Toyin Ajao

I was born in Nigeria into a Yoruba family that followed an Islamic tradition, where my mother was the youngest of ten wives. The circumstances surrounding my birth meant that I was considered to be an Abiku, as my mother spent nearly 20 years trying to conceive me. In Yoruba mythology, an Abiku or Ogbanje was considered to be a spirit child who possessed supernatural powers and was capable of inflicting pain and grief on its mother through repeated occurrences of premature death and subsequent rebirth. To avert this, my body was scarred with tiny incisions including two on my face, which are believed to ward off the evil eye.