Beware of women


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Beware of women


Nigerian literature (English)


The cover of 'Beware of Women' is upside down and backwards--a fitting situation for this title! The pamphlet begins its hostility toward women with a disturbing declaration: "When you travel to other continents of the world you see that women of those parts, behave better and more lovely than our mongerish African Women…In order to discipline them, this little but effective booklet has been produced," (pg.2). 

The editor, presumably Okenwa, claims that the author, Nathan Njoku, is not a hater of women but an impartial observer. It is also made clear through a disclaimer that these letters and subsequent investigations are fictional--the product of Njoku's imagination. And yet the writer describes African women as greedy, manipulative and pretentious. Women are the enemy, according to Njoku,and they are just as likely to poison young men as liquidate (bankrupt) or cuckold them. "I am now at WAR with African women," declares Njoku, (pg.6). 

Njoku tells his readers "do not love women more than money, but love money more than women," (pg.14). But just a few pages later Njoku condemns women for loving money more than their husbands or boyfriends. The author even believes that the general wickedness of women has had biological effects. They no longer grow as tall, they develop breasts and become sexually mature at an early age, and they will accept a few pennies from boys and agree with "whatever the boy tells them," (pg.19).

The anecdotes range from brief stories of how or why women will ruin the male reader and run the "four forty" (i.e. run away with men's wealth) to longer tales of how women will poison husbands and boyfriends for a little money. Njoku advises men that they have great responsibilities to their parents, community and children. He also says that a good boy is known by "salutation,respect, obedience, devotion to his duty and quietness", as opposed to a bad boy's display of "carelessness, disobedience, stubbornness and noise," (pg.47). Good girls are known for their "shyness, quietness, respect, obedience and likeness to domestic work," whereas bad girls "lack shyness [and] shame,"(pg.48). Overall, the pamphlet offers advice to men about why they cannot trust women,signaling a rift in Nigerian society over changing gender roles. The author,who also publishes under the name Felix Stephen, writes in most of his pamphlets about relationships with women and warns men away from marriage unless they want children. Women are viewed as threatening and only "very feware fair," (pg.2).


Njoku, N. O. (Nathan O.)


Fegge-Onitsha : Njoku & Sons Bookshop




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Onitsha market literature





Njoku, N. O. (Nathan O.), “Beware of women,” KU Libraries Exhibits, accessed November 30, 2023,