Being a Nigerian stammerer

It is tough enough for a child to be bullied by peers in school or in the playground but when you were teased by people who should know better, then it hurts – badly.

Evelyn was not very happy with Nigerians, all Nigerians combined, her son was teased by a relative, she was shocked and at same time furious that they were uncles and aunties who should know better that stuttering is a speech disorder.

It was a five-year old Patrick that got teased at a family gathering, it started with a few children of his age picking on him, he ran to Mama crying as he was clearly hurt, the last people he expected to be teased by was his own family. The mother intervened and asked the children to be nice, that caught attention of the in-laws who busted into fits of laughter repeating what their children were being cautioned for. Evelyn was furious about this and could not believe the insensitivity shown by the adults, so left the party.

She told the story to me still angry after hours. How I wished I could say “That was unfortunate, because at home, we were understating towards stutterers.”

I once had a brother whose stuttering was terrible. Mayowa at some point would close his eyes out of frustration just to get a word out. Within the family we understood and barely noticed it anymore. Outside of our house, his name was Akololo – Stutterer, this was said to his face, in a big crowd, everywhere, not just by children but even adults would pat on the shoulder before calling him the new given name. At school, he didn’t say much to avoid being teased. Being teased daily was his life in primary school.

Mayowa’s few years at SDA Grammar School was better. He met a girl who lived around the corner from us that goes to the same school, he was happy as Funke became a good friend, she understood him and allowed him time to express himself despite been painful for both the speaker and the listener.

To Evelyn I told of my experience, also add to not take her ignorant in-laws too seriously.

Too bad I can’t call on Mayowa for tips but Patrick is blessed – visiting Speech Therapist and increasing confidence by the day.

We can support better by reading up on stuttering  


24 thoughts on “Being a Nigerian stammerer

          1. Oh, I forgot to tell you, I no longer consider myself a ‘fan’ of your presidente, I now, – after learning way more about her (and her style) – admire your First Lady the indomitable Lady P, far more interesting than GEJ and way more prolific in regards to “what will they do next” material! In regards to the stuttering, yes, specialists, therapists and vocal consultants all garnered more of my dad’s money than they earned!

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Welcome to the club! Well, the FL might appear indomitable, that is because there are people around her who lie so as to fill their pockets. Her attitude towards Chibok girls’ parents is enough for anyone to see her arrogance.

              BTW: It is flattering what you say about same skin colour, thank you. My monarch who ironically has Oluaiye – “owner of the world” as a title would rather peel off his epidermis to admit I have anything in common with him. Once again, thank you.

              Also glad that we are now on the same page re your old pal. Does that mean my friend is now yours too? Give him some time, he’ll improve 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

  1. I also know of a friend who used to stutter but has gotten better with speech therapy. Really, thank you for talking about this topic. It’s like people tend to forget how hurtful words are and the impact psychologically it has in the victim. A lot of times, we say things out of ignorance. I do hope that certain issues like this which are underrated will be treated and talked about with more care now,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks kaygy.
      Things are a lot better now compared to when I was little especially with social media, people are stories and encouraging understanding of other people challenges.

      There is even a Stuttering Association of Nigeria! That alone signals progress but we have a long way to go.


  2. Thx, Folakemi for sharing your insight and thx, too to others who have come clean.

    Unfortunately in Nigeria, many physical deformities or challenges are always being thrown at suffered as jokes: dwarfs, stutterers, cripples, et cetera. Some would even face stutterers and mimic difficulties in expressing thoughts just to anger them.

    I have a sister who did stutter but we all helped her and she was made to learn to speak very slowly by the family as there was nothing like speech psychotherapy bk then. Today, she remains deliberate in speaking and no longer stutters at all.


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Okay…..I never teased OTHER stutterers but I am ashamed to say it was purely for selfish reasons. (Joke) No, I never stuttered but my younger sister did briefly… Hers was caused by nervousness we discovered (somehow) & my uncle told her the story of Moses in the Bible.

    His version is a fable I have since heard Jews still tell today.

    Lovessiamese will love this one.

    Moses’ stuttering was not due to nervousness or a neurological problem, it was supposed to have started when he was a little kid & sat on Pharaoh’s throne seat; that’s Moses’ adopted mother’s brother. So the priests of Egypt saw this & warned that it was a bad sign. They foretold that Moses will grow up to take away half the kingdom, if he is not killed. (Well that sort of became true in the book of Exodus) But Pharaoh loved the Kid & will not hear of it. So he agreed to a test to establish the intention of the Kid Moses.

    So the priests set a hot brightly burning piece of coal and a shiny gold coin in front of the Kid. If he chose the gold coin, then he is smart & knows what he is doing, but if he picked the burning coal, then he is just a stupid kid with no aspiration for the kingdom. Moses not only picked the hot coal, but put it in his mouth. It burnt him badly & he swallowed it up. This caused serious problems with his ‘vocal chords’, hence he started to stammer & continued for life.

    My uncle’s solution was kid sister should cough loudly & get rid of the ‘hot coal’ in her throat before she speaks. It worked like magic. She still does it & she is 43.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Whao, thank you! That’s a great tip to rid of short-term stuttering.

      Bible story, sometimes too good to be true. How could anyone managed to keep a red hot coal in the mouth for even a nano second? I guess, it’s the bible, lots happen that sound more like fantasies, who knows could be true given the Ripley’s Believe It or Not is real.

      Appreciate sharing your sister’s story.


  4. I’m afraid I’m guilty of making fun of stutterers. My younger sister is one. More than half the words she speaks are aimed at insulting me or someone else. Making fun of her gets her to shut up. I would never think of doing that to someone else though.
    But you should know that we Nigerians are insensitive to people’s feelings. I’m 5″3 and my boss calls me a dwarf. Me and one other colleague of the same height. Apparently it’s funny cos someone always laughs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aren’t we all guilty? 🙂 Stammerers ones is never funny to me though, maybe because my brother was my best bud when I was younger. More so now that I understood more about it.

      But I totally understand the sibling bickering – my older sister used to call me Ebora – Alien, apparently I am the ugliest in the family so I’d cry and cry and of course I have never been a victim for too long – I have my ways of getting her blood spilling over 🙂

      Dwarf? That’s funny.
      But you know it would be very hurtful if you were an actual Arara – dwarf, this is where been called a stammerer really hurts.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. There are various reasons for stuttering. Sometimes it’s caused by nervousness, sometimes a neurological speech problem, sometimes by extreme excitement. Regardless of the reason, people should be patient. God called Moses (a stutterer) to approach Pharaoah in the book of Exodus in the Bible, and urge him to release God’s children from slavery. Moses argued with God because he could not speak well. After some discussion God said He would send Moses’s brother Aaron to go with Moses. Moses still did most of the talking. There have been many great leaders, scientists, public speakers, authors, intelligent people who were stutterers. Maybe if more of us were patient and willing to take the time to listen, God would use us more and the world would be a better place.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for the contribution.

      I think my brother’s one might be more than excitement/nervousness. Most of the people I knew with speech disorder in Nigeria were smart as they focus on something to excel at, usually, this gets people off their backs.

      We’ll get there, the more we talk about it, people will realise how hurtful it is to be teased for things you have no control over.

      Many thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

Please leave comments

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s