Achalugo Speaks: Why I Don’t Have A House-help by @achalugo

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I stumbled upon this brilliant article by Achalugo Tomato-Jos Chioma Ezekobe (the name loooong sha) and it really spoke to me because it is an article that I have been wanting to write but I think she stole the words right out of my head. But this is Nigeria so I cannot sue her, so I will just promote her work …. do check out the article and her site for other awesome articles!

Why I Don’t Have A House-help

I hate stereotypes, strongly, maybe because I am a victim myself. There is a sport I cannot play, the sport of generalizing, of using a one-size-fits-all approach to matters.

I have been seriously referred to as Mammy-water, kudos to my MTN complexion, also all light-skinned females bleach, all pretty females are harlots, add your own. It hurts, stop eeet!

So you must have heard, all house-helps are wicked, possessed, lazy, dirty, will snatch your husband, *insert yours here*.

Now, lets kill this stereotype – the ‘I have a house-help stereotype’, I don’t, you shouldn’t. Let us replace it with the ‘I have a domestic staff’ one. See? Easy, now we both do not have house-helps anymore.

I happen to make up my mind on the kind of person you are, based on the way you treat a domestic staff and (shoot me) nomenclature is a big deal to me. So here is one top reason you should not have a house-help;

1. Because the young girl living with you is a human being and has a name, and it is not ‘house-help’. If any amebo insists on knowing the role anyone plays in your house, kindly refer to her as your domestic staff. Sounds nicer.

And here are a bit of popular misbehavior some madams should repent of; (using a hypothetical relationship between a mother of the house and a young domestic staff, herein after referred to as DS)

2. Your DS is not your child’s mother. Do not hand over a 100% of child responsibility to her and be answering mommy for mouth.

3. Your DS is not your husband’s wife. Do not leave her to run all the wifely errands then wake up tomorrow and be looking for who slept with your husband. When last did you make your man a meal? You really cannot be that busy darling.

3. Your DS is not a robot. ‘Ngozi! Wash the plates’ ‘Ngozi! Wash those clothes’ ‘Ngozi! Run to the market’ all under two minutes. Ngozi na person o!

4. Your DS is not a punching bag. Please stop beating other people’s children unnecessarily. Half of the people guilty would bring down the roof of a school if their child were to be tapped small with toy cane.

5. Your DS don’t have to look like a Somalian refugee, go shopping for her, it wont kill you! You look like crap when your kids come out looking nice and their DS looks like spoiled Egusi.

6. Your DS needs to be constantly learning, whether formal or informal, and if they are below 16, please make sure that they are getting educated.

7. Your DS won’t die from eating freshly served food, quit the leftover food behavior they are not dogs. Never starve her as punishment.

8. Your DS deserves some dignity, do not put her down in front of your guests or children. Do not allow anyone talk rudely to her. Do not allow anyone make her run errands in their own houses.

9. Your DS is not allergic to ice-creams, cakes and the likes you get for your kids too. Go ahead, buy for her. When you visit places, insist on refreshment for her if anyone wants to sideline her.

10. Do not talk about her. Chances are that people want to tell you how and how to search for signs of witchcraft, husband snatching, rudeness, etc. Feed on positivity.

I believe in an equal opportunity world, I believe that all things being equal, people who are treated well respond with equal amounts of goodness.

Do not tell me ‘Achalugo, you can’t understand, you have not seen the bad ones’ Oh baby, I have. I have seen the bad ones, but most importantly, I declare most solemnly today, that I have seen the good ones being ill-treated.

Please let’s end house-help domestic staff violence today.

10869645_10152977286104577_965093247643814690_oAchalugo Tomato-Jos Chioma Ezekobe is a ninja writer at
She is the author of the okadabooks bestseller “Don’t Write on Me: A Collection of 5 Short Stories” that can be read at
For more of her MTN yellow writing you can follow her on Twitter
If twitter is too crazy for you then you can join her on Facebook



Words by Okechukwu Ofili of
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16 comments on “Achalugo Speaks: Why I Don’t Have A House-help by @achalugo

  1. Every human being deserves the best things in life and I see it as a privilege if we’re in a position to give another human that ‘best things in life’ treatment; the domestic staff is no exception. And no one knows tomorrow: reminds me of Barbara on Shark Tank reality show who used to scrub floors and so on at restaurants then, but today she’s a multimillionaire who has built a billion dollar business in real estate. Your domestic staff could be the next Barbara, and what an achievement if her step towards becoming Barbara started from your nice treatment to her.
    Okechukwu Amako latest post is Can this Treatment Empower the Body’s Immune System to Root out Cancer?My Profile

  2. Like you Ofili I’d always wanted to write about the “house help” matter. Until I turned sixteen, we always had “house maids”. My mother never treated them any differently from her children, she shopped for us from the same stores and markets, we went out together, there was no discrimination when it came to food and most importantly she never brooked any disrespect to them from my brothers and I. It wasn’t until I grew a little older that I realised that not everyone treated their housemaids like my mum did.
    The saddest part for me is when they are denied education, how can you send your kids to school and keep another person’s child at home, how? How? How?

    I guess I’ll still write about this after all.
    Adaeze latest post is Memories of AgwoMy Profile

  3. I am of this same opinion. I told my friend that the name matters, cook = chef, house help = domestic staff, some are even just nannies they can be older and not girls. They don’t need to live with you, they can resume to work and close and have day off like normal workers. I’ve seen houses where the house help are treated like children of the house and this same well treated helps still act out. Some purposely dress like ‘spoiled egusi’ for whatever reasons they might have. I’ve seen the ones well treated and who also behaved well. I’ve seen those that I initially didn’t know for years that they are helps until the day they were leaving amid tears. I’ve seen those that I felt pity for them and felt like rescuing them. Some people are just plain wicked and I hope they change. This helps should have an association really, Nigerians are kukuma fond of that, where they can have a voice to demand for favourable conditions and where they can be reported to when they majorly misbehave. I remember the only help we had, to be frank she wasn’t any help at. She had no duties in the house except to follow mummy to the shop. She doesn’t sell anything o, just play games on mum’s phone, eat and sleep. If you beg her to help with the chores she won’t do it and you be in double trouble with mummy. We are not to ask her to do our chores. She was only meant to help in the shop and she doesn’t. Hardly did she wear the clothes we gave her. We all joked around and people thought she was family. We were about enrolling her into a school when her family heard and took her away. We later saw her years later hawking wara with a baby strapped to her back. Told mum she was married off because her parents don’t want her educated. I also know of families that send their help to school which is a good thing but I believe children shouldn’t be helps. They should be at home with their parents and be schooling. Child abuse is what it is. The older ones can be helps but with contract to guide the interests of both parties.

  4. Olivia on said:

    I treated my DS with so much respect and dignity. I cooked all my meals, used my washing machine for laundry, cleaned house alongside her. Bought her clothes and even gave her mine, gave her shoes, ensured I added the “aunty” title to her name so kids and all could learn to respect her…long short treated her like a part of the family. Even started looking for a nursing job for her cos she told me that was something she wanted to do when she was done with school. All these and she burned me so bad. Would lie to me, would find pleasure-the sexual kind-with the gate man…and then be rude to me. So yes, nice article but going forward, if I ever have another one, I would draw a huge concrete line. I would be nice but firm. I would ensure you know you are NOT part of the family. You are a staff. I would be available but unfamiliar. And I would definitely not be getting any referrals from a gate man. (Oh, that one ran away! Didn’t even have the courtesy of a goodbye. And I made him oats for breakfast that morning!).

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