One of my earliest memory is that of both my parents standing me up and inspecting me up in detail.

They were worried I was not masculine enough.

I was too thin and supple, even for an infant boy.

Every evening they made me consume a powdery substance called CASILAN.

I have googled Casilan and found that it is a protein used by bodybuilders to build muscles.

But it didn’t work.

Even today, I don’t have bulging muscles like the other guys.

One lover looked at me in the bath and said, “You almost came out as a woman.”

In a patriarchal society, she felt she needed to explain herself further with the apologetic, “I don’t mean that in a negative sense; I mean your physique is too lithe for a man,” which for me was a Freudian slip.

I heard the same statement from my own parents, therefore, I was not caught by surprise.

Many of the concerns we have as parents are often misguided because we believe that our children must fit conventional molds.

But one must break conventions to invent.

One must leave home to grow.

One must be different to be distinctive.

We have different talents and potentials.

As my father told me in one of his last statements, “There is enough room for the elephant to blow his trumpet at the same time with his son.”

He was giving me permission to be myself.

The only talent that parents should condemn is thieving, along with slothfulness, which are now becoming the most admirable traits among politicians and merchants in many parts of the world.


The picture shows a new style I’m exploring, using the old theme of “Mother and Child” in African art. I add the father with a beard at the back.

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