Project info

Left Behind is a project that examines the plight of widows in the Nigerian society which vary, depending on ethnicity and culture. Widowhood is often associated with pain, grief and depression and most cultures in Nigeria criminalize it. It is not merely that they lose their husbands but widowhood robs them of their status and consigns them to the very margins of society where they suffer the most extreme forms of discrimination, stigma and deprivation.

In some communities, widowhood represents a “social death” for women. The moment a man dies, the widow is subjected to perform different mourning rituals; sit unclad on a floor for a period of time without a bath beside the corpse, forced to drink the bathwater from the corpse, shave her hair completely, cry or scream loudly, prohibited from bathing, even in her period, forbidden to see her husband’s corpse, etc, to either prove her innocence or pay respect to her dead husband. She is circumvented like death. The general message is simple – she killed him. It is conveyed spoken and unspoken. Nobody accuses the man when his wife dies, even if the woman died as a result of domestic violence by the man.

This project supported by Magnum Foundation Fund, addresses this aged, barbaric, harmful, social injustice meted out on widows whose lives are determined by local, patriarchal interpretations of tradition, custom, and religion because they are not protected by the law.