Diary of the Ghetto Kid (Series)

Aside | Toheeb Bankole | Nigeria

“We are merely bystanders who have come to wish you well, sir”. Oh, you are welcome. Please serve my guests, Mummy Tade, Munachi, myself, and a few other students filed in like students getting ready for a choreography. Typical of those Abinuẹni (haters), Mummy Tade served us jollof rice and meat without water and spoons.

“Aside,” as it is called, is one of the common exuberances of every ghetto child, especially those who attended public schools. It means attending a party uninvited just to eat and pass. Starting from Papara Fufu from the pots of Fufu makers when returning from school, sometimes as a snack to cool our hunger, but most times we do it just for fun.

Returning from Téńté river in Alaso after “porting” from school during the Yoruba Day celebration. As usual with Ade, “Toheeb ṣe ooni jẹ Aside?” ( won’t you eat aside?) This was my first time having a proper aside; I ate with some other classmates at a party without being invited. Maybe out of sympathy, I do not seem to understand why we are always welcomed by the party owners. “Ẹ bami gbé crate coke kan wa fún àwọn ọmọ school yí” (help me get a crate of coke for these students). Aside from naming ceremonies seem to always come with luck.

We ate jollof and fried rice to our satisfaction. “Ẹ ṣeun daddy, ọmọ náà á dàgbà ó”, we chorused in appreciation of our host before going to our respective homes.

God alone knows how I acquired this nose, which allows me to effortlessly detect foods from great distances. Adé, it seems they are frying àkàrà around here, more like the one for burial remembrance. You guessed right Ade replied, pointing to a shop nearby where a woman was frying àkàrà in memory of her dad. Ẹyin ọmọ school, ṣe ẹyin naa fẹ́ ni?… And for undergraduates, eating convocation food was a yearly ritual.

Reminiscing on the memories of my childhood, this particular act is something I remember with mixed feelings. Sometimes with a smile and another time with shame. But what could I do? “A leaf that stays long with soap becomes soap,” said the elders. Childhood wouldn’t have been fun without the influence of my peers. Both the good and the ugly, the memories and experiences, remain part of me, and the lessons remain the compass guiding my daily life.

Would you permit me to share some tips on how to have a successful aside?

Yeah, it comes with some street OT; otherwise, you might be disgraced.

Shadow well, and approach the party owner when he or she is happy. Preferably when the party is just starting or after the prominent guests have been served

Prioritize naming ceremonies, birthdays, and graduations over weddings and burials. E get why.

Dress neatly or casually, but don’t be dirty, or else you’ll get the Almajiri treatment.

Go in a group but don’t be more than 5 at a time

Contact ẹ̀gbọ́n Àdúgbo. for the remaining OT.

Toheeb Adebayo Bankole is a multifaceted author and visual artist who resides in Lagos, Nigeria. He had an inborn passion for writing and received his first art instruction at Talents Art Kingdom with Mr O. J. Oyebola between 2012 and 2015. He then attended the renowned University of Lagos, where he studied visual art.

He spent most of his childhood writing short poems and rap songs, creating toys from scraps, furniture from recycled wood from building sites, and generally experimenting with his imagination using whatever materials he could find. His works often reflect his awareness of Yoruba culture, which he used to chronicle life events and the survival of the human race. By creative expression, Adebayo aspires to be an agent of change for a better society.
He has written several articles on art, religion, society and politics.

Contact: toheebadebayo@bankole

Country: Nigeria

Facebook: Toheeb Adebayo Bankole

Instagram: toheebbankole_

LinkedIn: Toheeb Adebayo Bankole

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