A Ballad for Hilda Baci

She came to me in a dream

And said, ‘Son of the Muse,

write to the world about me,

Engrave my name in gold,

 inscribe me on the sands of time.

 Tell my story to the four winds

and let it be stored in the library

 of humanity’s mind

so that the next generation

 of our people, our girls especially,

would know that we still have

the last of the strong ones among us.

Tell them about my humble origins

 in the southernmost parts

 of the South and how I resisted

existential invisibility to emerge

 a world’s iconic figure

at the age of 27. Sing

to the world how I resisted

 patriarchal stereotyping and

 how I achieved world’s renown

 through the very space

of female oppression. I am

your tongue’s delight;

a phenomenal woman,

I am the pride of a culture,

I demonstrate the strength

 of womanhood. I stood

for 100 hours and

conquered the world. I am

the hope of African womanhood.

 I am the dream of a people.

My hands are blessed

with culinary charms;

 I wave them over a pot

 and the villagers lick

 their plates and fingers.

My smile can heal

 the sick man’s heart,

my pot is irresistible.

 I am a phenomenal woman.  

I do not only cook,

 I also cook a thon.

 I feed the entire village

 as a descendant of Christ.

 My feet are strong like the elephant’s

 and I can go for hours without tiredness.

 I am the pride of a race.

My ancestors peer down

 from the firmaments and

are proud of us because of me.

We do not let our people down.

I do not drink Guinness

but I am in their books for good.

I cooked for 100 hours

 and kept the world enthralled.

 If you ever need       

inspiration to succeed,

mention my name

and you are on your way.

I am Hilda Effiong Bassey (Hilda Baci).

 I am from the common stock

 of the great,

a proud daughter of

Akwa Abasi Ibom State. I am

a Nigerian and we nor dey carry last.

I was raised by amazing parents,

heroes in their rights. I was

 raised to ride the storm of existence

 and to emerge victorious.

I could have given up easily

when things went tough,

but to give up is never in our mettle.

We are a people who take on challenges.

We do not run from our battles.

I am the daughter of a race,

blessed beyond a curse.

I owe this success to God, my parents, my teachers and the community who raised the child collectively.’

Hilda Baci

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4 thoughts on “A Ballad for Hilda Baci

  1. Son of the muse,

    Indeed you’ve articulated

    Succinctly and beautifully

    The heartbeats of our fathers

    Our fathers and mothers who

    Who now sit in the heavenlies

    And with a smile radiant with bliss

    Bliss as sweet as the morning sun

    They clap, they dance, they shout

    The praise of their daughter, Hilda!

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