DADDY’S NEWS AT NINE

The door creaked open, and daddy walked into the lounge in his usual mien, undaunted, his shower-fresh smell of Power soap slowly filled the lounge, his Ankara wrapper fastened in tight rolls under his big belly. Then he sank himself into the sofa, tilted his head to the wall clock to check the time, then finally rested his gaze on the side of my face with a shadow under his eyes that said ‘about time’, all in a fuss that sliced the air of comfort, my face suddenly felt fat on the sides. Of course I surely knew it was nine, time for NTA news. I sat still, resolutely unshaken. I pursed my lips and stared blank at the Television, aware of the stretches of time when Alicia Keys bobbed her head melodiously, playing a piano, her braid fluttered around, “no one, no one, no one” the gentle trailing voice slightly cracked with emotions on Mtv Base.
And although it was one minute past nine, I resisted Daddy’s noisy gaze, I had been there from the greying of the evening to the darkening of the night, submerged in excitement
“Ahn-ahn, ngwa tinye NTA right now osiso” he yelled with a contempt-tinged tone. I panicked, threw the remote to the centre table, sprang up
“Are you alright? Ah-ahn, I say put NTA now kita” he repeated aloud, his stomach heaved in the rhythm of the syllables, his face hollowed in anger “This boy has no respect”
“I will put it sir, I’ve put it” I said in a hushed voice, hastily bending down to switch to NTA, leaving my glasses behind, I took off in a brisk pace, almost running into my bedroom, troubled in my own skin, the door banged.
Inside my room, the letters NTA hung heavy in the air, unsorted. The thought of NTA was a TV screen coated in a translucent haze of dust, northern-like voices read careful censored news in bogus traditional clothes “The Governor of Yobe is empowering youths with sewing machines” the words filed out of their mouth with stylish difficulty, headlines were written in white and bold old-school font styles upon chocolaty brown backgrounds below the screen. A minister always commissioned a bridge or a building, a commissioner commissions a borehole water, cutting ribbons in an entrance cladded with balloons. The following day, the first lady wears a black silky veil and empowers women with mosquito nets that heaped in bulk, then makes a speech of sickening banality with a chubby microphone half the size of her head. The president always said this and that, but never said any bad things, “The chief commander of the armed forces of the federation has addressed..” this soared my stomach or drove me into giddiness. When it was a police man, it even made me hungry.
I climbed into bed, I can’t, I won’t watch NTA, then in a wave of resentment the word “nonsense” rolled around my tongue, then out of my mouth, my head shook to my thoughts, and a ball of fire seemed to woosh from my head and flickered. There in my room, I listened to the discordant drone of our neighbour’s generators that came through the windows that flung open. This subtle tragedy (power cuts) was something that NTA never talked about, they never talked about anything, they often sounded like ‘How sweet my Nigeria’. And yet when I switched to Channels news, accusations flung back and forth, civilians spoke to reporters with tears in their voices, bruised lips, placards, melting eyeballs, orotund protests, impassioned rants about unemployment, even government officials punched each other at the House of Assembly.
I remained in my room, listening to the cacophonous noise of the generators, and in that ugly noise, I wondered whether NTA was truly Nigerian. Then the sound of NTA news “pararam, raraam, kwararaa” continued in the lounge like sneezing trumpets, I heard it. Finally I walked to the door and closed it in the best possible way, then blocked the keyhole with pieces toilet rolls. I curled myself on bed, buried my head in a pillow and drifted off to sleep.

Daddy’s News at Nine is written by Anthony Nonso Dim, a student of Univeristy of Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa. He was born in Lagos Nigeria, working on his first novel.

21 Replies to “DADDY’S NEWS AT NINE”

  1. Wonderfully piece of work. I enjoy reading Anthony’ s writing.,.. Well done l am looking forward to reading his first book..

  2. Nice piece!!! Vivid and descriptive with every single line of the story encapsulating the experience of many young peers like me growing up in Nigeria especially at 9pm daily. Thumbs up to the author

  3. You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I to find this topic to be actually one thing that I feel I might never understand.

    It seems too complex and very vast for me. I am having a look
    ahead to your next submit, I’ll try to get the hang of it!

    1. Greetings,
      Thanks for your comment. To clarify very briefly, the letters NTA represent (Nigerian Television Authority). NTA is a TV station established particularly to presents only positive sides of government activities. Only private stations in Nigeria are vocal about corruption and other issues of maladministration.

  4. I can see the difference between the interest of Daddy’s special time for news and the interferant of his son for the Mtv entertainment channel. It shows the area of concern between the parents and children at home. However, the son was bored of the NTA channel because they have a selected news that prefigured the achievements of the government, whereas the turbulent realities of the large population of the poor citizens remain unsolved. We are all affected by these problems especially in Africa as a continent.

  5. Its like you read my mind! You appear to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something.

    I think that you can do with a few pics to drive the message
    home a little bit, but other than that, this is wonderful
    blog. A great read. I will definitely be back.

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