The Forest Dames By AdaOkere Agbasimalo
The Forest Dames is a novel based on war experiences that must be told in order to free the mind, disseminate information and prick the conscience of war agitators. It is a true life story fictionaised to reduce impact.
The book tells the story of a young girl who lived with her parents in the relatively calm and peaceful British colony of Nigeria, where shortly after independence compatriots went for each other’s throats. This soon exploded into a full blown civil war and from that time onwards, nothing was ever the same again.
The war came with ugly incidences, one of which was the hunt for and abduction of girls and women to be forcibly converted to bed mates. Families sought hiding places for their ‘eligible’ females but these hide-outs were soon discovered through the power of and intimidation from the gun. Two women however decided that their daughters will never be made victims. They found a ‘safe haven’ for their daughters – the evil forest where the roars of wild animals were continually heard. But this is nothing compared to the brutal termination of lives and wanton destruction of properties through air, land and marine attacks; including starvation that was the order of the day, and which placed the final death mark on the people.
The forest dames, four in number, survived the war and one of them decides to tell the unfortunate story of the elasticity of human suffering. All four dames are still alive and can be reached for further interactions. One of the brave mothers is also still living.
About the Author
AdaOkere Agbasimalo writes with a passion that underscores her connection with her environment and profound knowledge of the theme of her work. She also has a rare gift in creative writing which enables her to latch on to a theme and very quickly weave her way through the scenes and characters with masterly control. This skill is perceptible in all her works which are unputdownable as they all immediately draw the reader into the story with a commitment to fulfill the objective of the story. Not afraid to grapple with potent social issues in her works, AdaOkere Agbasimalo in her usual candour, set out in the book "The Forest Dames", to recount war experiences from the gender perspective. With typical incisive narrative and imagery, she paints an engaging picture of hate, fear, passion, hunger, deprivation and hope, all the key elements of the crisis of war; eliciting in the reader, profound empathy at all turns. Her thoughts as enunciated in her book "The Forest Dames" should catalyze any mind desirous of equity, justice, fairness and peace in the world, to embrace these virtues. "Mom, you are rare" - Chibueze Benjamin Agbasimalo (son), Student, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State Nigeria. 2004. "Ndaa Ada Agbasimalo, i nwere ezi aha n'ulo di gi, i nwere ezi aha n'ebe i na aru oru, i nwere ezi aha n'umu nna gi". - Chima Eke alias Obareze (Bongo Musician) 2008 in album title Ezi aha ka ego