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Kids And Parents - A Movie Review

A retirement package.  Western influence on African culture.  Polygamy.  Olorun Oba Eto, a Yoruba movie has fans and critics for many reasons.  Fans love it because of the cultural or religious licence for a man to have more than one wife.

Critics feel it re-stamps women’s reality that whatever educational and economic heights they reach, society expects them to be in a marriage, any marriage.
Al-Hassan B. Taiwo (also known as Ogogo) came up with the story in Olorun Oba Eto.  He is not here to answer questions so his intention is all we can work with.
The movie is about a man with electronic stores and other businesses in Nigeria.  He is married with four children and is very generous to his relatives and in-laws.  In one of the scenes he tells his son that what he does for in-laws makes his wife, who is his mother, very happy.

He decides to slow down and hands over the business to his son Toheeb.  While his wife is away abroad, he meets Tundun a small businesswoman, played by Temitayo Adeniyi. 
The children hit the roof when they hear about Tundun’s affair with their father, the main objection being that she is almost as old as his older daughter.
Toheeb, the only son goes with one of his sisters to their grandmother’s house to present the matter.  He even goes to the extent of equating the affair with madness. 

Is the story about polygamy or culture?  The man believes that he is entitled to enjoying himself after fulfilling all obligations to his immediate and extended family.  He overhears the son’s statement about ‘madness’ and is very upset, to put it mildly.

The father interpreted Toheeb’s statement as disrespect.  Toheeb was using the western culture’s platform that allows kids to comment or even dictate what their parents can or cannot do.  Kids like Toheeb use the circle of life: parents bring up kids.  Roles are reversed when parents are old and senile and kids try to protect them.  In this case, Toheeb and his sister think Tundun is a gold-digger.

Toheeb’s father then lectures him about respect, how he would never think of calling his father mad.  We are intentionally ignoring the fact that Toheeb’s father is Muslim and therefore entitled to have more than one wife.

Toheeb’s grandmother and mother raised the religious flag.  His father never did.  His stand was that he was entitled to a second wife after making sure that his present family is catered for and that culturally, his children could not prevent him from doing so.
It is a difficult movie to watch, especially the scene where the mother comes back from abroad and cries that she never sent her kids to fight on her behalf.

It’s a delicate pull and push because freedom of expression and religious rights live side by side in most constitutions.
Nonqaba waka Msimang is the author of Sweetness, a South African novel.


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