Title: Like a Mule Bringing Ice cream To The Sun
Author: Sarah Ladipo Manyika
Reviewed By: Jennifer Nkem-Eneanya
‘Mangoes are free in Nigeria.’ Really? That was maybe the first statement that jolted me as I read though Dr. Morayo Da Silva’s memoirs. And I say memoirs because it felt that way sometimes, like I was reading the real accounts of the life of the very opinionated protagonist.
Anyways, back to the mangoes. Mangoes are not free in any of the states in Nigeria I have lived in. Mango is not a poor man’s food in Nigeria. Maybe it once was, but I have no recollection of that ever being the case. I am told that are still free in Jos, Plateau state however and if that is the case, I may be relocating soon.
About Dr. Morayo
Dr. Morayo is an almost seventy-five year old Nigerian and English Professor who resides alone in the city of San Francisco. A well travelled citizen of the world, her daily musings consist of a juxtaposition of cultures and realities of various cities from the minute to the major and she constantly flirts with vivid imagery of Nigeria while never actually settling in.
The reader is introduced early on to the vanity of Doctor Morayo, as she compares her experiences in different countries and cities based off the degree of admiration she garners in a Nigerian iro and buba. The comparison between various cities of the world becomes a little tiring although it does add some depth to the character and is reminiscent of an old woman’s ramblings.
Her personal life
We learn that Dr. Morayo was once married, and her husband had another wife. Surprising? Not really, at least not for me. They must have divorced for some reason or the other. And as the narration proceeds we learn about her growing lacklustre relationship to her ex-husband and her affair with a delicious Brazilian.
Memories of Nigeria
She remembers Nigeria in fond but not very positive ways. Like being able to ‘work’ the system in Nigeria. Though I am indignant, I must admit that the Nigeria she knows hasn’t changed much. Dr. Morayo is however embarrassed about succumbing to the wiles of a Nigerian scammer and actually following through and sending in monies to a supposed NGO.
It is worthy of mention that Dr. Morayo grew up in Jos- a Jos filled with thriving families, caring communities and generous homes where meals were cooked for uninvited guests and which she now believes is totally different- post Boko Haram and the era of suicide bombings.
Morayo’s intrinsic sexuality is discussed in not so subtle ways. The imagery of a seventy-plus woman masturbating to her neighbours sexual moans is not exactly usual, but there you have it. Morayo Da Silva does not aspire to normality.
Things take a dramatic turn when she breaks a hip whilst planning to get a tattoo for her upcoming birthday and unveils yet another layer of this multi-faceted and fiercely independent woman and her relationships with those she has come to call friends in the city. Her very restrictive and extended stay in a hospice chafes against the very fabric of her soul.
As this story of relationships, memories, and a life lived to the fullest winds down, we realize that for some people, the important things in life are books, cars and the freedom to do as one pleases and go where one wishes.
You can buy Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun by Sarah Ladipo Manyika on Amazon.com