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This African Woman Went To School At 50 To Get The Education She Couldn’t Get As A Child

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My grandmother, like most grandmothers, never had the opportunity to gain an education. She studied until the 5th grade and then was married off at 14. I remember her telling me all about it and how much she wished she could go back to school but, it was too late. As a child, I would try and teach her English and even though I succeeded a little, she will never get the education she deserved. You see, no matter what we say, an adult, especially a woman, going back to school is frowned upon. Yes, it’s ridiculous but that how it is in most parts of the world. This is why, when someone does go back to get an education, like this 50-year-old woman from Africa did, it should be lauded.

Shade Ajayi, a 50-yar-old woman, has never set foot in a classroom until now. She took the courageous step to go to school in her middle age to get the education she never got as a child. Shade now sits alongside students who are nearly four decades younger than her, dressed in a pink dress and bonnet that make up the uniform. I don’t see what is so embarrassing about a woman waiting to learn?

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As a child, Shade was made to work in her aunt’s shop instead of attending school. However, she now runs her own business of making purses and bags and believes that her lack of education and inability to read and write is holding her back. She said, “I’m not ashamed that I wear a uniform”. Isn’t this inspiring?

Shade signed up for school last year but the schools closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. But now, schools in Nigeria’s western Kwara state are open again and she now has the chance. Of course, it is hard for her to juggle school, her business and the stigma but she is coping well. Shade intends to continue her education and see it through since she believes that it will help her business to grow.

Shade’s daughter, Shola Adeboye, said that she was initially ashamed that her mother was attending school with little children. But eventually came around. She said, “She has always wanted to be educated but she couldn’t (until now).”

I love everything about this. Adults finishing their education needs to be normalised. There is nothing shameful about wanting to learn and age is just a number, right? More power to Shade Ajayi!

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