Purple skies and yellow lights,

Peaceful nights and sweet meat pies.

Vanilla and elderberry fill the air,

Mr Shobande’s favourite combination of scent.

Disappears one minute and fills the next.

Just. Like . Him.


Mrs Shobande storms into the room

Complaining of the heat from the candles.

I think it’s the memory of him she’s really angry at but okay

This cup of Lipton tea is too sweet.

She waltz to Lara George playing so softly from my phone as she makes her way to the kitchen.

The sweet smell of her ofada sauce no longer bangs on the door.

Celebrating its freedom, it wafts through the corridor to my nose and makes its home there.

Only for grumpy Mr Salivary Glands to demand damages in immediate satisfaction for being awoken too soon.



Purple flowers and brown clay,

Ade Shobande o ma ti dele and it’s been three hours.

Patriotism and service to his country is all he knows.

I’ll try his Airtel number first then his 0809ja for lyf.

I hope he is in no trouble, I did warn him about wearing his camouflage t-shirt in these hostile streets.

Ready to limp off that thought I hear the sound I’ve become accustomed to,
His Honda Accord coughing and coughing before dying at the turn of a key.

I hear the wings of worry flutter away and anger makes a splashy entrance into the sea of emotions in my heart.

Ade ti dele sugbon o ti yo!

Before I open the door I can smell the city’s night life all over him.

From the Gulder to the paraga and Ireti’s cheap perfume, Ew!

“Buy the naira to grow the naira” he shouts in my face and I want to slam the door in his.

This is his way of service and grand showcase of patriotism to his country.



Purple vessels and pink jojoba,

Ayo Shobande sits and settles as I weave her koroba.

She tells the usual tale of her grandfather, the Oba to her little brother and his body relaxes as sleep captures.

A soft breeze caresses my neck and arms,

Luring me to the realisation that my neighbours aren’t as royal, magical nor mysterious as they appear.



I walk over to my house with a bowl of ofada rice and sauce safely tucked under my arm

Leaving that house with a deeper appreciation for the colour purple.

Knowing that under close scrutiny, what is purple on the outside is just red and blue on the inside.

Very much like my neighbours, the Shobandes.





©  O.M