"Auntie Becky exclaimed (almost instinctively). That was her style!

She was fun to talk to! She had the kind of voice you would love to listen to!

I last spoke to Auntie Becky in early May 2009. I had called to say ' thank you auntie for the love, care and support shown me and my family' . But she responded to my telephone call from a hospital bed. Saddened, I told her I wished I were home to pay her a visit but she said (softly) 'go my daughter , I miss watching you on TV and getting you on the radio but I understand you had to move on, take care of yourself and the family '.

I have tears rolling down my cheeks as I look back. How can I hold back the tears?

Not when I think of how you used to call me 'your daughter and daughter in law ' and refer to my hubby as your 'son' ?

Not when I think of how you were a source of inspiration to my daughter when she was called up to be 'The Moderator' of a debate presented by the nursery section of her school! She still remembers meeting and talking to you about that debate.

How can I forget that you loved 'THE DEBATE' on CRTV and continued to handle it even when it was "retirement time"? What a legacy!

How can I forget your passion for women and gender issues? A passion we both shared. You were not just a journalist and a senior colleague. You were much more.

How can I forget the pleasant surprises you often had for me? Like the lovely gift you brought back from the UK. You said it was to keep your son's wife "sparkling" on TV and that is how "Bakweris take care of their wives!".

Go Auntie! Go and finally get some rest!

But we will miss you sorely.