That fateful day, Mama Seun woke up in the morning at 4a.m as it was her daily routine. She got on her knees and prayed for the day sales. She hoped dearly that the day’s sale would be good enough to enable pay all her debts.
At around 4:25a.m, she got her rather old & shortened broom and began sweeping. She began with the verandah as she didn’t want to wake Seun who was already fast asleep. It had taken a great deal of effort trying to persuade him to sleep. He had eaten only akara and pap the previous morning and sadly that was all he had till that morning.
At around 6:15, Seun and his mother made their way to the market where Mama Seun sold her fresh tomatoes.
Mama Seun had this frown on her face. This was unlike the Mama Seun everyone at Irabo market was familiar with. She always had this smile on her face, that one way or the other comforted anyone around her, but this morning she had had a scuffle with Seun. He had bluntly refused going to the market with her. She had dragged him along a great distance from home before he grew weary and just followed holding his tummy tight.
“I have already said that if we work hard enough today, I will cook your special meal. Please don’t make this harder than it already is”. She pleaded with her 12 year old son whom was rather half mindedly walking alongside her.
Mama Seun couldn’t help but notice Mama Ronke’s stand. People had been trooping in since morning. She envied her. It was no news however how she managed to be that successful; word got around that she used “Black Magic” to bring customers to her. Either way, whatever she did was working for her.
“Mtchew” she hissed as she sighted her almost spoilt market. She was still soloquising when a woman whose face she wasn’t familiar with ran into her stand. The woman had streaks of sweat on her face & was breathing heavily.
With the way the woman approached her, Mama Seun jumped up immediately knocking her market over.
“Kiloshele” She interrogated in her dialect.
“Seun” The woman said amidst tears.
“Ehen” Mama Seun continued as if she didn’t want the woman to continue.
“They have killed him o” The woman began to cry loudly now.
Mama Seun looked around now, everyone & everything had stopped to watch the drama.
Mama Seun’s heart literally stopped beating awhile.
The woman continued as Mama Seun made way to run. “They said he stole bread”. Now, Mama Seun ran. She ran as fast as her legs could carry her. She was familiar with the area where people who stole were lynched, so she needed no direction.
The sight of Seun burning tore a poor widow apart. Her only child! The heir to the throne in her heart was on fire! He was groaning in pain. Screaming to passerbys & his crucifiers. “I won’t do it again. I was hungry!” That was all Mama Seun could hear.
Without thinking, she jumped into the crowed, removed her wrapper and laid on her son, the wrapper succeeded in quenching a bit of the fire before a firm hand dragged her out & more petrol was poured on the already burnt body.
“Aaaah!” Mama Seun screamed. “E kpa mi“. She was not far from the truth with those words. They had killed her.
Mama Seun’s eyes grew dim. Her fragile her began to bleed inwardly as she watched her 12 year old son burn & grow stiff. She couldn’t save him. No one could!
She watched as people took pictures. “Ah!” Heartless!
When it was obvious that Seun had stopped fighting, people started leaving, one after the other, chatting away & operating their phones along.
They had no idea that they not only killed a boy, they had taken a mothers joy and ended an entire generation. Maybe they did!
Mama Seun fell to the ground wailing, “Help me with water” she kept crying out.
How she wished that Seun would get up, at that point she didn’t mind breastfeeding him just to soothe his tummy. She kept screaming but no one turned to help, no one bothered to listen, why would they?
Seun wasn’t theirs!