To Bintin

Hi. How's it going? I like to say hi. It's as good a way as any to start any conversation.

So what's new in the world of Afam?

Well, Bintin's gone of to Uni. I'd say where but that'd be saying too much. If I do I'm quite sure that one of you will go and look for her, and I can't have that. My sister is a gem.

There was this one time we were ripping up the floor in Spice (a popular club in Lagos) and a lout came over to dance with her. Before he could get within five feet of her, I completely surrounded her with my brotherly mass. He tried to get around it, but I deflected his advances with aggressive brotherly twerking. I don't shake that way. My arse is quite solid. Years of cross country will do that to you. Plus, the sight of me attempting to twerk is actually revolting. I put him off. I was proud of myself. I would do worse things to deter anyone with a penis from getting within striking distance of her. I don't quite understand why a guy that looks like he's thirty would approach a girl that looks like she's ten, and dresses like a man repeller, but these things are beyond me.

The first time I realised that my sister was actually a girl was when I was 15. We were watching a movie, and there was a rape scene that involved a baseball bat. It was gruesome stuff. I turned to her and said something like, "If anyone tries to do that to you kill them before they get a chance. Don't let yourself be paralysed with fear, fight them off." Some of you will read that and insult me for it. You'll say something like it's her right to not be raped or something like that, and I agree in principle. You'll say that I should work on re-educating the guys her age that No is no, and too drunk to say yes isn't yes, and I agree with that too. You'll say that I'm setting her up to blame herself for something that she isn't responsible for and I agree. The thing is, when the conversation changes from a theoretical one to a practical one, I change sides immediately. I say don't go to that hotel room, apartment, bedroom, party, meeting, unless you're sure that he won't do anything you don't want. If you leave your drink unattended don't pick it up, it may not be the same as when you left it. Don't drink so much that you forget yourself. Hang with Abdul, I know where he lives, if something happens I can keep vigil outside his house. If anything happens I won't ask you why, and I won't say what if, and I won't tell you that you were stupid. The warnings and the guides are for the before. The after is a different matter altogether, and I'd much rather do the before.

It's a little bit funny, but it is what it is.

When I went to uni Mama Afam gave me 2 rules that I mostly lived by.

1. You're black, if she cries rape, they won't believe your side of things. I understood this. It happened to my uncle. It was not funny. The situation was resolved, but not before he was suspended from his job, and suffered the humiliation of an investigation. They later found out that she was psychotic. This happened. I'm not joking. Of course you can't blame someone who's ill for swearing that her surgeon was coming on to her with the subtlety of a dragon when he wasn't doing anything at all like that, but his life was fucked for a little bit all the same.

2. Do not fight. Do not fight in a club. If there is a fight sprint. Do not separate them. If you're caught in the middle of things, you will be deported. The one time there was a brawl I was close to being involved with, I sprinted home. Some of my friends were cuffed, when they got back to halls they asked me where I'd been. I laughed. Can you imagine me calling Papa Afam from prison? That's grounds for a disowning.

I suppose these muddled thoughts are my version of that.

Do well. Stay safe. Your safety is your responsibility. Eat well. Exercise. Manage your money properly. Save. Don't let dad forget the first of the month. Travel. Don't lend. If you lend, be ready to not get it back. Whatever happens there isn't the end of the world. Email when you need anything. Find yourself.

Happy Days,

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