Veteran Nigerian actress Taiwo Ajai-Lycett has revealed she became a mother at the 15 and was raped at the age of 65. In a recent interview with The Nation, the 79-year-old revealed in details the horrid misery of her past. She was just 15 years old when she had her first child: “I was 15 years old when I had a child. By 16, I was on my own.”
Consequently, she was disowned by her family who was embarrassed that she gave them a bad name by getting pregnant. “I was ignored,” she said.
She also talked about her challenge as a teen mom. “All my siblings were in school but there I was, I was a maid in my father’s house. Everybody just ignored me. It’s a fascinating world. I think its a wonderful life. I was the one doing all the cooking and housework. I kept my head down but I enrolled in evening school. There was no way anyone could stop me from learning.”
Eventually, respite came in 1959 when a letter came from the United Kingdom from a mutual friend she had with the father of her child, who was married and had resettled in the UK. That mutual friend, David Akinduro married her when she arrived in the UK. But the marriage ended in divorce due to domestic violence. “We used to have these big fights. He would beat me up and try to prevent me from visiting the library but he failed to stop me.”
Life compensated her when she met her second husband. “I met (Thomas) Lycett long after I divorced my first husband. Eventually, I married him. We had a blissful marriage. I was married to an incredible man for 25 years.”
In 2006, Ajai-Lycett, was robbed and raped in her house in Egbe. She was 65 years old. “I was tied. I was beaten. I was brutalised. My health was ruined. I was blindfolded and raped.”
“The man who raped me complained that he couldn’t gain easy entry into me because I wasn’t wet. I told him ‘widows don’t get wet.’ I kept talking to them and asked them repeatedly, ‘Are you doing this to your mother?’ Angrily, they taped my mouth but I remained fearless and prayed all through the attack.”
Taiwo Ajai-Lycett has moved on from the misery of her past. “Look at me today, I am over it. See, the mind is a beautiful thing. When you hold on to past hurt, you tie yourself down to grief.”