A Letter to Wale.
Do you know the reason behind your name? No? Of course, you know there is a reason behind you bearing Wale. Africans names are always known for their indepth meaning and source. If you see a girl bearing, Togunleyi, run away. The name mean ‘This belongs to Ogun.’ Abi, you want to be competing with the god of iron? I tell you you will receive your reward in heaven. Dear sisters, if you see a handsome guy bearing Mimi, please ask for the full meaning. Don’t just follow him to Fivers and pop champagne. For who knows, the full meaning might be Tesunimi. Chill, it could also mean Tijesunimi. But whichever, ask first, please.
Sorry, for the digression, Wale. Now, how would you feel if a woman walked into your room on your wedding day and said, ‘Your name is not Wale. Your name is Alani. You are my son.’ How could you feel? Of course, you would first look around to check whether Emmanuella and her crew are not acting a comedy skit with you. But when it’s obvious that they are not, you begin to wonder, ‘My name is not Wale? Really?’ And then if you are brave like me, you will run to your mother’s room and demand the fruit, threatening her with suicide. And what mother wants her son to be seen hanging on a rope by the church fan? So, sh quickly tells you to calm down that she will tell you everything. So you calm down and she sprawls on the floor and start crying. Then you bend down, console her and dry her tears. In the end, you will realize she did not answer your question.
Forgive me, I distress again. Now to the main point, do you know the meaning behind your name? What if I tell you now that your name is not Wale, that your name is Ajani? And that the mother you are with now is not your mother? What if? Well, that is the truth. Wale, Wale is not your name.
Now to my first question, do you know the reason behind your name? Do you know why you are called Wale? Of course people don’t just wake up and name their sons Wale. There must be a reason. Do you even know the full meaning of your name? If the full meaning of your name was Olawale, which means Wealth comes home, I would not have written this letter. If it was Adewale, I would not have written this. But you have a strange name, Wale. You have a strange name. Your name is Omo-wale. It means, Child, come home. It is an appeal. It’s not a normal name, Wale and there is a reason why you bear that name. And am going to tell you all about it. Am going to tell you now.
Wale is not your name, my friend. Your name is Alani. I know now you’re thinking, ‘Who’s this monster who wants to shatter my life with a fake letter?’ Chill, I won’t tell you am not a monster. Abi, do suspects stand in the courts and tell the judge they are innocent? No, they have to prove it – through their defence attorney. So I leave your to decide whether I am or am not when you are done reading. But your name is not Wale.
It so happened that while you were a small boy, you disappeared. It was the last day of the tenth month – the day of the dead. And as you might know, no one wwanders about on the day of the dead. But you did, Alani. You left your mothers hut that cold night and disappeared. Only you and perhaps, the person who took you know where you went that night. You ask, how come we are still seeking you when the dead could have taken you for disrupting their day. The thing is, you were not taken. We have spoken to the necromancer and he has confirmed that you are not with the dead. And when one is not dead, then he must be alive. There is no fence. And so that is why we still seek you, because we know you are not dead.
The night you disappeared, no one knew. Your poor mother was crying bitterly because your philandering father was servicing the girl next door. The same girl in whose room he was later found dead two weeks later. Yes, Alani, your father is dead.
It was not until the next morning that we discovered that a boy was missing. Immediately, the whole town set oout to search for their lost son. We searched for days, weeks but we could not find you. It was then that we decided to visit the necromancer again. We did visit him and he spoke with his people. Then a ritual was decided as the only way to call you back home. And what was the ritual? For hundred days, you mother was the walk tthrough the whole town AY midnight, crying ‘Alani Wale!’ Which means Alani, come home.
It was this hundred days cry that turned your mother to Mama Wale. It’s been ten years now and still your mother is crying. Still she does not eat. She does not drink. She does not slumber. No one remembers you once bore the name Alani. You are now being referred to as Wale whenever you’re being talked about.
Perhaps you are wondering, how did I get your address? If I knew your address why didn’t I just come over and get you? Why did I wait for ten years before I sent my letter? I will answer all your questions.
First, I do not know. I do not know your address and am not the one to send this letter. After writing, I will hand this over to the necromancer and he will see to it that it gets to you. He too does not know your location. But death knows all things even though he is always silent.
Why didn’t I send you this letter all this while? Why wait for ten years? Because for the past ten years, even though you may not know, you have been under a curse. You were taken when you were eight. You were of fragile then, vulnerable. But now you are eighteen and at eighteen, every curse breaks, every enchantment becomes powerless. Yes, the necromancer has assured me that you are now safe and can think for yourself. Had I sent this a year before, you would have handed it to your captor due to the curse you were under. So now, now that you are a man, is the right time. Have I answered your question?
Wale (I guess that’s what you are called there.), come home. I know by now you might not remember so many things. You might be asking yourself, is this for real? Yes, it is. It’s been ten years now. Your father is dead. Your mother will soon go if you do not turn up. We are waiting for you Wale. Home is where the heart belongs. According to the necromancer, you will find this letter in your pocket this night. Leave there tomorrow morning. Tell no one. You will find an address in the letter and how to go about it. Read the address and let it sink because it will fade after reading it.
It’s been ten years, Wale and Alani. Whatever it is they call you now, come home.