Our Time Together Cannot Be Wasted on Things That Do Not Matter
Sabo Kpade on 3 photographs in the Tender Photo Archive
Our two older sisters, Maria and Gimbia, are long gone. Me and your mother are the only ones left. As we get older, our time together cannot be wasted on things that do not matter, her selfishness included. She has been this way since we were girls. She is not a bad person. If anything, I'm the one who has a reputation for being stingy with money. Once you accept this, nothing she ever does will surprise or annoy you.
Your brother told me about your fights after your return from London. He told me about the plot of land you paid for. But she was duped out of it, and never told you. I heard there were two other plots in Kaduna for which you sent money, only to realise that she paid for one and kept the rest of the money for herself. But I think you went too far by evicting the tenant in your father’s house. I advised your mother about renting it out to an out of work labourer, only because we are the same tribe. But she always does what her heart wants to do.
You have made a man of yourself in a far away country and among strangers. Many young men who leave do not come back. Some cut off ties from their families. You have also put your siblings through school which is no small feat. My son is the same age as you and yet, till this day, I still send food and money to his wife and two kids. That said, here is one thing I know you cannot do, which is to change your mother.
Remember, we were sisters before she gave birth to you. As kids we hawked together and played together. I felt abandoned when she got married and followed your father to different army postings around Nigeria. I stayed in school and went on to complete a National Diploma while your mother, ever the adventurer, has seen too much of the world.
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This is the #11 edition of Correspondences, a pop-up series on Tender Photo, published every Saturday from March 4–May 20, 2023. I asked a few writers to find “correspondences” between 3 photographs from the archive, chosen without constraint on style or genre, and to write short commentaries on their choice. The goal is to open up Tender Photo’s editorial and curatorial process to an engaged group of readers, broadening the diversity of responses to the varied work featured so far.
Tender Photo is a bi-weekly newsletter on African photography, published Wednesdays and Saturdays. See the archive for more features on early to mid-career photographers. If this newsletter was shared with you, consider subscribing, or forward to a friend. Please whitelist the newsletter to ensure you never miss it.