Someone asked why I did not talk about Delta Steel Company (DSC), in my last post.
Well, erm, in the Warri that I speak of, DSC had no place. DSC was a late entrant in the economy of Warri. It came riding on the success built by Shell and NNPC and the other oil exploration and servicing firms. DSC was a ‘80s company, and our story began in the seventies. Besides, it is doubtful if DSC had a direct impact on Okumagba Layout and environs, they were just too far away. Anyway, we will visit DSC soon.
Today, I want to make a slight detour and talk about the Warri mother.
The closest I have seen to the typical Warri mother is the character in AY’s movie that played the role of Ramsey Noah’s mother in “30 days in Atlanta.” The Warri mother is special. Strong, fearless, bold, sometimes very loud. Mostly cynical, and never ever lazy.
Oh, there were exceptions of course. There were some gossipy women who would never mind their business! Like our neighbor who was always shouting at me through the living room windows because I would lock the doors whenever our baby was crying.
The typical Warri woman feared nothing, not even armed robbers.
I recall my Aunt, Mama C and the incident with the armed robbers in 1978. Mama C was an accomplished woman in every sense of the word, and she was strict like the typical Warri mother.
She brooked no nonsense. And C was as stubborn as the typical Warri boy. He must have been about 10 years or so when this incident took place. On the night in question, robbers invaded the estate and were robbing from house to house. Then they came to Mama C’s house, but she would have none of it. They demanded money, and she said she did not have. Of course, they did not believe her. Everyone knew her as a wealthy woman but she was not moved by the repeated demands, and she was definitely not impressed by their weapons.
When it became apparent that the robbers would not leave empty handed, Mama C came up with an ingenious solution.
“I don tell una say I no get money, una no gree. Oya make una carry this pikin go take am do money, as e stubborn so im head suppose bring plenty money.”
And she was dead serious. The robbers burst into laughter. And they left. Without C.
That was an extreme case but very typical of the negotiating powers of the Warri woman. Nothing could defeat the spirit of the Warri mother; not armed robbers, and not stubborn little boys.