My name is Ngozi and I’m going to be 30 years old in December. I have had many men in my life whom I had expected to marry me. But things changed after we had sex. And although some of the men were personally willing to marry me, they never told me their reasons for dumping me instead of going ahead to marry me.
When I met Obinna, he was so different, he was the kind of man i had been praying for. Initially, I told him that I was not ready for any relationship and that we should just be friends. But as days passed we became closer and he told me that he wanted to have something to do with me for a very long time. Obinna promised to marry me as soon as his business stabilized. I waited for Obinna for three years and slowly but steadily, his business stabilized and he became comfortable.
That was when he informed me that he was ready to travel to my village in Imo state and meet my people and do my introduction. I was overjoyed and I sent word home to my parents that very soon, my fiance was coming to marry me. Obinna’s people also wanted to meet me as their future wife and I happily went with him on one weekend to visit his parents. On getting there, they welcomed me and asked me many questions about my background. I didn’t tell them that my family were regarded as outcasts or osu because I felt that the caste system in Igboland was obsolete and that enlightened people no longer cared about such things.
But i was devastated when Obinna told me two weeks later that his parents had investigated my background and were now opposed to our marriage because I was an ‘osu’ or outcast. Obinna told me not to worry and that we should carry on with our relationship as though nothing had happened.
I believed him initially. But as days turned to weeks, Obinna stopped calling me as much as he used to before. I suspected he now had another girl he wanted to marry and i asked him about it. But he denied it and said that i was his one and only.
Obinna had always told me to respect his privacy because he disliked girls that invaded men’s privacy by doing things like taking his phone and reading his text messages. But one day, out of desperation and curiosity, I went through his phone and noticed the text messages he sent to a girl and the girl’s reply. It was clear that they were having an affair. When i asked Obinna, he started pleading with me to forgive him and that he loves me but he cannot marry me because i’m an outcast. I wept that day.
Now i’ve lost everything. I’ve lost all the men in my life just because I’m an outcast. I’ve never been happy all my life because the ‘osu’ stigma has been hell for me. My love life has been ruined. If only my Igbo kings, elders and people can understand the pain and emotional & psychological trauma of the osu caste system on their daughters of marriageable age, I’m certain that they will eradicate the evil tradition.
I’m only telling the story of the osu caste system from a traumatized spinster’s point of view. Maybe Nollywood actors & actresses can help by making a film on the Osu caste system and telling the story from the perspective of a traumatized young lady whom no man wants to marry because she’s an outcast.