Suzanna by Sedinam Botwe

“Senje, hallo hallo hallo,
If you get to hear this song, somebody loves you,
Senje, hallo hallo hallo,
Change your mind and come back home,
Somebody loves you.”

These are the lyrics to the chorus of one of my newest favourite songs, Suzanna by Sauti Sol, a Kenyan afro-pop band.

Aside the fact that the production behind this song is seriously brilliant, the lyrics are what make me even love this song more.

The lead-singer Bien begins the first stanza of the song with thoughts about Suzanna. He hopes she’s happy now and proceeds to tell us that she’s recently changed her skin colour, has started wearing longer hair and has been flexing on the gram with her sponsor, which is an informal term for sugar daddy. He tells us that he’s seen her in London, shaking her new silicon bumbum. Basically, Suzanna seems to be enjoying her new life.

He then delivers a catchy chorus, very characteristic of most Sauti Sol songs. Only this time in the chorus, Bien is asking Suzanna to come back home if she hears this song and reassures her that somebody loves her.

After listening to this song more times than I can count, I was tempted to look past the mellifluous combination of chords and focus on what exactly Bien and his friends are singing.

Why has Suzanna done all these things? And why does Bien seem to think that Suzanna’s new lifestyle is forced? Because why else would he be telling her to change her mind and come back home?

Women (and men) all over the world, are conditioned to see certain features as beautiful. Long hair, lighter skin, rounder bums, are but a few of these items on this unrealistic list of beauty standards. And no, we can’t fault Suzanna for trying to secure the bag by bleaching her skin, getting a butt lift and getting a sugar daddy willing to pay for it all.

Who can we fault?

Everyone who has ever told us that our natural hair looked a little too “unruly and childish” and encouraged us to perm it or wear a wig. Everyone who told us that the ideal shape for a woman was the “Coca Cola bottle shape” and laughed at women with heavier upper bodies and called them “k)soro k)b)”.

Yesterday was #InternationalWomensDay2020 and in celebration of women all over the world, here’s an invitation to come back home to the beautiful people you used to be when you were little girls. Bold, comfortable in your bodies and full of illimitable faith that the world was yours and you could be anything you wanted to be.

“Senje, hallo hallo hallo,
Change your mind and come back home,
Somebody loves you.”