I remember my first contact with the novel ‘Purple Hibiscus’ in secondary school. I was excited to delve in and start reading for three major reasons. Firstly, I had gone through a lot to get the original hard copy text. Secondly, it was our recommended text for that term and lastly, I love stories, in all forms that they come.
Beyond my love for the storyline, I could easily relate with each character, appreciate their strengths, empathize with them and understand the rationale for the actions they took. Here are a few lessons learned from my experience with the book.
My Identity Never Changes
Purple Hibiscus taught me that my identity as an African never changes. Religion, education and other foreign elements have been tailored to pattern African traditions and practice as diabolic and evil. This is not the truth. However, as a study of our cultures shows a deep understanding and appreciation of Art, Science and the interplay of several important values ranging from respect for elders to hard work, mutual respect for all, amongst others. In fact, a proper love, appreciation and acknowledgement of our identity as Africans will most likely map the beginning of our recognition and growth globally. Aunty Ifeoma understood this very well and it influenced her attitude towards her father as well as her cultural appreciation. Africa is a brand; the Nigerian Culture is a trademark and I’m proud to associate myself with it.
Defiance Can be Good
Looking through the character of Jaja, I realised that at certain points in time, learning to take a firm stand is important especially when in situations that threaten my peace and health. So, as ladies do not stay in toxic relationships; whether work, romantic or even platonic. If you’re not treated well in that relationship, please leave. “A ship is supposed to have a destination /take you somewhere so if that relationSHIP is not taking you somewhere positive, abandon ship”.
Effects of Domestic Violence
The major type of domestic violence known is physical abuse. Beyond the physical abuse suffered by Mama at the hands of Papa, she was emotionally abused. She was put in a position where she couldn’t speak up, couldn’t see a way out of the life she lived. She would be abused physically and yet be unable to defend herself. At the end of a book, Mama killed Papa. Domestic violence is a major problem that a lot of women face in the world today. The sad part is that instead of speaking up and taking action, we have been forced to accept the situation or worse, make excuses for the perpetrator. I strongly believe that any form of abuse is wrong and once committed should be reported. In the event where you don’t want to report or make it public, please leave and avoid the perpetrator.
Hard Work is Key
My final lesson, for now, is on the importance of hard work and diligence. A positive trait that Papa exhibited was his dedication to his work and tenacity. This enabled him to amass wealth and be financially stable even when the economy wasn’t exactly stable. Although he had many factories (Diversification), he was successful in all of them.
In application today, Nigeria seems to be having a downtime economically but beyond finding work, learning skills to be an entrepreneur, hard work and diligence are still an important hallmark of success.
And in conclusion, please if you have not read the book Purple Hibiscus, get your copy as soon as you can, you won’t regret it.
NOTE: IF YOU SUFFER OR KNOW ANYONE WHO SUFFERS FROM DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, HELP IS AVAILABLE. CONTACT THE LAGOS STATE DOMESTIC AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE RESPONSE TEAM (DSVRT) VIA:08137960048.