This is not her name. I gave her the name, Ayinke. I do not even know who she is nor what tribe she comes from. This picture captured my being and ever since I have not been able to remove my mind from the powerful message it evokes.
I stare very closely at this picture and I see a thousand stories. Stories that we all can associate with. I see a strong resolve not to allow her present adversity to get the better of her. The smile tells you that no matter what fate throws at her, she will still come out victorious. She smiles at the devil, her enemies and all the traps that has been set for her, knowing fully well that she will trample on them and emerge victorious.
I continue staring at the picture and her dreamy eyes, reminds me of the sleepless night I had when I lost my father. Looking closely at the picture, Ayinke probably didn’t sleep well the night before, she was probably thinking of the future of her baby -making plans, plotting and getting ready to execute hence the knowing smile in the morning.
This picture assures me, that I will emerge victorious and like this unknown beautiful lady, I will smile at my present adversity and watch my adversaries scurry back into their holes. This picture to me is quite iconic and in my books can favorably compare to pictures that have shaped the world in the last 50 years.
Just like the picture of Archbishop Desmond Tutu shedding a tear for the people of South Africa as the dreaded Apartheid regime crushed them under their jackboots, the picture of Mother Theresa’s hands clasped in prayers, the Mona Lisa which today remains one of the most valuable but highly mysterious works of Art.
This picture evokes a kaleidoscope of feelings in me. It portrays the suffering of our people, the desire not to be bowed by poor leadership, poverty, sufferings, the pride in our heritage and our essence as could be seen with the way the lady is arrogantly carrying the baby with pride. The unmade hair, the blurry eyes, the backless dress and the collage of faded wrappers all combine in presenting to us the undefeated spirit of the NIGERIAN.
As we face 2014 as a people, we must remember the message of this picture. We must remember that we must move with tenacity, with focus and assured success so that we would emerge with the smile of victory on her lips.
Wherever this lady is, I salute her courage.