In this city of tarnished angels and yellow buses, money is a queen that everyone must bow to. Those who refuse to throw flowers at her feet are reminded cruelly that to be a Lagosian is to be in tandem with bus conductors who pay homage to the Jagabans of Bourdillon. to be in tandem with the Jagabans who lay a path for petrol station lines that stretch on for days.
In this city of tarnished angels and rusted roofs that speak of trickling fear when the clouds go grey, Fadilah, a single mother wakes up while it is yet dawn.
With a scarf woven across her head, she salutes Mecca. calling on Allah to ensure that her customers at Obalende buy her fruit salads and bananas. praying too that her POS machine does not fail her just in case someone needs urgent cash.
In this city where money is a queen that everyone must throw flowers at her feet, feeding the workers on their way to Falomo and Awolowo road is Fadilah’s only redemption and hope.
The women who come to her for bananas dressed in silk trousers and chiffon blouses are what propel her each morning, and are what ensure Fadilah tells her seven-year-old daughter to keep her chin up.
Fadilah, the woman who was only educated at the primary level and escaped an abusive husband in Jos, wakes up each morning and wades her way to Obalende to chart a path for her daughter. A path where there is no sitting in the sun for hours.
but for now, these bananas, groundnuts and fruits are their path to a better life.
So in this city of tarnished angels and rusted roofs, Fadilah wakes at the call of the muezzin, salutes Mecca with a scarf around her head and trudges on to Obalende to pay homage to the queen that shall permit her daughter to dream.
Angel Nduka-Nwosu is a writer, editor, and journalist. Her work has appeared in Gumbo Media, HOLAAfrica, Ake Review, Random Photo Journal, YNaija, and Document Women, to name a few. Her poem “Benediction” was part of the Top 100 Poems for the 2017 Poets in Nigeria Undergraduate Prize. An ardent feminist, she is the founder of The Emecheta Collective, a safe space and accountability network primarily for women in writing, research, and content creation. She is also the creator of the #SayHerNameNigeria hashtag, which aims to speak on the gendered angles of police brutality in Nigeria. Angel has judged literary prizes, most notably the Kito Diaries in 2021 and The Sprinng Women Authors Prize in 2022. The winner of The Nigerian Teen Choice 2017 award for Spoken Word Poetry, she writes from Lagos, Nigeria. Catch her on all socials @asangelwassayin