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Sweet Taste of Shame

sweet taste
Sweet Taste of Shame is a play that examines the ostracisation and psychic oppression of teenage girls grappling with sexual predation and accidental pregnancy. It also interrogates, against the backdrop of social constructivism and societal reorientation, the weighty expectations of society on wome ...Read more
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Sweet Taste of Shame is a play that examines the ostracisation and psychic oppression of teenage girls grappling with sexual predation and accidental pregnancy. It also interrogates, against the backdrop of social constructivism and societal reorientation, the weighty expectations of society on women whose wombs are yet to bear children after years of marriage. Also, it critiques the pervasively corrupt pursuit of individual interests to the detriment of the common good.

While swinging a wrecking ball into the substructures of economic deprivation, cultural subjugation and societal discrimination, which debase and devalue African women in society, the play uses, as a rallying point, the lives of four benighted girls who have been forced on to the production line of an avaricious syndicate to bring the tyranny of baby factories to the front burner and reaffirm the sanctity of life and the dignity of the human person.

The play makes the case that the existence and perpetuation of baby factories in Nigeria, and indeed the rest of the world, is a conundrum which fractures the ethical skeleton of our society. This flourishing business, which is a form of human trafficking, is not only criminal but also degrading. Its operators take advantage of their most frequent victims: women and children. They capitalise on the reproductive challenge of the former and the vulnerability of the latter to negotiate a financial empire for themselves. They also exploit the shock transition from childhood to adulthood which teenage pregnancy imposes on its victims, thereby thrusting upon them adult responsibilities while they are still children. The abuse the girls experience is not just physical but also emotional and psychological.

Sweet Taste of Shame is a reaffirmation of the fact that the thread of humanity which binds us transcends our gender.The play is a testimony to the creative ingenuity, mental potency and steely resilience of African women in the face of the gravest of challenges. This is in stark contrast to the disheartening reality in certain climes where African women are often portrayed as passive victims who are always dependent on the men for reprieve; hence, relegating them to the backseat of national discourse, even in issues that directly affect the welfare and progress of women in society.

Since, in Nigeria and across Africa, there is a renewed awareness of the potency of theatre as a barometer of society and a vehicle for the promotion of social change, I hope that this piece – foregrounded on dialogue, research and experience – will help to increase the masses’ consciousness of the moral bomb society is sitting on, and then motivate all meaningful stakeholders to participate actively in stamping out the predatory menace of baby factories.

It is also my hope that this work will play a pivotal role in rallying and sustaining civic action against the sexualisation of female children and the sexist messaging which degrade womanhood in society.

Employed as a tool for development, this play can give form, order and expression to our collective struggles, existential realities and sociopolitical consciousness as Africans, and make us better appreciate and respond to the affliction of women and children in society.