Man Like: 7 Must-Read Stories of 2021

December 26, 2021
What does it mean to be a man? Surely, it’s not one thing. It’s a series of little moments that add up. Man Like is a weekly Zikoko series documenting these moments to see how it adds up. It’s a series for men by men, talking about men’s issues. We try to understand what it means to “be a man” from the perspective of the subject of the week.

As we slowly say goodbye to 2021 and brace ourselves for a new year, we decided to compile a list of some of our favorite Man Like moments of the year. From navigating fatherhood and career pivots to surviving secondary school bullies and mental health struggles, these stories cut across different parts of the male Nigerian experience. 

Chess Saved My Life — Man Like Tunde Onakoya

The subject of today’s Man Like is Tunde Onakoya, a national chess master and the founder of the Chess in Slums project. He talks about a hard and poor childhood, his initially difficult relationship with his father and the impact he’s made with the Chess in Slums programme.

We all love feel-good stories that inspire us to be better and Tunde’s story happens to fit the bill. Coming from a family that could barely afford to pay his school fees, this Man Like subject has gone on to inspire and impact the lives of other young Nigerians through his Chess in Slums project. 

Nothing Prepares You For Fatherhood — Man Like Olanrewaju

The subject of today’s “Man Like” is Olanrewaju, the head of TC Insights — a research group that gathers data on startups in Africa, and uses the data to provide insights for stakeholders. He talks to us about the sacrifices of fatherhood, the influence of his parents in his life’s journey and what men should know before getting married. 

We know diapers and school fees are very expensive at the moment, but something about Olanrewaju’s story has us ready to become someone’s daddy. Yes, we know it’s not easy, but we still want to take risk and succeed. 

I Quit Banking to Become a Bartender — Man Like Dare Aderinokun

This week’s Man Like is Dare Aderinokun, a 34-year-old Nigerian man who went from being a banker to a bartender. He talks about making this career switch, his impostor syndrome and internal conflict around being the provider and how this change is improving his relationship with his kids.

Making a career switch from banking to bartending in your 30s is not something most Nigerians would do or encourage. However, this Man Like subject did it anyway. Here, he talks honestly about finding joy and how his decision affected the people around him, especially his children. 

The Men I Drink Beer With Show Up For Me — Man Like Muyiwa

The subject of today’s “Man Like” is Muyiwa. He’s a writer and business mogul. He tells us why men should live intentionally, the role of friendship in his life, and his beer journeys.

It’s not every day we get to talk about male friendships. In an open conversation about accountability and navigating life, Muyiwa talks about his tribe of friends, beer-loving men who are always willing to drop everything to show up for him no matter what. Love it.

Being Bullied In Secondary School Caused My Depression – Man Like Michael Ejoor

Today’s Man Like is Michael Ejoor, an actor and singer known for his roles on AfricaMagic’s Tinsel and Unbroken. In this episode of Man Like, he talks about dealing with paralysis as a child, being bullied in secondary school and how that sent him into depression, surviving a devastating suicide attempt and how his job helps him escape his problems. 

Everyone was talking about bullying this year and Michael’s story is one that struck us. From his condition as a child to navigating the effects of the traumatic events he experienced in secondary school, reading this interview, I couldn’t help but appreciate Michael’s vulnerability and strength. 

People Are Afraid Of What They Don’t Understand — Man Like Osunniyi

Today’s Man Like is Osunniyi, a 30-year old Ifá priest and the Oluwo (Chief priest) of Ile Oluwo Idingbe Temple. He discusses growing up with his grandfather, how he became the youngest-ever Oluwo at the age of 23 and the stigmatisation of traditional religions in Nigeria.

One of the standout stories for me this year, Osunniyi talks to Man Like about life as an Ifa priest, people’s reaction to his choice and how it affects his dating life. I couldn’t stop reading until I was done.

Women Taught Me How To Be A Man — Man Like Desmond Vincent

The subject of today’s “Man Like” is Desmond, a renowned writer. He talks about not fitting into the masculine stereotype, being raised by women, and how his anxiety about money pushes him. 

Society places a lot on the importance of father figures, but if there’s one thing I took away from Desmond’s story, it’s that sometimes all you have are the women who inspire you and honestly, that’s fine.

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