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THE OSWALD HANCILES COLUMN

Freed Mohamed Gibril Sesay…Lights  Freedom’s Flame for Salone

August 12, 2015

“…I tell you my heart is rude, my heart feel things about people that my mouth is afraid to say… My mouth is a bully, a warden of my imprisoned heart.  Freedom fighters free hearts, they pull them out of rib-cages with iron-extensions…One day, my mouth will overthrow my heart (sometimes I’m an idealist communist). I yearn for the day when this comprador mouth will be overthrown… Yes, sometimes my heart fools my mouth into saying things it is ashamed of .…” – Page 32 in the 2015-published book,  ‘This Side of Nothingness’, by Dr. Mohamed Gibril Sesay, (Publishers: Sierra Leonean Writers Series & Karantha Publishers – ISBN: 978-99910-921-7-1)

Read several times that excerpt above from the book of the sociology professor at FBC, University of Sierra Leone, Dr. Mohamed Gibril Sesay -‘This Side of Nothingness’. The day has finally come for him!!! Through the protagonist in his book his mouth has been overthrown; freed!! And Gibril does what Freedom Fighters do: “….Freedom fighters free hearts, they pull them out of rib-cages with iron-extensions…”  Last week, I published here Gibril writing on “God” in his book – as perceived by mainly Salone’s Christians and Muslims.   Now, I take another theme in Gibril’s provocative book: Salone sexuality. I have never read an African writer who has gone into such details of sexuality as Gibril. Gibril is comparable to late ‘50s/1960s  US  iconic writer, Norman Mailer (In  his 1959 book, Advertisements for Myself, Mailer wrote that The sour truth is that I am imprisoned with a perception which will settle for nothing less than making a revolution in the consciousness of our time..”); and the ultimate American sex brand, Masters and Johnson; writer Thomas Maier pointed out one of their epochal discoveries after clinical and personal-experimental research: Instead of the male being the more powerful of the sexes, what they were clinically showing was that women actually had a greater capacity for sex,…They found out that older people can enjoy sex.”

There has to be a PURPOSE in the highly cerebral Gibril turning the spotlight on the fetid and sordid dark corners of our sexuality in Sierra Leone, especially in Freetown – and it could not be for luridness alone.  Some of the shocking sexual details in Gibril’s book…

Gibril’s book could be banned in Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe

Read these lines: “…Mine were … wet rags of nightmare that shamed my soul. My penis hanged out like a dog’s newly separated from his bitch. My nightly bitch had the voice of the orange-selling woman I was licking (which in our area slang also means ‘screwing’) but the body of a tortoise. I put my thing inside the tortoises’ anus. My penis?…” (Page 4)  What? The tortoise’s “anus”?!!  Smacks of that ‘sexual act’ which Zimbabwe’s president, Robert Mugabe, denounces as un-African, reprehensible, even, demonic – but, which US’s President Barrack Obama finds acceptable, though Obama himself has half his genes being African.  Relax!! The paragraph in the book is about  a ‘nightmare’. Phew!!

Males now compete with females in the oldest known profession

While Gibril takes us on a lecherous rollercoaster ride, we are jarred by another unthinkable: “Salifu fishes for success with his hook. In the tourist season Salifu walks the tourist beaches nude. Salifu is a beach boy, a handsome muscular male prostitute with a pus-spitting phallus.  I see visions of sick women mistaking the pus for elixir. They are in queue, orderly, bare buttocks; pubic parts becoming public parts…” Even as we lap at the poetic tempo of his “pubic parts become public parts” we know that that sentence is not disguised within a nightmare! Male prostitution could be rearing its head in Sierra Leone – long sexually conservative in exploiting the commerciality of their sexuality, males are finally trying to compete with females in the oldest known profession among humanity.

‘ Sometimes in the fusion of our pleasures, we excrete feces of joy’….”

Centuries old sexual tradition among all the tribes in Sierra Leone, the sexual ethics of that Christianity and Islam that nearly all Sierra Leoneans claim adherence to, is apparently being jettisoned, as Gibril does a mirthful and lewd expose on unsavory realities: “…I asked Salifu ‘why do you say Yeama is your wife? You didn’t go ask for her hand, or as they say in some places in Salone, her screwing skills. You didn’t put dowry for her. She’s a taptomi, a taptomi, a taptomi. …The smug-scum replied, ‘it’s not how you get a woman that makes you call her your wife. It’s what you do together. We do everything together, stay together, sleep together, eat together. …

“I was annoyed…I shrieked in righteous disgust, trying to reduce to absurdity (reducio absurdum we say in logic) his libertine ideas, ‘do you shit together?’

“But the philistine retorted, ‘yes, sometimes in the fusion of our pleasures, we excrete feces of joy’….”(Page 37/38). Sexual “feces of joy”?!!: all my 1960s/1970s youthful years of voracious reading, including U.S.-published Playboy and Penthouse magazines, I have never come across such gaudy language.

…I was brought up by priests to become a priest. But I got bored, simply got bored by their repetitious rituals. Do you like to eat pumpkin sauce every day.Variety mate, that’s where the pleasure is…today cassava leaves sauce, tomorrow potato leaves, next tomorrow krainkrain, like that like that…’”(Page 65). Typical Sierra Leonean male sexual braggadocio there!!

Commercialization of CHEAP Sex in Salone

What does Gibril say in his book about traditional values of girls remaining chaste until they get married”: “…If you want a virgin you go to the remotest village in the thickest part of the remotest forest…” (Page 39)

In Gibril’s book, poverty has given unrestrained sex utilitarian value: “Salifu himself told me how Yeama came to live with him. She had no good place to lay his head to pillow. She slept with her ten brothers-cousins and twelve-aunts any-two-of-her three-stepmothers-not-sleeping with-her-father. They slept on the floor sometimes under-bed of the things-packed parlor of what we call room-en-pala. But Salifu had a whole room to himself.  And every night Yeama would come in the guise of a sex maniac to sleep. One night she brought her nightie, ‘I don’t like to sleep naked’.  She left the nightie when she went away in the morning.  The next night she came with a towel and extra knickers, ‘I’d like to wash off the stench of sex before I leave this place’. She left the towel and extra knickers in Salifu’s place when she went away…Every generation its strange ways….In our generation it may well be sleeping places…  (Page 36/37)

‘Sexual communism’ versus ‘sexual counter-communism’

The fervid sexuality is not limited to women who need to find a place to lay their heads; it now embraces boys and girls. Read Gibril on this: …The girls are food-starved; the boys are sex-starved…The other time a battered mother announces to her tattered daughters, ‘today I have nothing; everyone fends for herself’. So they fend for themselves, and we help them do it. Sometimes if we don’t have enough money. We band together, four five six youths the money now means something to the girl’s stomach. So four five six youths take turns.  It’s sweet; it’s fine.  We call it communism….

“Other days it’s the girls that communist you. Two sisters and their cousins come…Other times it is only your semen and your words. You promise the next day will be finer. They trust your sex-credit worthiness…(Page 40)  Sex on credit! But, with no collateral!

Mutually Assured Disgrace (MAD)

The cauldron of sexuality could not be a recent phenomenon in Salone, really; it could almost be said to be natural, part of the peccadilloes of growing up; as the protagonist brings out in his interaction with his symbolic Younger Brother when they were children: “…  But now he too had too had something he didn’t want me to get out to the public.  It was a peculiar habit, thrusting his index finger into the privates of sleeping girls and smelling it. He liked it.  I hated it.  But my own piss, my mat-wetting.So we had our own version of MAD – Mutually Assured Disgrace…”(Page 56) Oho: ‘finger-finger’ of little girls by little boys finally comes to light!! How many a Sierra Leonean Catholic priest today  who would ‘cast the first stone’ for what they would be guilty of  – what the blackmailing Younger Brother loved so much as a child?

Abomination: incestuous mischievousness’

Is Gibril clanging an alarm bell as to what is happening in our cities as men brag about their promiscuity; and girls and women use their sex as a survival tool; as the internet makes pornographic videos more widely accessible than the Bible and the Quran; and people live in over-crammed quarters; so much so that even the abomination of incestuous thoughts are not seismic? Read Gibril:“Anyway, let me continue the story about my being flogged like Bilal was flogged. Santigie the son of my maternal cousin’s half brother’s maternal aunt’s sister-in-law’s uncle, and Younger Brother, peeped at something and called me, ‘Momodu come see…O it was Santigie’s mother’s buttocks rotund like well-molded foofoo balls. I only peeped that once, but, Santigie and Younger Brother peeped until they were caught. They called me an accomplice….”

The intellectual pluckiness of Gibril in his daring book could also have the purpose of lifting the hypocritical veil off the faces of today’s  feisty Christian fundamentalists with their burgeoning churches, the Talibanic-like Muslims who are encouraging girls to go about Saudi Arabia-veiled in public: ‘This is the reality of our children and youth!!’.  The vaunted religious tolerance in Sierra Leone has been (is being) complemented only by a much less known sexual licentiousness. In his book, Gibril’s heart has at last won over his mouth: he aims to let us do likewise.

What is the relevance of this book that shows an author with intellectual balls? With about 70% of our population being children and youth indulging in premature sex, with frightening youth unemployment, Gibril, an artist, a Thinker, could be blowing an emergency siren for urgent action.