March 22, 2019

Let me tell you about me and my yams! – Peju Akande

Let me tell you about me and my yams! – Peju Akande

Yes, I have yams!


You know the tuber-like protrusion on your legs? What oyibo people call calves? Yeah, mine are huge and they have been a source of embarrassment to me for years.


I didn’t help matters that I was always walking on tip-toes when I was much younger. (It strengthens the ‘yams’, I’m told)


I really don’t know why I walked that way though; it was just my normal way of walking. However, a lot of adults disapproved of it and pointed out to me as I grew up.


“Walk, normally,” I was often berated when I would just be walking by jejely. So, I would slam my feet about until I was far from the disapproving adult and continue with my ‘tip-toe’ walk.


Ok, let me start from the beginning.

ALSO READ: Woman, thou art stupid! – Peju Akande

I was born with huge calves, so huge that even my mum, when I upset her, would call out to me, ‘omo onisu l’ese yen.’ (Meaning that girl with huge calves)

I mean if my own mother thought they were worthy of commendation, then, it was really no surprise when outsiders described me by my yams… ‘girl to ni’su le se yen.’ (The girl with yams for legs)


My legs were thin, and shot out like projectiles midway up from my ankles.


In fact, there was this nasty cousin who, every time he visited, would just grab my ‘yams’ and squeeze them.


I hated him for this, but he was an older cousin; and I wouldn’t even have been able to beat him if I had the strength to, so, I endured him squeezing my ‘yams’ for years until I finished university.


He came by one day and the ‘if you dare touch me’ look I shot him, wilted him.


The yam squeezing stopped but he found other ways to taunt me.


He’d go; “These your yams are like 20k each.”


And I’d reply; “Why are you pricing them so cheap? These are worth 40k a piece.”


“Isu ewura, ni.” (These are water yam, he would say)


“Nah, these are solid Abuja yams, no shaking!”


Now, I got my ‘yams’ from my father but you see the irony of it?


‘Yams’ on a man are kind of cute, even sexy, but on a woman, one thing is expected; she must be an athlete to explain the huge yams and me, I can’t run to save my life.


I remember when I got to secondary school with these ‘yams’ and my sports prefect thought I was a sprint material for the inter-house school sports.


Whatever gave her that idea!


My legs?


Who says big ‘yams’ means you can run?


Before I could protest, before I could tell her I had no intention of running for anything, she drafted me to run for my house at the inter-house sports event that year.


And to surprise her, I came last during the heat sessions. Did I not try to run? I did; I put in all the energy my ‘yams’ could muster but I didn’t beat the girl who would have been last.


There was usually no one to even catch me as I crossed the line; the other students would be busy cheering the winners… anyway, it wasn’t long… after several attempts to bring out the athlete in me, that the sports prefect gave up.


‘Don’t come for practice’, she told me when she saw me putting on my sports wear one day.


I mused, ‘ehen, finally it has dawned on you, these ‘yams’ don’t run’.

But I hated my legs, so for years, I only wore trousers and long skirts to hide them, especially when at the university.


How could I possibly show them when I saw other girls with long, slim legs, flaunting their shapely legs in dare-devil mini-skirts?


I remember one day telling my friend at school, then, what I would do if I had legs these fine and he looked down at my legs and said “Pj, your legs are fine o.”


Yeah, right, same thing my father said when I reported the offending cousin one time.


What would they say before? One is my father, who gave me the yams, the other my friend; they are  supposed to make me feel good about myself, right!

But I didn’t believe either of them… until I saw ‘yams’ that made mine look like ‘pottage’ by comparison.

Those ‘yams’ were the unruly types, the types that shoot out sharply and can burst tyres.


But you see, the girls bearing those ‘yams’ did not send o. They would wear short dresses and parade the length of the campus like their legs were something holy to behold!


Ehen! Is that how you used to do?

And they are everywhere these days; at the malls, cinemas… dem no send o. Yam or not, k-leg or y-leg, na you sabi. (These she-dares, as I have chosen to name them) have emboldened the rest of us.


Since then on, I’ve assaulted the public with my yams; not in mini-skirt though, I no get liver like that, but in knee lengths and short dresses and I dare anyone to touch my ‘yams’!



Lilian Osigwe Editor

A Creative and Versatile Writer.  
Currently writes for SabiNews Media

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