Categories
Africa education culture/tradition

African Wonders 4: The Pharos of Alexandria

The Pharos of Alexandria was a lighthouse completed in about 280 BC and was used to warn ships of the rocks surrounding the port of Alexandria, Egypt. The building measured over 110 metres to the top. During the day polished bronzed mirrors reflected the sunlight, and at night a fire burned that could be seen up to 50 kilometres away. A spiral ramp led from the ground to the top.

The gigantic lighthouse was a real survivor – it stood for over 1,500 years and survived being buffeted by massive waves and countless earthquakes.

It was built by a man called Sostratus who, in order to get the credit for this Wonder of the World, sneakily carved his name into the stone, and plastered over it. On top of the plaster he carved a dedication to the ruler of Egypt. In time, the plaster wore away and his own dedication, ‘Sostratus of Cnidos, son of Dexiphanes, to the saviour god’s, for sailors’, was left permanently displayed.

In 1994, an archaeologist located huge masonry blocks believed to be from the lighthouse, which was toppled by an earthquake in the 1300s.

Categories
Nature Africa History

African Wonders 3: The Great Pyramid

The Great Pyramid at Giza, Egypt is both the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and the only one still around today. It was built for King Khufu who died in about 2465BC and is said to have taken thousands of men 20 years to construct. According to Herodotus, an Ancient Greek historian, 100,000 men laboured on the pyramid, though archeologists now think the number is more likely to have been about 20,000 men.

The finished pyramid was 147 metres high, which made it the tallest structure made by man for over 4,000 years. It contains 2,300,000 blocks of stone each weighing over 2.25 tonnes. When it was built, the steps seen now were originally capped with pure white limestone that must have shone brilliantly in the desert sun. Sadly, over the centuries the limestone capping was stripped off and now the pyramid is only 138 metres tall.

It’s a titanic, one you would love to see!

Categories
Africa Africa, Poetry and Love folklore Pastoral

The Man Who Never Lied

Hi everyone! How was your day? I have a story to share. So bring your seats and mats to the fireplace, listen attentively and may the nightingales sing us a lullaby when we retire to bed.


Once upon a time there lived a wise man by the name of Mamad. He never lied. All the people in the land, even the ones who lived twenty days away, knew about him.

The king heard about Mamad and ordered his subjects to bring him to the palace. He looked at the wise man and asked:

” Mamad, is it true, that you have never lied?”

” It’s true.”

“And you will never lie in your life?”

” I’m sure in that.”

“Okay, tell the truth, but be careful! The lie is cunning and it gets on your tongue easily.”

Several days passed and the king called Mamad once again. There was a big crowd: the king was about to go hunting. The king held his horse by the mane, his left foot was already on the stirrup. He ordered Mamad:

“Go to my summer palace and tell the queen I will be with her for lunch. Tell her to prepare a big feast. You will have lunch with me then.”

Mamad bowed down and went to the queen. Then the king laughed and said:

“We won’t go hunting and now Mamad will lie to the queen. Tomorrow we will laugh on his behalf.”

But the wise Mamad went to the palace and said:

“Maybe you should prepare a big feast for lunch tomorrow, and maybe you shouldn’t. Maybe the king will come by noon, and maybe he won’t.”

“Tell me will he come, or won’t he?” – asked the queen.

“I don’t know weather he put his right foot on the stirrup, or he put his left foot on the ground after I left.”

Everybody waited for the king. He came the next day and said to the queen:

“The wise Mamad, who never lies, lied to you yesterday.”

But the queen told him about the words of Mamad. And the king realized, that the wise man never lies, and says only that, which he saw with his own eyes.

Categories
Africa Nature

African Wonders 2: Sahara Desert

The Sahara Desert in North Africa is big – very big! It covers a third of the whole continent, measuring 8.6 million square kilometres. It is almost the same size as the USA. It is the largest hot desert in the world. The highest temperature ever recorded there was 58 °C. In a single day, the temperature can range from below freezing to 50 °C. These extremes of hot and cold combined with the dry, dusty winds make the Sahara a place where few plants and animals can survive.

The Sahara is very hot, but it isn’t the heat that makes it qualify as a desert. It is the lack of rain. The average rainfall in the Sahara is less than 8 centimetres a year (London’s average rainfall is about 60 centimetres).

The desert stretches from the shores of Morocco to those of Djibouti and it’s not a place you like to go without a gallon of water!

Categories
Africa Nature

African Wonders 1: Victoria Falls

The Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe earns the title of the biggest waterfall in the world. It is 1708 metres across and it drops between 90 and 107 metres into the Zambezi Gorge. An average of 9.2 million litres of water cascades over the edge of the falls every second at peak seasons.

Because Victoria Falls is so wide, the water drops in a vast curtain. The thunder of the spray when it hits the gorge below is incredibly loud. Local people call the falls ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya‘, which means ‘the snake that thunders,’ and for many people the place has magical qualities.

The first European to see the falls was the explorer David Livingstone in 1855. An island in the river is named Livingstone Island in his honour.

The lake is a tourist attraction.

Categories
Africa Africa, Poetry and Love love poems nature poems night poems

Distract me with love – Poetry

Tell me an amusing story
One that drives sorrows away
Laugh at me or with me
Sing a song, hum a slow lullaby
Pull my ears and call me names
Let’s ride on a train to Utopia
Grab my hands let’s elope
To fields wild as a writer’s mind
Call my name, bring me back to you
Hold my hands, tell me long stories
Distract me from a sick world
Remind me only of your love

Categories
Africa Africa, Poetry and Love

The Village

Once the sun rise, life regains its joy
More birds glide up the pretty skies
Fast rodents play in the shrub nearby
As smoke rise from long chimneys

Little children leave for school,
Fathers spend the day in farms,
Mothers gather materials for food
Everyone has got a role to play

Squirrels hide in tree branches
Throwing several nuts at passersby
The forests beyond the clan wakes
To savour beauty of sunny summer

Small villages are world of their own
Tranquil, beautiful and full of life
Sunrise warms the soil for seeds sown
And gives hope to contented people

Categories
Africa Africa, Poetry and Love night poems

Two Poems: Nature Sings To Me and Once The Little Tiddlers by Peniel Gifted

1. NATURE SINGS TO ME

Nature sings to me
In the most melodious tune of joy
Tickling happiness into the shattered lonely me.

Nature sings to me
To make me feel like a king
Tune of everlasting peace
In my ears, it ring
And truly, I know I’m really blessed.

Nature sings to me
And I cross over the worries
Of the uncertain realities
Casting away the giggling joy
of the shadowy calamities.

2. ONCE THE LITTLE TIDDLERS

We were once the little tiddlers
Roaring high with our whimpering mouth
Pleading to the moon, mama must be awake!

We played with beautiful toys and patterns
We played with every man and woman
We played with everything that made us happy.

How so innocent we were
With our coat of many colours
Fun everywhere, here and there.

Those were good old days
When men be babies
The awesome gloom’s wonders, They’ve never gazed.

Now babies be men
Broaching so hard in the tangled race
Can we go back to the good old days?
Oh no! We must surely set the pace.

Categories
Africa Nigeria

Soldier Ants

No one wants an army of ants patrolling around his front door or garden. But talk of an endless stream of army ants? That doesn’t sound so good.

I saw a file of soldier ants (ólú-mba in Igbo language) yesterday night. I never imagined they would mobilize to a greater force. The following morning I witnessed the army ‘arrest’ a big mamba and some insects. In one raid they can strip a garden of living things. In West African soldier ants dwell in the forests and rarely come in contact with human beings.

I’m impressed with the teamwork portrayed by army ants. It’s hard to break through a fortified line so when they descend on a prey it’s harder to escape. They march through cold nights and sun heat, building shelters to reduce any weather impact. When they go for a night raid they take sleeping rodents and insects by surprise. I’ve seen them construct bridges with tree leaves, sticks, sand and stones. Soldier ants are very intelligent and their leadership structure sound and competent. In fact, every ant has got a role to play and each has mastered its role! I’m particularly weary of ants with the biggest heads.

When they march it’s swift like a fast flowing stream, drowning unsuspecting grasshoppers, bugs, worms, spiders, lizards, snakes, livestock and every life. The unfortunate victims are killed, stripped of flesh and then transported in pieces. Soldier ants are highly organized flesh eaters. They can take on any living thing and there are reports of attacks on vulnerable humans. It’s advised to avoid them.

To keep these ants away: apply insect repellent dusts or petroluem products like crude oil or gas. Ash also can help keep them away.

Indeed, no insect has such organizational ability like the soldier ant.

Categories
Africa Africa, Poetry and Love Nigeria reflection

Nostalgia: Hills I Call Home

I sit outside my granny’s house, clad in blankets and a pillow. It was a rainy day and a very cold one. The cold extended into the evening and early night. The village is surrounded by streams and hills and this must have contributed to the extreme weather. I left town a few hours ago but the rain caught up with me.

One good thing about this place is it’s hilly countryside – it’s nested in-between ancient hills and surrounded by forests. So morning is a beautiful sight to behold. I remember how scared I was to walk through the path blanketed by tree branches. Trees stuck out their branches, covering the roadside and sunlight. During night time, I mistake those branches as ghostly fingers waiting to grab their victim.

One time I missed falling millipedes as they lost their grip and fell from tree branches. I won’t forget the funny scenario displayed by a friend when a pair of millipedes fell into his shirt. I have witnessed a monitor lizard slain. I also have seen several rodents and snakes disturb the bush. I have seen an owl hunt in the moonlight and soldier ants visit frequently. The hills are their playground. Even now as a young man I feel indifferent towards the hills and her numerous inhabitants. I am suspicious of any movement near the bush path.

Back to my lonely reflection: I feel welcomed by insect zithering. They sing a disturbing lullaby. Sometimes I wish them away. There’s no frog in the vicinity, thankfully. A crazy frog choir would have been worse. Some insects stroll into my room. Crickets hide in cracks. Moths marry my torch-light, sun-flies drive me crazy during the day, wasps and bigger moths buzz about, investigating the lamps around the house and other light craving insects play out their hearts. Indeed, insects are a restless bunch. I know a lot of them but not their names. My favourite is the handsome lady bird.

The cold hands of night grip this tranquil village. It’s very dark out here safe for few stars, which are dots imposed upon the dark sky. I’m familiar with this hilly climate.

Now lightning take images of the clouds and grassland. I see tree skeletons with each flash but the hills are invincible without much illumination. It seems it will rain again. It’s good to be home.

Categories
Africa Africa, Poetry and Love Nigeria

Happy Independence Day Nigeria!

On this day 60 year’s ago Nigeria got her independence. Things may not be right at the moment but our hope and faith will prevail. We shall rise above tribalism, intolerance, hatred and indiscipline.

Let’s celebrate Nigeria, the giant of Africa with her beautiful images.

Categories
Africa human rights

UNESCO ‘Sheroes’ Nigeria Competition

The issue of human rights and gender equality is gaining momentum. And this is the best time to get things right. So I submitted this piece below:

She’s a lady and more,
The mother of life,
And heartbeat of nations,
Innocent child by the street corner
Torn apart by her own society
Groomed in love and piety
Scarred by her own tradition
By some men and nations
She’s a memory of pain
Held in hard life’s pangs
Yet she gives hope and love
So remember to treat her so


Join me in this competition (Deadline: September 30, 2020), using painting and poetry to express your attitudes: https://en.unesco.org/news/national-art-competition-under-theme-sheroes

#SheroesArt #SpotlightNG #Nigeria #GenderEquality

Categories
Africa Africa, Poetry and Love nature poems Poetry

Morning Sun – Poetry

Glittering morning sun,
Woke to nature’s beauty,
Warm scent of caked clay
Leftover from night storm,
To me life is series of moments;
Made up of sounds and sights
Cackling peacocks, blue skies,
Green fields, huge waterfalls,
A female goat calling to her kid,
Group of laughing basket weaving girls,
Three red headed lizards fighting,
Sounds in the clouds and trees
Of surfing hawks, pigeons on roof,
Of squirrel mischief, lazy reptiles,
And little birds building fine nests,
All contribute to this beauty
A sleepy and sunny African morning
A perfect day to live and explore

Categories
Africa culture/tradition love poems nature poems night poems Pastoral Poetry

A Shepherd’s Poem

Sun set slowly above the wood
Shadows appear, shepherd dreams;
Soft breeze upon evening tide,
Smell of sheep dung,
Slices of malted bread,
Songs from the wine inn,
Situated by the river bend,
Sober men drink their heart fill,
Silent hills, retreating birds,
Sally may sing her radio favourite,
Something to celebrate our countryside,
Scent of marigold and rose,
Sleepy sheep bleat gratefully,
Safe from roaming the land,
Some wish for morning already,
Sops and grapes grow wild,
Sheep love to nibble on those
Smiles bring back what are the shepherd’s;
Sweet darlings are his memories for the day

Categories
Africa Africa, Poetry and Love painting

Painting by Sthembiso Msibi

Trust me she’s got amazing talent. See more of her work on IG: @sthekamsibi

Categories
Africa Africa, Poetry and Love quotes

Quote: No Mountain Too Great

There’s no mountain too great
Hear these words and have faith

-Diana Ross

Categories
Africa proverbs

African Proverb: Someone who Shouts

There is nothing to fear from someone who shouts.

Meaning:
In Igbo land it’s assumed that people who make a lot of noise are cowards. The principle of more action and less talk is the foundation of this proverb. The English version is the empty drum makes the loudest noise.

Categories
Africa Africa, Poetry and Love night poems Poetry

Night Fall In The Countryside

Night falls behind the village fence
Last traces of day, shadows fade
Tree lines turn grey and black
While the sky host a million stars

Quiet evening, sound of water
Heard down the waterfalls, by the streamside
And from thickets bullfrogs wade
Enjoying the fresh and sweet breeze

Tree branches play with the wind
Soft singing is heard from huts away
While hill dwellers talk with clouds
The valley people make hilarious jeer

Wood burn in the open fireplace
Sweet smelling dinner cook slowly
Sleepy kids watch, filled with hope
Tonight stars shine upon the hamlet

Laughter follow tales told to children
They gather their small mats for sleep
When night fall in African countryside
Dreams, many dreams aren’t far away

Categories
Africa quotes

Quote on War

Whoever likes war is not in his right senses and is a lunatic. We must ensure there is no war again.

– Sir Joseph Hammond, Ghanaian World War Two Veteran

Categories
Africa Poetry rhyme

Hometown by Peniel Gifted

That magnificent city
Built beautifully

Its walls painted in great colours
Furnished with happy diamonds
Its streets with the unceasing glitters.

My hometown
The city of the two great hills
The city where I feel the cool breeze of nativity
Beholding the swaying tulips and smiling sun
The love of nature, giving me the mild spirit of liberty.

Yeah! I love you dearest hometown
For all I wished, is to be with you right now
I remember there is no place like home
Even though, I daily dwell in Rome


She writes well. Just discovered another African talent.

Categories
Africa Africa, Poetry and Love

Musical Africa: Talking Drum

The Talking Drum is peculiar to the Yoruba people of West Africa.

Musical Africa
You will agree with me that Africa is a musical continent. It’s full of sounds and songs. Every tribe and nation has a peculiar musical identity. As dressing and languages differ so do musical instruments. I will like to share a musical instrument common to the Yoruba people of West Africa.

The talking drum
The pitch of the talking drum is varied to mimic the tone patterns of speech. This is done by varying the tension placed on the drumhead: the opposing drum heads are connected by a common tension chord. The waist of the drum is held between the player’s arm and ribs, so that when squeezed the drumhead is tightened, producing a higher note than when it’s in its relaxed state; the pitch can be changed during a single beat, producing a warbling note. The drum can thus capture the pitch, volume, and rhythm of human speech, though not the qualities of vowels or consonants.

Categories
Africa love Nature

Morning Sun

I’m glad to see the rising sun
It tells by sight stories unspoken
And paints my curtain perfect green
Divine love woke me to a new start,
A new life, something to celebrate
When I gather the curtains
To glance through tree lines
And green field glittering in the sun,
The rays catch my breath,
Birds chirp and take flight
Morning is my grateful moment

Categories
Africa proverbs quotes

African Proverb: A Young Tree

A tree is straightened while it is still young – Proverb from Burundi.

Meaning:

I chose to take this proverb in its literal form because it’s pretty obvious that a fully grown tree can’t be transplanted or manipulated in any way. What I mean is that it’s not stressful to try to make a sapling grow straight. ‘To straighten’ means ‘to correct’ when we apply this proverb in real life. For instance I do go to the garden to check and support fresh yam tendrils with sticks. This is to help them grow straight. It will be much difficult to attempt that when they are matured and stiff.

It’s easy to correct something while it’s still fresh and tender. A metaphoric expression related to the proverb is ‘to nip in the bud’ which means to halt something at an early stage. The difference is that while our proverb concentrates on correcting, the metaphoric expression talks about stopping or halting at the earliest moment.

This proverb can also translate to:

1. A person (a child) can be corrected while he/she is tender.

2. A thing (mistake, action, etc.) can be corrected at the early stages.

What is your take on this?

Categories
Africa proverbs

African Proverb: On A Snake’s Ability

Igbo Proverb: If a snake fails to show its venom, little kids will use it in tying firewood.

Origin: A snake is a dangerous reptile. Snake poison can kill an adult in minutes. In Africa snake bites contribute to deaths. In Igbo land where this proverb originated from, snakes are not toyed with. In some African traditions, snakes are reverred and in others it’s a delicacy or a deity. The proverb emphasises on the lethal poison, which is a feature snakes are known for. Literally I can translate this proverb to if one doesn’t show his abilities, he may be taken for granted.

Meaning: There are times when one defends ones capability.

What do you think about this proverb? Do you know another African proverb? You can drop it here and I will discuss it with you.

Categories
Africa Africa, Poetry and Love night poems Poetry

This Day, This Year, This Life By Pam Impson

So much gone, so much wrong
So much sorrow in this song
Teary in my isolation
Weary in my desperation
Panting in my desolation
Ranting in complete frustration
So much yearning to belong
So much is gone, so much is wrong

This day
It rolled me like a cheap cigar
Stale inside a crowded bar
Choked me in the acrid smoke
Teased me like a dirty joke
Paralyzed my soggy brain
Dropped me with complete disdain
Soggy butt to clog the gutter
Numbed my tongue and made me stutter
Promised me I won’t get far
And left a stain of sticky tar

This year
A deck of cards with missing queens
A dirty game by dirty means
Lured me with a glimpse of riches
Lying, cheating poker bitches
Dealt two kings and read my face
Laughed and trumped me with an ace
Torched the table and the chairs
Kicked me down a flight of stairs
Left me in my dirty jeans
With tarry stains that nothing cleans

This life
A stranger with an evil eye
Careless curtain, jealous lie
Hopeless hopes by impulse cheapened
Belly flops into the deep end
Sickness, wounds, all self-inflicted
Weak and lazy, drunk, addicted
Laughing at the dirty joke
Floating like a puff of smoke
Hope against the hopeless lie
Pink balloon adrift up high
Raised a torch up to the sky
With a giggle and a sigh

Categories
Africa opinion reflection thoughts

Farewell Nkosi, the Black Panther

Life like the mist is temporal but legacies live and last forever

The Black Panther

I get easily bored with movies. It’s hard to see me watching TeeVee anyway. No matter how much I try, I can only watch National Geographic Wild and Discovery Documentaries. But when a movie gets me hooked I can see it a hundred times without losing interest. I saw The Black Panther early last year. Then it didn’t make much sense to me (again with the little interest on movies). But I saw it again and again because I was impressed with a lot of things. First the casting; the actors and actresses were top-notch. I was impressed with the display of African culture and tradition: the casts intonation, dressing, setting and more. Talking about the setting, Wakanda portrayed beautiful Africa. Each scene even the fighting ones had a view of something spectacular at the background: hills and vales, waterfalls and rivers, chains of mountains and vast forests. Diverse tribes fought for dominance and this added some taste to the plot. This was Wakanda (Africa), an advanced modern technology driven society which managed to maintain her ancient tradition despite contact with external forces. I was excited that the directors brought in reality too. The rigour and stress of power tussle shown in the movie reveals the norm in African societies. Such tussles normally drain the people and her resources. I give Marvel Pictures a big thumbs up. Also, the use of domesticated Rhinos as a war animal kept me glued to the screen. I wanted to see more, though afterwards I was left to ponder on the directors ingenuity. The Black Panther is a good movie. No wonder it is Marvel’s biggest hit yet.

Chadwick Boseman

I can write a long story about this down to earth actor, but that won’t be today. Instead I aim to highlight the exceptional qualities that made him a true king both in cinema and real life.

Chadwick’s fictional character brought colour to the movie. Just like Bruce Wayne with his Batman and Peter Parker with the Spiderman, he switched from being the kind King T’challa to being the strong community vigilante (Black Panther). The good thing is that he used his powers to protect and lead his people. But there’s more to the man who played the Black Panther. He was open, humble, kind, considerate and determined. He wasn’t the loud type so I barely noticed or heard him on the news.

Chadwick’s determination is worth emulating. He didn’t give up when he was diagnosed with colon cancer. Instead he went forward to gift the world great movies. It’s sad to know he did these movies amidst chemotherapies and treatments. Nothing could be depressing. It’s even sadder that he was just starting to a greater future. Who knows, he could have been the next Denzel Washington or Will Smith.

To the King T’challa I’ve this to say: “You brought hope to many African youth“. He has taught that we can be anything we want to be. I picked another lesson from the life of Chadwick Boseman: never jump to judge people because you don’t know the secret battles they are fighting.

Rest in peace King, the Black Panther. Africa mourns you. Wakanda forever!


**Nkosi: King

Categories
Africa Africa, Poetry and Love love poems night poems Poetry

Breathe Again by Njabulo N.

Breathe again,
Like you have just gained yet another chance to live,
Life is not promised but experienced and lived.
I have grown to be a different person,
Different from normal people who do everything like everyone.

My life is not the same anymore,
I wonder why everyone is worried about it,
I no longer pay much attention,
To what the world brings or take,
I no longer pay much attention to the world ending,
I have seen it end for me countless times,
Going to my sleep with no hope left,
Then beginning again the next day.

I breathe again,
To see the darkness leave my life,
I feel like a small forest surviving off of a moon alone,
But I know that my light is extraordinary,
One that can light up the whole universe.
As I breathe again,
I have seen the world coming to an end,
My mind experiencing too many clashes,
Ideas, thoughts arguments, debates,
As my head goes in circles,
I can’t think straight no more.

As I breathe again,
I have lost trust, hope, love and respect,
I don’t believe in that anymore,
I broke the ocean in half to be somewhere,
Only to get there and I was alone,
Felt betrayed as my world crushed into so many pieces.
I lost a smile,
I find it hard to chin up,
As I bury my flower of innocence,
Because my world has shut down, crashed out yet again.

As I breathe again,
I even doubt that I still exist.
I even doubt that I have feelings.
I’m not the same being anymore,
I’m not the one you used to know before.
As I breathe again,
I learnt not to construct forever foundations,
On temporary people.
As I breathe again,
I doubt I will ever see tomorrow,
I don’t see any need of breathing again.

Categories
Africa History love reflection

Mary Slessor and The Killing of Twins

Tradition can be wrong

Sometimes tradition can be wrong. This story is a good one because it tells of a good hearted woman who saved innocent babies and it’s a gruesome story because it exposes the wickedness of ancient African tradition.

Mary Slessor

Mary Slessor, Scottish missionary in Eastern Nigeria, was born in 1848 in Aberdeen. Her father was a shoemaker and her mother a deeply religious woman. The family moved to Dundee in 1858 where Slessor began working in the linen mills at the age of eleven. She joined the local Christian Youth Club and became convinced of a call to be a missionary.

In 1876 the United Presbyterian Church agreed to send her to Calabar as a mission teacher. She worked first in the missions in Old Town and Creek Town but in 1888 went alone to work among the Okoyong. For the rest of her life Slessor lived a simple life in a traditional house with West Africans, concentrating on pioneering. Her insistence on lone stations often led her into conflict with the authorities and gained her a reputation as somewhat eccentric, but she was heralded in Britain as the ‘White Queen of Okoyong’. She was not primarily an evangelist but concentrated on settling disputes, encouraging trade, establishing social changes and introducing Western education.

Slessor frequently campaigned against injustices against women, took in outcasts and adopted unwanted children. In 1892 she was made vice-consul in Okoyong, presiding over the native court and in 1905 was named vice-president of Ikot Obong native court. In 1913 she was awarded the Order of St John of Jerusalem. Slessor suffered failing health in her later years but remained in Africa where she died in 1915.

Mary Slessor lived for a long time among the Efik people in Calabar in present day Nigeria. There she successfully fought against the killing of twins at infancy. Witchcraft and superstition were prevalent in Nigeria when she arrived there because traditional society had been torn apart by the slave trade. Human sacrifice routinely followed the death of a village dignitary, and the ritual murder of twins was viewed by the new missionary with particular abhorrence. Her dedicated efforts to forestall this irrational superstition were to prove a resounding success, as photographs of Mary with her beloved children testify.

She died in Calabar in 1915 and was given a state burial.


My mother lent some of her knowledge: Though as a growing child in thee village, she recalled twins being disposed in forests. As she told this story I imagined crying infants, left in the open forest, clad with nothing but blood fresh from birth and when they cease to cry what fate that befell them.

Mary Slessor was indeed an angel sent to liberate natives of West Africa from barbaric traditional practices.

Categories
Africa Inspiration/Motivation opinion quotes reflection thoughts

Quote on Courage

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. Nelson MandelaAt a time colonial forces and indigenous South Africans fought over land rights and freedoms, a courageous man spoke up for his people. He was imprisoned for decades but that didn’t deter him. His resilience contributed to a free South Africa. We call him Madiba.

Categories
Africa painting quotes reflection thoughts

Muse: The Happy Wind

Poem: The Happy Wind

Greet the happy wind,
Tell him when I waved
My fingers got him bursted

When morning dew is upon the tree line
The sky is sometimes blue and grass is green
Far up the blue horizon the sun shine

Birds sing from the trees all morning
Yet the happy wind: timid and soft will bring
Her entourage to fly on their backs and wings

I open my curtains and window to feel and behold
The beautiful sight of trees, grass and happy wind
A perfect picture never to be imagined

Explaining the painting

This is the first in my paint-writing attempt. I like to paint and then write about the inspiration behind it. I’ve several imperfect drawings and paintings scattered here and there. Some are on the internet, some in the drawer, some under piles of books and others lost.

This is a painting of three palm trees under the hot sun, cloudy skies and strong wind. It may look like grasses on vases but on closer observation will reveal that it’s a view of the horizon. Initially I thought of featuring the Iroko as its greatness will play a better role on the little poem above. But the Iroko is perceived as a great tree and the king of trees in West Africa and it’s not common to see one. Three Iroko trees standing together will even be a bit of stretched imagination.

The bulk of work fell on determining the best layout for the skies. I’m sure no one can define perfectly any natural colour and infact those of the cloud. It will take more than human ingenuity or imagination to achieve that. So no painting can illustrate natural things exactly. Painters just assume. It might be sunny and the clouds blue, it might be rainy and it won’t. I made the passing clouds look like the skies by mixing two blue-based hues. But this is my own version of what the clouds look like.

What do you think? I’ll be doing more painting this weekend. It’s a beautiful morning here. Have a great weekend. ❤️💚

Categories
Africa Africa, Poetry and Love opinion reflection thoughts

Reflection: Counting the Costs 1

At times you need to stop everything you are doing to sit by yourself and mend your broken wings.

Cold evening and a To do list

I sit outside. A cold evening out here with me. A community of crickets quizzing through the grassland. A gust of wind upon my face, swinging my helpless lamp back and forth. The crickets, just like myself must be musing over the changes in weather conditions. Before now the noon was hot. Strong wind blew hot air and it has been two weeks since we saw the last rain. So all is dry. The mud on the once flooded road is cracked up, exposing the debris. I overheard an elderly man speak that the harmattan will come a little bit earlier this year. To me it’s too early to predict. Maybe the earth is recovering after all. I think.

The year is far spent and almost over. Memories of New year’s eve still fresh on my mind. I remember my wish to start my graduate education and to support some friends and relatives with their endeavours. Then the coronavirus pandemic struck and had most plans canceled or postponed. In spite of that, I’ve made outstanding success in some areas. But the year is not over yet.

On relationships

I’ve learned many things about relationships (dating). Sometimes it scares the trees out of my head to even think about those.

I’m not an expert when it comes to dating. In fact I’m not into one at the moment. I’ve observed my close friends try and it’s crystal clear that managing another person’s emotion(s) can be one huge task. Toxic people and relationships can suck the life out of other people. I’ve seen it happen. Yet I know that many relationships can change things for the better.

Categories
Africa proverbs quotes

African Proverb: Be Nice

Be nice to everyone. You never know who your in-laws are going to be.

We won’t know who can be of help tomorrow. Compassion and kindness are great virtues. It can open greater doors!

Ponder on this and have a goodnight. 💕

Categories
Africa culture/tradition Igbo culture lullaby Pastoral

Folklore: The Hippo and His Seven Wives

I heard the Wind tell this story

Storyteller: Ifochakpii!

Audience: Waa!!!

Gather my friends. It’s time to tell a story. It’s time also to hear a tale. Gather by the fireside, warm yourselves. Bring the little ones to the centre. Keep them warmer, for night and her cold hands is nigh. Sit under the branches of the mango tree. From there everyone can see streaks of moon light on the grassland. As you watch the fire lick those dry wood pay attention to this short tale of mine. I’ve heard the wind and sky tell it in different tongues, styles and climes. Listen, because there may be a lesson or two. If not, it might just be another lullaby waiting to help a good night sleep! A good day ends with a good story. Will you like to tell me the lessons you picked? Ifochakpii!! Waaaa!!!

The Hippo and his seven wives

Long time ago when things were not as it was today, there lived a proud Hippo chief. He had seven wives as was the tradition for wealthy animals then. He had a secret name known only to his wives. They knew to keep it unknown to anyone.

One day the Hippo hosted a party and when he made his speech, he put out a challenge to his village people. “I’m afraid my people, if you can’t reveal my name you have to go home hungry. The dishes here will only be available to all when you reveal my name!” The whole congregation was left aghast. All those mouth watering dishes will be left unattended to. Ah! Well some tried to guess his name but got it all wrong.

The animals dispersed hungry. And they say a hungry person is an angry person. Many weeks passed and he hosted another feast. No one was able to reveal his name. Many animals guessed and was wrong. Then the Tortoise rose to speak. “Sir,” he started. “Since you have shamed us severally, can I ask what we stand to gain apart from the feast you have here?” The chief replied him, “Well, I’ll give you my land and retire to live in the river!” It was a tough challenge. He really believed that no one could get his name right. The crowd dispersed hungry again.

Now the Hippo and his wives had a favourite bathing stream, just by the foot of the great baobab. It was a luxurious and private bathing spot acquired by the Hippo for his household.

One day the hippos went down to the stream for a dip. The Tortoise well aware of their movement dug and hid on the soft sand with his hard shell stuck out but disguised as stone. He waited and waited. At last the hippos started back to the village. The chief led the way and was followed by the eldest wife. They went in a single file thereby leaving the youngest wife behind.

When the last wife came to the soft sands the Tortoise raised his shell a little, so that she struck her foot on the hard shell and yelled: “Nnayi ukwu dim oma my husband, come and help me. I struck my foot on a stone!” When the hippos finally left the scene, Tortoise ran back with joy.

A few weeks later the hippos hosted another feast. They had fun mocking other animals. When it was time for name revealing the Hippo marched majestically to the podium to allow animals guess his name. All the animals tried but none could get it. The Tortoise was the last to try.

“Your name is Nnayi ukwu dim oma!”

There was complete silence. Which was broken by a round of applause and sudden feasting when the Hippo’s face dropped. Without words the hippos marched to the river with their belongings. To this day my friends they lived in water. Never to return to land again!

Retold by Oke Iroegbu

Categories
Africa Africa, Poetry and Love night poems

Muse: Look in my eyes

image

Look into my eyes
See how special you are
Feel my heart jump with joy
And that is because you are here

Categories
Africa Africa, Poetry and Love lullaby nature poems night poems Poetry

Night Poem: Stars Glitter

I watch pretty stars glitter
From this fine little window,
When night a perfect picture
Hung across the wide horizon

Fireflies dance around light bulbs
Mighty shadows cast upon my paper
Distracting a work full of life and art
Yet I stare out to behold stars glitter

Categories
Africa Africa, Poetry and Love love poems nature poems Poetry

Tender Love by Njabulo N.

Wasn’t my love enough for you?
In my mind I had concluded that you loved only me,
I thought you were cut from a different cloth,
Like you were not the same like everyone I’ve met.
But clearly, I was lying to myself,
You loved everybody like a campaigning candidate.
I could tell from my basic instincts that the universe loved you also.

You were a loaded gun and I was just a boy,
Because of lust and envy,
They took you for granted, like you were a cheap toy.
Only if I had the courage of pulling the trigger,
I’d had shot you on your head just to blow out your weak brain.

With my mind and heart filled with only love,
I hadn’t imagined my head searching for love lost,
As the absence of love was playing on your mind.
You preferred games over love,
I had promised myself to love you eternally,
I had a feeling that you were exceptional,
Like you were totally different from the rest.

I discovered that I was bluffing,
Only lying to myself, feeding my mind with toxic waste.
You proved me that my love was not enough for you,
I never imagined that you were promiscuous.
You had me believing that I mattered the most,
Of course you were buying my heart.

Our love withered so fast, before the flowers I had on my hands.
It only lasted for just a moment and nothing was left for me,
It was clear that the light was about to reach the night.
My tender love lasted for just a moment,
A moment that cost me,
Had me doubting a lot around me,
I had lost trust on everything, everyone.
Nothing was left on me,
Nothing was left for me.

Categories
Africa Africa, Poetry and Love Nature nature poems Poetry

Muse: Nature’s Circus

1

When you call, your sound rent through the wind
Whispers, songs of the wild, emissary of mother Nature
You send birds, they ‘caw-caw‘, they fly the blue clouds
Making the skies their tuft, and you: their leisure

2

Green trees, red flowers, purple feathers, all in perfect unison
You call to your own, you Baobab, Bee and Flamboyant, you Cheetah,
We listen, we write, we dream of the call, we listen and write again
The days run out, they run fast into the current of the river

3

From wild palms, monkeys dance and display their weird talents
In your joyful reverie you laugh at their circus and happy lust
Each day they play, each day they lived and so each day went
You engage all, blue clouds, buzzing bees and seeds that will burst

4

Down below, beautiful, fine and awesome things exist
Crickets and hoppers play about, worms crawl on the clay
In the quiet mornings the sun must rise to take off the mist
All day and night, there is your song, one we can not say

5

In summer, the hot sun shimmer and shine all day
The blue skies are unperturbed, alligators lay lazy
And mid day, snakes beat the traffic, they make hay
All and all, at the end, you make your lively circus busy

Categories
Africa culture/tradition folklore Igbo culture

Tradition: Storytelling

The African Storytelling Tradition

When I, the storyteller say: Ifochakpii! You the audience will reply: Waa!! (Pronounced as ‘War!’) This is Igbo people’s storytelling tradition. There are different ways of introducing a story to the audience. To the Igbo people it starts with a chant-like ranting that tries to capture the attention of all present. So the storyteller greets his audience in that manner as they reply him in excitement. The storytelling mood is a lively one and such introit may play a role in keeping the mood so.

Storytelling is a unique culture in Africa. Storytellers are revered across the land. We may compare them to the present day actors because they actually act. I can compare storytelling to the modern day stage drama. Storytelling is respected because it passes ancient knowledge and wisdom from one generation to another. It’s a time when everybody, young and old gather to listen and learn about the tradition of a place and life’s virtues through stories told by their ancestors. Though much of these stories have been lost or modified with time, the morals, which is the crux remain intact. Sometimes they act as bedtime stories meant to aid or lull people to sleep. All over the world storytelling precedes reading.

Tortoise: Main Villain & Hero
Growing up in West Africa I came to learn that Tortoise is the dominant character in most stories. He is called Mbo or Mbe in Igbo. Some clans gave him, his wife and children other names. His wife is called Alibo in Ovim. I can’t remember his son’s name but it may not matter for now. The Tortoise play funny and shrewd roles. He is generally perceived as a cheat who goes about causing mischief for others. Sometimes he gets to win, other times he is a loser and a lesson for the little ones. The Tortoise has been featured in many stories, few I can remember myself. He has duped the Boar in one story, deceived the host of birds that lent him a feather each, cursed the spider that saved him from the ghost town and dealt with spirits. In fact he is a star in the African folklore scenario.

Yet why he was chosen for these wonderful roles is what I have not been able to understand. We have bigger, faster, smarter and funnier animals but the Tortoise was picked to play lead roles in most of West Africa’s traditional folklore. Naturally the Tortoise is a slow, lazy and seemingly dumb animal but in tales he is a kingmaker, a genius or the wise one. Looks are truly deceptive in African folklore.

Why should we preserve stories?

Apart from the Tortoise that fell from the birds’ firmament party, no one in reality and fiction had the privilege of falling from the skies. What I mean is that nothing just happens. Every story serves a purpose, be it fact or fiction. And no society is complete without a history, a story. So stories are careful documentations, written or oral. We have histories and traditions to discuss today because people had kept accounts and details of them. I’ll write more on this topic in a separate blog post.

For now, can you tell me which African story is your favourite?

Categories
Africa education Igbo culture languages Nigeria

Igbo Language Alphabet

This is to respond to your requests for a clearer, easy to read Igbo Alphabet, and we’ve come up with this which we believe is simplified. It’s important to take your attention to the structure of the alphabet because it’s the key to unlock your understanding of this beautiful language. Basically 27 distinct letters are contained in this whole 36-letter alphabet, so in every word we can say or write in Igbo language we only use 27 letters. There are times however we need to make certain meanings but the 27 letters on of their own cannot deliver unless one letter tag itself with another (diphthong) for example ‘g’ for ‘gaa’ = (go) and ‘w’ for ‘wete’ = (bring) and ‘gw’ together for ‘gwakota’ = (mix). Also ‘n’ for ‘nata’ = (receive) and ‘y’ for ‘yiri’ = (wear) and ‘ny’ together for ‘nye’ = (give), etc.

Summary:

Igbo alphabet = 36 letters in all, 27 of which are self-sufficient but can also partner with others in 9 different ways for 9 different sounds and meanings.Notice also that letter ‘c’ is the only letter that is not in the alphabet but is married to letter ‘h’ = ‘ch’, which can be used in the word ‘Chineke’= (God the creator).

Categories
Africa Africa, Poetry and Love love poems Nature nature poems Poetry

Flight to Summer – Poetry

There’s a symphony of joy,
See it roar up bright skies!
Emissaries of the aging day
Graceful flights over Africa!

*

It float above the countryside
Leaving to fresh, green fields,
Above those endless forests
Where hope still lived ahead

*

Each journey is to an unknown promise,
Somewhere between joy and pain
But fly they must: the fair geese
Up the blue clouds, a life only known to them