Previously on PAIN IS BLACK


The following morning, Mother called me to help her prepare for work, something I was usually wont to do. As we sorted through clothes and work papers, she got a text on her phone. She read it and then handed the phone to me to read the text.

It read: Good morning, ma. I have pictures and videos of your son I’d like to share with you. Fix a meeting so I’ll deliver them to you.

I froze and felt my heart drop down into my stomach. Questions began zigzagging through my head even as panic rioted throughout my being. Did Frank make a video? Did he snap me while I was asleep? Had there been hidden cameras in his house? Why wouldn’t he just leave me alone?

I felt my world splintering into a million pieces. I had no idea what to say or do in that moment. I was only sixteen and very inexperienced. I was drowning in my own panicked thoughts until Mother’s voice brought me sharply back to reality.

“Have you been acting pornography in school?” she was saying. “This is the second time this number is contacting me, so don’t tell me it was a mistake. What have you been doing in school?”

I didn’t know what else to say. I had no ready-made lie to spin. I only had the truth and I told it to her. I told her everything that had happened, everything that had to do with Frank. With every word I uttered, I died a little, not because of what I was saying or because of my fate with my family from here on, but because of the disappointment that began clouding Mother’s eyes, even as tears slowly made their way down her cheeks. I was and had always been my mother’s pride. And now, as I told her my truth, I could see myself falling from there to a horrible abomination sent to bring shame to the family. It was too much for a 16-year-old to bear.

She went on to fix the meeting with Frank, in order to get him arrested. But he never showed up.

However, my woes had only just begun.

After my big revelation, Mother called my older siblings. (I have three of them, two older brothers and a sister; and then a younger brother). She told my sister to come back home from Lagos and my eldest brother was also called home from where he was serving in Ondo. Family meetings were held and they all took turns talking to me.

For days, I was isolated in my room where my eldest brother came to spew his disappointment over what I’d done; how he had always suspected I was a homo but decided not to believe it, because he knew I was extremely strong-willed and as a result could will away such despicable nature. My sister was gentler in her remonstration but wasn’t entirely on my side. She suggested that I fast and pray and go for deliverance sessions. (Considering she is my greatest ally now, I believe this was her lack of enlightenment speaking at the time).

Life was hard with the whole surveillance on me 24/7. Once my phone rang, Mother would give me what I came to call the Ugly Stare. If I excused myself to take a call, I would see my eldest brother hovering about, and if I spent more than a minute on the call, he’d swoop in, snatch the phone and yell at the person on the other end to stop contacting me. It didn’t matter that he didn’t even know who the caller was or what the nature of our conversation was. I was miserable and my life was unbearable.

And yet, the worst was yet to come.

Mother never ceased from giving me the Ugly Stare for a few weeks, and with each passing day, I slowly lost my will to live. I couldn’t bear the pain any more. My younger brother was the only one who was oblivious to the tensions surrounding me and his ebullient companionship proved to be the one thing that held me back from drifting into the unknown.

Then the day came when I was taken to my first deliverance session. Bottles of olive oil were emptied on me. Words like “evil”, “abomination”, “demon”, “sodomite”, “death” and “hell” were spat at me. Holy Ghost Fire was beseeched upon me. The prayer warriors, whenever I caught them looking at me, had the same Ugly Stare I’d come to associate with my mother.

I felt very unloved, very unwanted. Right there in the church, I felt the last anchor holding me back from drifting shatter into a million pieces. I got home and made the first attempt to take my life. I took some pills because I’d heard that as a suicide option, it is painless. But I was discovered before any permanent harm was done. The Ugly Stare vanished from Mother’s eyes to be replaced with a new determination to rid her son of this despicable demon that was aiming to not only disgrace her family but to steal her boy from her. And that day became the beginning of my journey to the part of the world I thought only existed in Nollywood movies and stories.

Many deliverance sessions followed after the first; we were going to different churches with different faiths. This became my routine for the remainder of 2011. My sim card was changed. To help the process of a cure along, I deleted every single gay friend from my Facebook so I could focus on life as a heterosexual.

I held on for a couple of months before I found myself in 2012 going on Google to research on this strange feeling that I had that everyone else seemed to despise. The information I consumed made me realize I wasn’t the only one. Far from it! I got to learn that I wasn’t such a distasteful abomination. And so, slowly and steadily, I began the journey to making peace with who I was.

But Mother was clearly not on the same page. One day she took me to go see a man somewhere in Uwani Enugu. We got there and waited for him in his living room. He soon emerged with a weird-looking bowl that contained a black substance and asked me to take my shirt off. I looked at Mother and she signaled me to do as the man said. I obeyed. He brought out a razor blade, made some cuts on my shoulders, chest and back, before rubbing the black substance into the cuts. As he did this, he muttered words I could not comprehend. After the whole procedure, I was told to wait outside while he talked to Mother. On our way home, she told me that I shouldn’t worry, that everything would be alright.

I tried to believe her. But I couldn’t. I mean, if everything was going to be alright and I was going to be straight again, how come I was already chatting with a guy online? He asked for us to meet several times, but my Frank-inflicted PTSD would not let me allow that.

And then it was 2013. And one day, Mother came to me with news that I’d be going to Awka to meet a man. She gave me a number to call once I stopped at Unizik Junction in Awka. I wanted to ask who this man was and why I was going to see him, but I saw my answer in her eyes. I sighed. She was clearly not done ensuring my cure from homosexuality.

I got to Awka, called the man, and after what felt like an hour, he pulled up to where I was, clad as he was in a white outfit and asked me to get into his car. We made small talk about my mother as he drove to a part of Awka I had no idea existed. Buildings were scanty, there were no electric poles, and pedestrians either walked or rode on bicycles. He called the place Amanuke-or-something. We got to our destination, dinner was served and we ate. I was waiting for whatever would happen to happen, but he showed me to my sleeping quarters and told me I could go to bed. I was tired and disillusioned, and willingly went to bed.

However, it was about midnight that a member of the household woke me up. With sleepy eyes, I was led to a room that was dimly-lit with this native kerosene lamp called mpa n’aka. Through the dim light, I could make out the weird-looking carvings of different kinds arranged in clusters at different corners of the room. I saw tied-up lizards, chicken feathers and dried-up splatters of blood at random spots in the room. My host was shirtless with a wrapper tied around his waist, seated on the floor and holding a feather-bound hammer-like thingy in his hand. He called it his ofor. I was told to leave my flip-flops outside the room and I entered and took a seat.

The man went on to tell me what I already knew; that I was there because of what my mother had told him about me. Apparently, a friend of my mother had told her about him and what he could do, and so she decided to try him out. The man began to pepper me with questions, which I gamely answered. Then he made some incantations, and then instructed me to go to the different carvings – which were deities apparently – and drop some money before each one while repeating whatever he asks me to say. I did as he asked, my legs shaking as I walked from one corner of the room to the other, the man’s words wobbling out of my lips. I could not believe what was happening to me, but with each stab of incredulity, I told myself that my mother would never hurt me; that she was doing all this because she loved me and wanted her son whole.

After that process, I was taken out into the night. There was a full moon out. The man held a small calabash with some dark substance in it. Then just as I’d undergone in Enugu, he began carving markings on my waist with a razor blade, random vertical markings and ‘X’ markings. After that, he rubbed the substance in the calabash on these cuts on my body. Then he broke the razor into four pieces, mixed the pieces with the black substance and then handed them to me to eat.

When that was done, I was allowed to go back to bed.

The following morning, I woke up with a serious fever and nausea. We drove to the hospital and on the way, I threw up a couple of times into a container in the car. The vomit was strangely coloured. At the hospital, I got to see the doctor and he gave me some medication. Then we returned to that house. Later that night, I was instructed to bathe with a black substance my host gave me.

“As you bathe with it,” he said to me, “keep saying: ‘With this, I wash away every spirit of homosexuality and attraction for my fellow man. From now on, I’ll attract women not men.’”

My treatment apparently ended that night, and the next morning, I was headed back to Enugu, a full-blooded heterosexual man.


Written by Façade

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  1. mikkiyfab
    March 22, 10:05 Reply

    Really I just have to say this Nigeria parents are just something else God this is just so pathetic
    All in the name of abomination really as I read this I am just lost with words I don’t even know where to begin or start from, gosh a visit to the herbalist in the name of cure wow what can we not do to all in the name of righteousness to reed a person of homosexuality
    Facade my heart goes out to u I just can’t imagine the trauma u must have gone through
    Am on the edge of my sit in anticipation for the next write up I want to know where this will end

  2. DeadlyDarius
    March 22, 12:20 Reply

    The hypocrisy is so mind-blowing. Its never failed to amaze me how parents who are supposedly ‘born-again’ spirit filled Christians rush to herbalists at the first sign of protracted danger.

    Seeking solace from ‘false’ gods…

    I’m happy that you are still alive after this and have accepted how you are. Never forget that you are wonderful and unique. And no acts of evil from people who are supposed to love you will take that away.

  3. Kenny
    March 22, 14:07 Reply

    Wawuu!! Sorry you had to experience all that man. I wouldn’t have taken half of what you did and I’ll probably never forgive my mum. I’m angry on your behalf sef.

    • trystham
      March 22, 17:39 Reply

      #metoo I am so angry and shocked. I hope the mother knows exactly what she did when she sent you to the poisoner

    • ii
      March 23, 02:26 Reply

      You wouldn’t have taken half, lol. If I’d survived the first herbalist, it would’ve been a miracle, and I mean that literally. In fact, I would’ve fled from home sef before the church sessions got anywhere, and that’s me being brave. Some people are strong sha.

  4. Simba
    March 22, 17:09 Reply

    Am shocked ?. I love your resilience brother. Awaiting the conclusion of the story.

  5. lotanna
    March 22, 18:31 Reply

    I’m short of words….I felt really sad reading this.Who gives someone razor blade to eat?Ah!this must have been unbearable for you.I hope you are not broken,I hope you are okay.I don’t even feel okay reading all you went through. I am right here wishing you are doing just fine ,because these are really psychological triggers.
    It’s a pity you had to go through all these.

  6. Mash
    March 22, 19:09 Reply

    OMG ??
    Held my breathe all through! WHAT!!!!
    Mehn I wish you light and I pray you truly heal from all this awful experiences ?
    And I hope you didn’t get HIV from all the razor and blood they took from you!
    And may Frank burn in the deepest part of hell.

  7. Q
    March 22, 20:47 Reply

    This is so shocking ! Your mom went all that way no matter that’s not fair at all *sobs*

  8. Mandy
    March 22, 23:06 Reply

    What kind of mother would with sound mind put her son through this? My God, I’m both horrified and aggrieved. ?? How? Like how? Jeezuz! This can scar someone for life.

  9. Oj
    March 23, 04:40 Reply

    Guy you are going through what a loved son will go through when a mother found his son is gay. Is just a pity you are going through this just because someone want you to be what you are not.the mentality and perception about being gay in this country is just a shame. Good luck on your journey.

    • Kenny
      March 23, 08:06 Reply

      Hello… He’s not going through what a loved son will go through upon his mum finding out he’s gay. His mother was just ignorant, selfish and callous.

  10. Kritzmoritz
    March 23, 08:45 Reply

    You survived, heh?
    That’s all that matters…
    That is all that matters.

  11. Malik
    March 23, 11:06 Reply

    WtF… I knew it would be a bad idea to tell your mum. But then, I didn’t imagine this… What!!! I’m legit scared right now.

  12. Sucrescalada
    March 24, 22:24 Reply

    This is wrong! This is just wrong! This is just fucking wrong!!!!

  13. Ezra
    March 24, 22:45 Reply

    So if… is it that deep… I.

  14. CHUCK
    March 26, 12:21 Reply

    Some of your parents treat you like slaves o. Dressing them every morning, invading your privacy, etc.

    There’s a guy who comments here who always mentions being economically independent. Poverty is the biggest sin in Nigeria.

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