LEAVING HOME

LEAVING HOME

According to the unspoken culture in our country, it is not considered proper for a woman to move out before she weds, even if she is well into her late twenties or early thirties. These days, many guys are also reluctant to leave the comfort of their father’s house for bachelorhood. So what you eventually have are unions between two individuals who have never had to run a home before, coming together and expecting instant success. However, this is not an article about marriage and hopefully, it won’t be a rant about the injustice of having to remain in the home of one’s parents long after one is ready to leave. Rather the goal of this article is to examine the reasons why women, and sometimes men, remain in their parents’ houses until the very last moment.

  1. Rent: In reality, Nigeria, at least the Nigeria I am familiar with, is not designed for the single individual, nor is it really designed for ‘He Who Has Not Yet Made It’. It’s rare to find studio apartments – which are frankly the best apartments for the young and the single. And then the prices of these apartments are high, plus some of them want as much as a two-year deposit before handing over the key.
  1. Social Stigma: It’s not just our parents; many of the younger generations also do not trust the motives of a woman who wants to live alone. What else could she want her independence for, except to use it to invite strange men to her apartment at night? And so, without doing anything, the woman with her own home is left having to fight a stereotype she has done nothing to earn.
  1. Marriage: Marriage is the reason many of you have not moved out yet. After all, why put a down payment on a place when you will have to start again once he proposes? Better to save that money. Men generally wait till they can afford a place for a family to expand – a two/three bedroom house, so that when they are ready to marry, the home is already settled.
  1. Security: Sadly, people still experience burglaries and other such tragedies. Because of this, it is not considered safe for a woman to live by herself. Even if she is well armed with pepper spray and regularly goes for her taijutsu classes.
  1. Tradition: Last, but by no means least, we have tradition. When a woman marries, she is taken from her father’s house and handed over to her husband’s family. So your parents already have their minds made up about how you will leave their house. Try it any other way and you will meet a wall of disapproval and confusion.

Though these reasons are few, they are weighty in their seriousness and they are not easy to ignore. Is there room for change, or are these factors going to continue to keep adults from forging their own paths and moving out?

 

Image: www.irinjalakuda.co.in


Oyinkan Braithwaite is a graduate of Creative Writing and Law from Kingston University. Following her degree, she worked as an assistant editor at Kachifo and has been freelancing as a writer and editor since. She has had short stories published in anthologies and has also self published work. In 2014, she was shortlisted as a top ten spoken word artist in the Eko Poetry Slam.

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