By Henry Akubuiro
The Metamorphosis of Ibana, Nancy Igwe, Rose Light, Yenagoa, 2021, pp. 66
Never let the trauma of your formative years drag you back. Nancy Igwe’s The Metamorphosis of Ibana tells the didactic story of Ibana, a child whose path was strewn with thorns but rose above despair in a twinkling. The themes that ring in this short fiction include exploitation, child abuse, irresponsibility, hope and coming of age.
Coming of age theme follows the development of a child to adulthood. In The Metamorphosis of Ibana, the author presents a girl who has lost her innocence and has come to the realisation that life isn’t going to be perfect.
It was a hopeless situation for young Ibana when her parents separated when she was only 4. Her mum, who took custody of her, was everything to her. She thought, too, she was the universe to her. But her mum wasn’t who she thought she was. Her heart lay somewhere else.
Her mum’s boyfriend whom they were living with deflowered her at 6, and when she reported the matter to her, she chastised her, rather, claiming she never liked the man.
She eventually left the house later and became a woman of easy virtue, selling her body for money. But fate brought her together with a destiny helper who psyched her up to rediscover herself and became a celebrated intellectual.
Didacticism embodies instructional and informative qualities in a work of art. Igwe, in exploring these in The Metamorphosis of Ibana informs us about the prevalence of delinquent young girls on the street who are products of dysfunctional homes. It also informs us of the reality of psychological trauma and the importance of counseling. The work xrays the aftereffects of rape on a child. Mind you, it’s not every young girl who can overcome this challenge like Ibana.
Ibana’s triumphant spirit is instructive of what change can do to a floundering youth if there is a will power. Sometimes this change can be orchestrated by counsellor or anybody who sees the potential in an individual. The Metamorphosis of Ibana makes a case for the pride of place for the girl-child.
Each chapter is heralded with quotes of great people. They serve as a guide on what to expect within, while also introducing to her young reader role models whose brilliance has impacted the world.
When the plot opens, we encounter the Atikos driving down a windy road back home following the birth of their attractive daughter, Ibana. She was only three years old when both parents lost their jobs, and things turned upside down. As the family’s fortune plumated, the home became dysfunctional and separated.
Aya, her mum, decided to remarry a former colleague, who himself is divorced and was an alcoholic. The new couple were soon panhandling in the streets to survive. Just 6, she was threatened with a gun by his stepfather if she dared reveal his amorous advances until he had his way. That led to young Ibana’s twisted path as a teenager until Mrs Adani, a social worker, changed her life and she changed her story, too. This is a touching story that will make your day.