In the Igbo language, Ada is the name given to the first born daughter. Often a suffix is included in the name such as Adanna, Adaaku, Adaeze, Adanma, Adaure. This poem gives praises to the first daughter and the position she plays within the Igbo family and community.
All over the earth she exists
In every home of the Ibo tribe
And where she is not, she is desired.
The apple of every father’s eye
The pride of every mother
The first daughter.
Looked up to with respect
Precious as gold
Valued like diamond
Cherished like a treasure.
A female! We may lament,
But an epitome of pride.
In the African heritage,
In the Ibo culture.
Addressed with a variety of names
Appearance matters not to her
Beautiful or not she is greatly admired.
Tall or short, she stands elegant.
Even if small, she is mighty
Due respect is accorded her.
In a family chagrined with chaos and anarchy,
When all effort to make peace seems futile,
She is sought.
Whether across the seas or in the neighbourhood,
Her presence is hurriedly summoned.
A female warrior!
A commander of respect!
When she speaks amongst her kinsmen,
All is quiet as her voice is heard
And her words of wisdom sink in.
An instrument of peace, to warring parents
And guardian, to erring brethrens
Her words, usually final
She who bears the burden of her siblings
And carries a load often too heavy for her shoulders.
Ever smiling in her sufferings,
And always open-armed to her brethrens.
Always the part, if not full bearer of the family’s brunt
Yet on her wedding day, all benefit from her bounty.
At the death of a father, she is expected
Even when a son exists.
At the death of a mother, ayayah!!! The more interesting
Her presence is demanded at all cost.
No burial takes place except she is seen.
What a wonder!
All is suspended until she arrives and plays her part.
A fascinating scene to be witnessed by alien tribes.
A female! We may lament again.
Yes! A female child
But none measures up to her.
I tell you,
An Ada without these marks is no Ada at all
And should be ashamed of herself.
To you parents who do not value her,
Shame on you!
And you brethrens, who do not know her worth,
Turn over a new leaf!
For no other is like her
None is like her, in your life.
© Chinwe Azubuike