Posted in Culture, Faith Life, Lifelong Learning, Storytelling, Writing

Surrender All of it – Part 1

“Pardon me if  this comes across as a bit forward, but can I ask you a question?”

“Sure.”  Kanyi leaned in closer adjusting his arm on the rest. “Shoot”

Kene smoothed out her skirt and said “This is the first time I have heard the name Kanyi. What does it mean?”

“It depends on whom you ask.”

Kanyi Blaize noticed her half raised quizzical brow.

“Let me explain.”

Kanyi recounted it as his father would tell the story:

“Kanyi is the short form for Oluwakanyisola, which means God has added sweetness to my wealth.  Your mother, I know is quick to remind us that it is the short form for ‘Kanyisiyochi’, which means ‘the way we pleaded with or asked God.’  It had not occurred to either one of us to consider one name with different meanings.  Given the differences in both our languages and culture, me being Yoruba, from western Nigeria and your mother, Ibo, from the eastern part of the country, settling on an abbreviated name that meant different things to each of us was sheer happenstance. 

Kanyi is homonymic, a word pronounced the same as another but differing in meaning. The beauty of it all being that in spite of the differences in our languages, Kanyi represents a true expression of what we individually felt at the time of your birth.  For me, having our first child after the seven year wait was a reminder and a celebration of how God blessed me with a helper, a partner, a true friend, my wife, your mother.  The birth of our first child added sweetness to my already cherished relationship with your mother.  On the other hand, your mother’s prayer to God to bless her with a son, if it was His will for her, had been answered.”


Kene was struck by how he told the story with a moving fervency.

Their dinner host, Efe, had walked in just as he was wrapping up his story carrying a double bagged brown paper bag.

“Here we go my dear”.  Easing up from his chair, he received the bag from Efe.

Efe had invited Kene over for dinner and Kanyi who arrived earlier to pick up documents from Jide, Efe’s husband could not stay for dinner.

Narrowing his eyes at Efe, he took a quick peek at the contents of the bag. “This smells delish.  Thanks sis, you are the best!”

Efe, had treated him like family from the first time Jide, her husband, Kanyi’s business partner had introduced his wife to him.  Kanyi leaned forward and gave her a peck on the cheek.

Turning towards Kene “I would like to invite you to the veterans’ photo exhibition”

“Is it ok if I get back to you on that?

“Sure.”  He responded with a half-smile.

“Thanks for inviting me.”

Jide walked him to the door.

Making sure both men were out of earshot, Efe slipped into the seat next to Kene announcing excitedly, “My Girl! e be like say homeboy dey fancy you no be small[1]

Efe had been listening to Kanyi’s story while packing him a bag.  She continued “I can’t remember the last time I saw Kanyi this engaged outside of work and of course, photography”

Kene arched her brows, pursed her lips and paused, giving her time to figure how best to respond to her closest childhood friend.

E be like say all that good food aroma don dey confuse you so.”[2].  She took another sip of her chapman, her favorite cocktail and continued “He was just being a gentleman.”

E gentle, no be lie you talk.  Kenekueyero! speak all the big English even Oxford Dictionary carry join… I know the tinzs whey my eye see.  This one nor dey for big grammar.”[3]

With her eyes closed and head tilted towards the ceiling, tapping on her temple, she asked Kene, “How Oyinbo dey take talk am again?[4]

Kene could not help but smile as she observed her friend carry on with her soliloquy.  Without waiting for a response Efe answered her own question.

“Yes! Let’s watch this space.”

Click here to continue reading.


[1] The young man appears to be interested in you.

[2] It looks like the good food aroma may be messing with your head and you are not thinking straight.

[3] You are right about that he is gentle.  You can think or say all you want but I know what my eyes saw

[4] How do English people say that in English?



Broad based knowledge seeker; outside and beyond the box - arts and culture, travel, writing, christian faith walk, good reads and refreshing conversation - and not necessarily in that order. Storytelling by connecting the dots between the traditional and non-traditional, the obvious and not so obvious.

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