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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 culture/tradition education folklore Nature nature poems Nigeria Pastoral Poetry

Poetale: The Nomad

When twilight came
I took a walk, for some air
And down the roadside I went.
There a young man stood
Bearded heavily unlike myself
Throwing corn seeds into his mouth
And grinding them with such relish
That his brown teeth showed off
He stood a little close to my fence
And I decided to go chat with him
He smiled when I came close
He doesn’t look like someone from here
Yes, I seen those tribal marks somewhere
He must be from the North,
Sannu!‘ I hailed
Sannuku!‘ he replied
Eying me carefully
‘Do you wanti some agwado?’
‘No thank you.’ I replied
I saw his garment flow up,
Sailing with the mild breeze
Like a kite on rampage
The dress leaned deep into his flesh
And his muscles exposed
Kai, do you speak Hausa?’ he asked
‘No, very poor in that regard,’ I answered
‘Okay oh,’ he turned to call his cattle
Then I realised he was a shepherd
I relaxed a bit, wearing a new smile
My new friend must have something
To tell me about his travels and animals
He saw my smile and grinned
‘Tell me about your best and worst times,
Of shepherding and your herd’
I started without thinking…
‘My best time is when my herd feed
On a valley full of healthy green grass’
He said in nearly perfect English
‘When the sun is high above the firmament
When cows give birth in the dead night
And when I hear my favourite calf moo,’
He closed his eyes to remember more
‘What about your worst moments?’
It seemed I shoved him back from his dream,
For he suddenly opened his red eyes
And shot a blazing stare at my mouth
‘Why are there wars in Africa?
Why men kill each other?
Why are streams dry
And oceans rising?’
He asked with a frown.
‘I was born into such society
That settle disputes with violence
There’s hate, tribalism and distrust
Tribe against tribe, people against people
And hate is substituted for love…’
He pulled a twig off the long grass
‘How can we live in a society without love,
Without faith and trust for one another?
Why fight and not dialogue to achieve peace?
Why bomb a land already stricken with drought?
And cause lack of food and drinking water?’
The air grew colder…
‘I tell you I have seen things. It is time to go home…’
He said painfully, holding his stick back
‘Well as for my worst moments
I see people suffer, Yes I have
For nothing sake, I hate to see children suffer
And people suffer for other people’s crimes and atrocities
It makes little sense to me but that is the world,
We love and live in. Injustice, inequality, intolerance, ignorance…’
I could see through his pain…
‘It is only love that can save us all,’
He said as his flock gathered together
Tssski-ing, he called them, making a clicking sound from his tongue,
Hanging his long stick and hat behind his back,
He waved heartily and marched off, leading his cattle away,
I realise that the world still have some beauty and good in it


Commentary.
Sannu… Hausa salute
Agwado… Corn in Hausa


The Hausa/Fulani is a tribe spread across West Africa and predominantly in present day Northern Nigeria. They are known for their unique culture, tradition, arts and food.

Categories
Africa Africa, Poetry and Love education lifestyle Nature opinion

Modern Scramble for Africa

A Bitter Pill

What comes to your mind when you hear about Africa? Savages. Poverty. War ravaged. Disease. Uneducated? Let’s face it, Africa is what it is today because ‘the world’ contributed in keeping it so. We’re only poor by the world’s standard. This is a bitter pill.

Another Scramble for Africa?

The economic hustle and rivalry between the East and West is rooted in selfish interest and greedy conquest. Capitalism vs Communism. Colonialism. Imperialism. Gold-plated forms of modern slavery, with Africa almost at the middle of the tug of war. It’s unfolding to me that some nations are already on course for a second conquest of Africa. It’s easy to play on the gullible African mind. So we trust so easily. We corrupt easily too. The first recorded conquest began late 18th century, when European nations sat on a table to share Africa’s land, people and resources (Scramble for Africa). Not even an African was present to discuss his people’s future but many will play roles in keeping the roots of colonialism watered later. I’ll like to note that more nations has joined this hustle for Africa’s resources. Recently, African children and women in search of greener pastures travel abroad to work as laborers. Some end up in drug peddling and prostitution. Late 18th century saw the European slavers draw up agreements and maps that will enable them exploit Africa’s abundant resources. Now these countries in addition to new arrivals sabotage each other economically to achieve their aims. Every Greek gift; loan, grant and aid play a role in modern slavery. Foreign governments want African resources for themselves and this is not because they care for Africa. I follow trends concerning Africa. I see how Africans are treated abroad. Yet these countries are foremost in exploiting African people and resources. I’ve this to say to all modern slavers: Stay away from Africa.

Kafala System

Have you heard of the Kafala system? The concept is based on buying people to work in private homes abroad. I’ll tell you why I used buy. This idea originated from the Middle East and it’s backed by law. Normally a sponsor (family) pays local and foreign agents to recruit domestic workers (mostly females from Africa and Southern Asia) to work in their homes. On arrival most of these workers are converted to slaves. They are exploited and treated inhumanly by their sponsors.

Let’s look at what may qualify one as a modern slave: when physically abused for no reason, personal belongings like phones and travel documents seized, under fed, locked up in the house when others go out, raped and sexually abused, not allowed to sleep on a bed or couch, sometimes not paid as when due or at all, ignored when sick or just asked to take pain reliever for every kind of sickness, works from morning till night (with little or no rest) and not allowed to socialize. What will you call that? I made the list after my interaction with many victims of the Kafala slavery. Some who had the boldness to speak to me revealed that their mistresses value their dogs over them. Some countries have failed to make laws that protect the rights of domestic workers. This is shameful. Shame to anyone who treats another human as slave. We’re not free until every man is free. Now activists ask that Kafala be abolished. I’m in full support. Abolish Kafala now or make laws that will protect the rights of domestic workers. Abolish all forms of modern slavery now!

Modern slavery goes beyond this flawed Kafala system. Consider rich nations that control the resources of another. That’s modern slavery. When a country instigate chaos in another country. That’s modern slavery. When a country interferes in another’s election or economic decision. That’s modern slavery. Those points may not define slavery exactly but as far as there are elements of exploitation and lack of total freedom, it’s slavery to me.

The end

By now you might have noticed my obsession for Africa. It’s a beautiful place honestly. It’s only bedeviled by bad leadership. Bad leaders contribute to Africa’s suffering. Yet some are only corrupt because of foreign influence and interference. So I won’t blame all African leaders completely for Africa’s woes.

I’ll end with the words of Pocahontas: If you walk the footsteps of a stranger you’ll learn things you never knew you never knew. We’re only poor when measured by the world’s standard.

Categories
Africa, Poetry and Love education lifestyle nature poems opinion

Poets Corner: What Is Beauty?

JUST A LITTLE STORY
Let me tell you a little story. I remember a picture story of a man that sat close to a girl in a park. The first image portrayed the man as ugly, dressed in unbuttoned black shirt, with all manner of rings, deep scars and tattoos. The pretty girl was dressed in angelic white gown with curly hair. Now both had one hand behind their backs so that no one could see what they held. People (including myself) admired this lovely girl (and oh my, she was cute). On another image their hands were revealed. The raggedy man held a bunch of flowers and the pretty girl had a sharp knife. The knife made me rethink how lovely I previously thought she was. Looks are deceit.

WHAT BEAUTY IS TO ME

Beauty is everything that makes someone or a thing pleasing, attractive or fine. To me beauty goes beyond the physical. To some it may just be things they see or feel. Blue clouds, sunset, corn fields, white beaches, red lips or moon shine may appeal to sight. Yes they are natural things we feel or see. Another person may look at them as common and nothing special. Everyone has a viewpoint. When I admire flowers that grow by the roadside, it may just be a weed to someone else. Beauty is when we see things differently. An Indian actor said that “Beauty is in the eyes of the beer-holder.” I agree but one may not need a beer to see.


I love it when poets discuss issues. I and Adekunle Ridwan VW moderated on the topic and compiled what poets has to say. I hope you enjoy this.

WHAT IS BEAUTY?

Rose Marie Raccioppi says that beauty are WORDS… Letters that call to be sounded, silent ones in support… and so BEAUTY calls to Being, Exchange, Aspiration, Unity, Truth, Yielding to the grace of creation. Be this known heart to heart. The petals of a flower, the fingers of a hand… Beauty in its manifestation, in its giving. Maxwell Rae says it’s seeing beyond the flesh of anything and seeing the beauty in everything.

Ricky Guiang said beauty is calmness and serenity. Beau Blanchard says it is a recognition of peace and comfort in and with another individual. Ashley Yelhsa has this to say, “Beauty is the magnifying radiance and essence of all things good and pleasant with a hug and a kiss of grace with Its loving kind and gentle nature. It’s the sweet savoury of all things pleasant and good.” Theo Perry says “a Poet’s perception to beauty is a line of being genuine, a display of confidence, a portray of positive love. Each one entails more to please with a smile.”

Cathy Deslippe aptly put it thus: “To some beauty is what you see. To others it’s a scent. The sound of a child’s laughter. A gift you haven’t opened yet. For me beauty is the opportunity, to write poetry.” Bella Michel puts it thus: “Little details. Small moments. Genuine emotions. Spectating on large events and taking in the details as an observer. Silence is beauty. Solace is beauty.”

C. J. Mitchell has it that beauty is whatever intrigues and inspires the soul in any given moment. Esther Cenat said beauty is subjective. Left to interpretation. Barbara Newman said that beauty is colours. Rich Granvold opined “Beauty is what is seen with the eyes of our hearts.” R. Paul Howell said beauty is transparency.

David Gammon has this to say, “beauty can be many things to us. For me personally, it is a space, an area of nature. Rolling hills and valleys. A sunrise, the smell of wet ground after a shower. To me, beauty is defined in words and actions. If I meet someone on my rounds that isn’t obliquitious and judgemental, then that is beautiful. I have met people who look pretty outside, but inside have nothing but bullshit to offer. You know the sort, the one that will bad-mouth you.
Some of the best people I have ever met and known in my 50 years existence have had mental illness or not been good looking. I embrace our imperfections, because that is what makes us human.” He went further: “Beauty is defined not in the fine lines of a careless whisper, but in the actions of one.” Kami Velasquez supported, “Beauty is the gift of giving with no thought for anything in return.”

“Life itself is proper definition of beauty. With all its ups and downs, happiness and sorry… because one side is always incomplete. And what can be more complete than life.” Pranaj Raj. Mattie Green says “Beauty is in everything I see, live and breathe it. Beauty is what the eyes cannot truly see it’s a healing that took place before life and even after death it’s a beauty that no one can see. It’s an aroma. It’s a taste and see with your mouth lips and tongue. It’s as refreshing as the morning light and as beautiful as itself is indeed. Beauty has no definition but can be defined by others.”

R. J. Williams believe that there’s no one correct universal answer. “To some, beauty is a flower with a bee pollinating it. To Jeffrey Dahmer type people, beauty is dismembered body parts on a dinner table.” Read A. Paul Owens, “Beauty is everything that inspires any kind of lust. From sexual to just. Beauty raised 10,000 armies and rode peace on 10,000 sunsets. Beauty is living each day in the moment with the absence of regrets. Beauty is making love to someone you can’t live without. With every orgasm growing greater the absence of doubt. Beauty is the innocents in a childs mind. As they fulfill their dreams playing with toys they find.”

To Ugomma Ezewuiro, beauty is simply life! While Hitendra Kumar Shrivas said beauty is Nature, nothing else. Sameh Ibrahim quipped that beauty is being. Dom Capobianco offered that beauty is just a human concept. Nancy Melendez says it is authenticity and Bethan Williams called it truth. Charlotte Gunning’s offered that “it is not a shape but a mindset and the best indicator of it is self confidence.” Elizabeth Folsy says it’s that which makes the heart sing.

Kristine Perito’s idea goes with mine. She said “Simply put, beauty is different things to different people.” Vanda Kudlackova said beauty is being yourself. To end Millie Richie Kiefer says it is everything and nothing!

FEATURED POEMS ON BEAUTY

Mike Noxaura

A baby cooing.
A star going nova.
The smile of a bride.
The blush of a teenage boy.
The laughter, unafraid of a grandma
The solid advice of a grandpa.
The wind in the trees
A tiger on the hunt.
The smell of sage and sweet grass burning in a sweat lodge.
The peyote and ayahuasca visions.
Fresh grilled veggies.
Laying in the arms of love.
A healthy poop.
A cold glass of lemonade on a hot summer’s day.
Children playing.

What is beauty?
Life in action, but just contemplation.

Bryan Perkins c/o L. N. O.

The currency of the mind
In my eyes
It’s the flaws that drive me crazy,
To me the true beauty of a woman is in her flaws,
That’s what distinguishes her from the all rest
Every man desires a beautiful woman
But no man desires a flawless woman
And when you find that woman
And fall in love with her flaws,
You have then found a flawless woman
Imperfection is everyone’s
Most brutally beautiful feature
So thank you,
For being perfect,
Not for the world,
But perfect for me

Anju Kalra Sethi

Thank you dear God
For down by my sidewalk
Under the shining Sun
I saw a pretty little purple butterfly
It stirred me up
In stillness I grew and encountered the hidden me in mine
Underneath layers and layers of shields and swords to linger on
to the thought I dwelled in
Caressing love leaf twinned pines and roses
Further more
While I kept the walking feet the pretty creature fathomed
Filled me with more some love
Thank you might today tomorrow be let it .
Listen memories in this moment I am fine

Adekunle Ridwan VW

What’s beauty?

The world of creation;

The gentle smile of a little child.
The sparking of the stars and glimmering sunshine.
The radiant colours of the rainbow.
The grace that flows from a river that never runs dry.
The sweet melodious song emanating from the skylark.
The abyss of the ocean.

What’s beauty?

The smile;

So tender
Contagious
Captivating
Heart melting
Crystal clear.

What’s beauty?

The words;

Soothing
Appealing
Pacifying
Alluring
Enchanting.

What’s beauty?

A virtue;

Love
Kindness
Honesty
Respect
Forgiveness.

Beauty is

A great phenomenon;
Indescribable
Unending
Immeasurable
Overwhelming

The world is beauty!
The heaven is beauty!!
God is beauty!!!


So what comes to your mind when you hear the word beauty? Have a great day.

Categories
Africa, Poetry and Love education opinion

Opinion: The 2020 World University Rankings

As children in the typical agrarian world of Northern Cross River State, Nigeria, it was the tradition for mothers to leave their young babies in the care of the older ones while the mothers went to distant farms. Across the day the older children grappled with the occasional frustrating cries of their baby-siblings, sometimes grappled with hunger and even with the sheer anxiety of being left alone at home to fend for their younger siblings without an adult. At the onset of evening hours mothers began trickling back from the farms. For the child whose mother had not arrived, it was a great moment of anxiety, of frustration and worry; and it was this situation that gave birth to the usual children’s short song, addressed to the beetle called “Whukpalib” in the Bette-Bendi lingo. The short song goes: “Whukpalib-eh, whukpalib, whukpalib-eh, whukpalib, everyone else is arriving [home], but my mother isn’t arriving!”

This was the song that leaped to my lips early this month as I flipped through the list of names in the 2020 world ranking of universities as released by the Centre for World University Rankings. My non-arriving mother in this case was, first, the name of any Nigerian university, and then the name of any African university. Three of the first four mothers to arrive were neighbours from South Africa: the University of Cape Coast at number 268; the University of KwaZulu-Natal being number 477; while the third neighbour was University of Johannesburg, which is the 706th on the list out of the 2000 universities recorded. The other African university is Cairo University, Egypt, which is the 558th on the list. The next neighbouring mother to arrive was Uganda’s Makere University, which was established in the same 1948 as Nigeria’s premier university, the University of Ibadan, by the British colonial government. Makere came up as the 923th best university in the world; yet, my real mother, the first Nigerian university to arrive, didn’t come up until I got to serial number 1,163, where I found our own great University of Ibadan. This places this best Nigerian university four times below the best in South Africa, University of Cape Coast. Down the list another Nigerian mother arrived at number 1,882, the University of Nigeria. This is only 118 universities away from the bottom of the list of 2000; and that ended the arrival of my Nigerian university mothers from distant farms.

Beyond the anxiety about seeing or not seeing the names of Nigerian universities coming up on the list, there were musings and reflections and some fun, too, around me as I went down the list. I was always pleased to find the names of some of the universities around the world that I’ve had some close career and professional involvements with, or have heard about, or whose histories I am familiar with, or in which I have some friends. For instance, my heart experienced glow when I saw the names of a few of the universities in New York which I’d visited as a Fulbright scholar. Similarly, I was excited to find on the list names from among the cluster of universities in India’s Tamil Nadu axis, whose doctoral candidates I have examined for over 15 years now. The Ghanaian age mate of Nigeria’s University of Ibadan, University of Ghana, Legon, whose campus I am reasonably familiar with, came up also a bit late at number 1,346. Even at this number, it turned up earlier than Kumasi’s Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, which surfaced at number 1,460. The arrival of certain four universities or so stirred up goose pimples all over me. They are Wuhan University (243), Wuhan University of Technology (555), Wuhan University of Science and Technology (1381) and Wuhan Institute of Technology (1494). Whenever a Wuhan name appeared, I thought of my nose mask and hand sanitizer as emblems of covid-19!

Malaysia’s Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (National University of Malaysia) has some special significance to me. I was at this great university in 2005 when the results of the world rankings of universities for that period were announced and Malaysia’s best universities shifted a little backward from where they had been in the preceding rankings. The reactions from Malaysians shocked me pleasantly. The daily newspapers were awash with queries and criticisms and anxiety by almost all Malaysians; and it looked like the citizens were going to ask for the sacking of the minister of education. I bought some of the papers just to show Nigerians what education meant to citizens of some other countries. But not many persons I gave the papers to saw anything striking in the fact that the entire citizenry were so concerned about the state of the nation’s universities. Also, it was at this university that I saw how much serious-minded governments cherish intellection as a necessary synergy between the gown and the town. Here was where I found directors from government ministries participating actively in the international conference and taking down notes most furiously and copiously to factor into the business of running government. And it was here, too, that I experienced the then-former Prime Minister (He is back as Prime Minister at over 90 years, though), Dr Mahathir Ibn Mohammed, presenting a keynote address on the nation’s language policy, and making vital intellectual contributions that define the boundary between the need to promote one’s mother tongue for use in the domestic domains, and the English language for global and international communication. Yet, Dr Mahathir Ibn Mohammed is a medical doctor by training.

As I went down the list, my mind also reflected on the Nigerian university system. Here is a nation whose University of Ibadan was rated among the best ten universities within the Commonwealth at a time Commonwealth nations looked down on the American university system, generally; but today Ibadan can only take a miserable 1,163th position among world universities. Here is a nation whose universities’ products Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu boasted proudly of as being responsible for the scientific and technological feats the Biafrans recorded during the unfortunate Civil War. Here is a nation whose children who have managed to find their way out of the country are excelling everywhere they find themselves in the world. Here is a nation whose products as teachers and researchers are making breakthroughs in all manner of human endeavours wherever the environment is education-friendlier. Here is the same nation forming a huge valley among the world’s universities today. And as I went down the list, images of some of our current gladiators in government flitted past my head. I could see the Honourable Minister of Labour seated, his beard of affluence in place, sipping a healthy cup of coffee or tea, a resting newspaper in front with just the labour-related stories asterisked for him as he thinks of what rough tackle to use in “defeating” the nation’s striking university lecturers. I can see the Honourable Minister of Finance, her venom whetted and ready to strike further at the university lecturers’ salaries. I can see her loyal subaltern, the Accountant-General, with his Director in charge of IPPIS, ready with a fresh punch at the lecturers’ lean earnings. And then as I continued down the list, my eyes stumbled on the image of the Honourable Minister of Education struggling against odds to explain the tragedy entailed in killing education. He looks strange and alone among his colleagues in his favourable posturing towards ASUU’s system-saving interventionist measures.

These images invoked severe pain in me as I looked at my great nation almost absent from the comity of world’s universities. Not that all Nigerians do not know the truth about ASUU’s struggles for the survival of public universities, two of which are the ones represented on this year’s rankings of world universities. Many Nigerians know and are truly sad about the situation. For instance, while we, the Nigerian lecturers, were deliberately starved during the Covid-19 total lockdown, my great friend, Kayode Komolafe of Thisday newspaper, strengthened me much. He assured me that when the history of this country will be written, ASUU will have a place of gold in the account as that is the only union that is sincerely fighting a lone battle for the survival of Nigeria’s universities. When he mentioned that ASUU is fighting a battle that all Nigerians ought to be fighting, I remembered my Malaysian and Ghanaian experiences. At independence in 1957, Ghanaians decided to insulate education from politics such that any government, military or civilian, that tampers with the nation’s education, faces the wrath of the entire citizenry, not just the actors in the education sector alone. Another great mind, Pastor Udeme Ukpong, used the story of the snake which bit repeatedly the hand that wanted to save it from a fire as an illustration of how Nigerians are destroying or biting incessantly the ASUU that is battling to save the nation’s education system. And who are these snakes? The government, which should take the glory for having a healthy system of education, the parents who should be happy that their children are being given a globally competitive education quality; and the students themselves, who should be appreciative of being properly baked for survival in a competitive world. The student body, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), especially under the successive treacherous and leadership of Yinka Gbadebo (under the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan) and Bamidele Akpan (under the current administration of President Mohammadu Buhari) simply spent more time daring the lecturers to please the government than fighting for the improvement of the education sector.

Further, in a rather pensive, almost mournful tone, one of my most gracious and promising former students, who now resides in Britain, said to me, “Sir, we all know what ASUU is fighting for. The Union certainly wants the system to survive, but I doubt that the Union will achieve its goal because the British economy will be seriously and negatively affected if the Nigerian education system regains its good state of health. You need to know how much this country [Britain] makes every year from fees paid by Nigerian students; and the people here [in Britain], who control our governments back home would never allow any positive changes in the state of our education”. Not that this was new to me or to my colleagues; but the import of the statement is that it was coming from a non-ASUU member, a patriotic, altruistic and well informed Nigerian who told me she was still proud of her Nigerian university education background in spite of the lack of facilities and the strikes that had truncated her learning while here.

In sum, while the atmosphere in other countries must be charged now with robust discussions about how their countries fared in this year’s world ranking of universities, Nigerians, with only two out of the nation’s over 200 universities making the list at 1163 and 1882 respectively, are quiet and going about their businesses as if this nation is no longer a part of the world – or can only share the world’s woes such as in Covid-19. Still worse is the fact that while the rest of the world’s governments are either celebrating the enhanced positions of their universities in the rankings or working towards improvement in the education sector, the gladiators in the Nigerian government led by the ministers of labour and finance, and armed with the crude implement known as IPPIS (Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System), is busy plucking the few feathers that are left in the body of the bird called Nigerian University System through the current sacking of contract and visiting lecturers. Thus, like the racist former American White police officer, Derek Chauvin, who savagely pinned down the African American George Floyd to death late last month with his knee, the knee of the Nigerian government is on the neck of the Nigerian university system, and the system cannot now breathe given the sacking of lecturers on contract and visiting appointments, government’s dragging of feet over the renegotiation of its agreement with ASUU, government’s reluctance to pay the lecturers their long overdue earned academic allowances, government’s repeated reneging on the provision of fund for revitalization, and the now routine amputation of even their already paltry monthly deceptions called salaries. Strangely, however, the Nigerian students themselves, their parents and most of the Nigerian populace are either urging the government to press its knee harder on the neck of the lecturers or struggling to lend a knee to government’s murderous one already on the neck of the nation’s education system, while the advanced economies that have programmed the system to this death watch with satisfaction, their universities showing up very early in the list of any world rankings of universities. Meanwhile, the Nigerian nation remains represented in this year’s world rankings by only the University of Ibadan, which comes up at 1,163, and the University of Nigeria, which takes the 1,882th position out of the 2000 universities on the list.

– Professor Joseph A. Ushie

Categories
Africa Africa, Poetry and Love culture/tradition education folklore Igbo culture lifestyle Nigeria opinion proverbs

Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart: Proverbs and Meaning

Onye aturu ilu kowaa ya, ego eji luo nne ya efuola ohia.

Before I start this post permit me to greet Igbo people; those who own the proverbs I’m about to explore; Ndi Igbo kwenu! Ekelem unu o. Ndewonu.


•Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe on Igbo traditional Isi-agu attire

INTRODUCTION: PROVERBS

There are many definitions for proverbs but as it is said that all routes lead to Rome, we won’t go far. Instead we’ll look at a definition that highlights the key points we seek. Proverb (Ilu in Igbo language) is a phrase expressing a basic truth which maybe applied to common situations. The Igbo defined it thus: Ilu bu mmanu eji eri okwu, (meaning that proverbs are oil with which we eat words). This explains literally that words are eaten and that proverbs helps to digest it. Proverbs are at the center of every African conversation. The traditional village council convene in proverbs, the trader and blacksmith converse in proverbs, and children even play with it. Parents speak to little ones in proverbs, so a visitor may expose himself if he is unable to follow the community trend. It is common to hear people speak in proverbs in Africa. This proves that proverbs are very important in African societies. Likening it to the saying that the “Leopard can’t shed its spots” – the average African won’t speak much without using proverbs to oil the conversation. African proverbs are rich sources of wit and wisdom. Now let us look at the proverbs we encounter in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart.

PROVERBS IN THINGS FALL APART AND THEIR EXPLANATION

In the book “Things Fall Apart” the people of Umuofia which represented the larger African society used proverbs extensively. As a book set in pre-colonial times it dwells on the effects of colonialism and imperialism on the African society. In this section I’ll be exploring the proverbs Achebe mentioned in his book. I’ll explain its general meaning in context of modern usage. I will also set all proverbs on bolded letters.

1. Proverbs are the palm oil with which words are eaten.

This means that proverbs makes conversations easier and understandable. It suggests that proverbs are words of wit which gives deeper insight to statements.

2. If a child washes his hands he can eat with kings.

In ancient Igbo culture children are not allowed to eat with elders from the same plate. This is a show of respect and honour. So this means that a child is allowed to dine with his elders or the king only if he achieves or did something exceptionally great.

3. When the moon is shining the cripple becomes hungry for walk.

This may read hilarious, the cripple is basically someone who has lost ability to walk. This proverb is talking about enticing opportunities that may strike up unrealistic hope.

4. A man who pays respect to the great, paves the way for his own greatness.

Is it not said that respect is reciprocal? Only that in this case we are more tilted to giving honour to whom it is due. The Igbo is a very proud people, they are known to disregard unfavorable royal order. It is believed that every man is king in his own house. Respect is earned and not just attributed in Igbo and other African societies.

5. Let the kite perch and let the eagle perch too. If one says no to the other let his wings break.

In Igbo land the general philosophy is live and let live. This proverb summarize this philosophy.

6. An old woman is always uneasy when dry bones are mentioned.

People tend to be uncomfortable when negative issues concerning them are discussed.

7. Eneke the bird says that since men have learned to shoot without missing, he has learned to fly without perching.

This talks about understanding strategies one can use to overcome issues. Life is dynamic, and people must learn to change with it.

8. Looking at the King’s mouth one would think he never sucked at his mother’s breasts.

If you consider how arrogant people talk or behave you may think they are invisible. We can also say that the king actually is representing the crown and thus say that he is too confident that one may think he is fearless. Which may not always be the case.

9. Those whose palm-kernels were cracked by a benevolent spirit should not forget to be humble.

Some people are just privileged in life, while many are not. Some inherit wealth and empires while others had to build from the scratch as the case of Okonkwo in the book. The proverb speaks of being humble when one is more privileged than others.

10. A proud heart can survive a general failure because such a failure does not prick its pride.

This suggest that proud people may never know when they fail because of their attitude.

11. When mother cow is chewing grass its young ones watch its mouth.

This suggests that we teach by our actions or deeds.

12. A baby on its mother’s back does not know the way is long.

It is left for the one who works hard to determine how much hard work he did. You can feed people with your earnings but not everyone knows how much time and effort you had to work.

13. If one finger brought oil it soils the others.

This explains that one persons action may affect everyone.

14. There is nothing to fear from someone who shouts.

In Igbo land it is always assumed that people who make noise are cowards. The English version is the empty drum makes the loudest noise.

15. A child can not pay for his mother’s milk.

This explains itself. One won’t pay for what rightly belongs to him.

16. Whenever you see a toad jumping in broad daylight, know that something is after its life.

People do not visit another for nothing. They might have come to ask for help. Something must be the reason for every action. Another version of this is the toad does not jump during the day if nothing is pursuing it.


The explanation for the Proverbs are my opinion. I’m available for discussion on African literature and Igbo culture/traditions. Drop a comment or query here or on the contact me page.

© Oke Iroegbu

Categories
Africa education Nature Nigeria

Yankari National Park

•Hippo Lake, Kainji National Park, Nigeria

West Africa is home to many nature reserves and Nigeria has a fair share. In-between those colourful coastal cities and hot towns of the Sahara, there are protected parks that are worth visiting. Yankari is one of them.

Yankari National Park is a large wildlife park located in the south-central part of Bauchi State, in northeastern Nigeria. It covers an area of about 2,244 square kilometres (866 sq mi) and is home to several natural warm water springs, as well as a wide variety of flora and fauna. Its location in the heartland of the West African savanna makes it a unique way for tourists and holidaymakers to watch wildlife in its natural habitat. Yankari was originally created as a game reserve in 1956, but later designated Nigeria’s biggest national park in 1991. It is the most popular destination for tourists in Nigeria and, as such, plays a crucial role in the development and promotion of tourism and ecotourism in Nigeria. It is also one of the most popular eco-destinations in West Africa.

Yankari National Park is an important refuge for over 50 mammal species including African bush elephant, Olive baboon, Patas monkey, Tantalus monkey, roan antelope, western hartebeest, West African lion, African buffalo, waterbuck, bushbuck, leopards and hippopotamus.

There are also over 350 species of bird found in the park. These birds include the saddle-billed stork, guinea fowl, grey hornbill, and the cattle egret.

Yankari is recognized as having one of the largest populations of elephants in West Africa, estimated at more than 300 in 2005.

When you draw up your travel list, include this beautiful jewel in the heart of Nigeria’s savanna.

Categories
Africa education haiku lifestyle Nature opinion Poetry reflection rhyme Series

What I think of Poverty (Poetry)

What if I told you a poem of poverty
Will you wave it off and call me silly?
I will tell you what I think
Why communities continue to sink,
School children trek miles to get a bus
Their worn-out shoes make it worse,
Bright girls will deliberately miss school
Sanitary pads their excuse, without it a woe,
There is a lad sitting near the street bend
His foot sore, his hair torn in the wind,
He is a victim of poverty, he has no home
So he and others sit it out, in rain and storm,
Slavery, a grandchild of poverty takes
People, in order to help for goodness sake,
She humbly breaks the back of hard-working men
And throw their conquered will into her mothers den,
Cold night won’t help anyone either
She is cruel to both the rich and the pauper,
Poverty gave a meal once a day
To wish deceitful luxuries away,
If poverty was a product and so man-made
It is dished as soup in fancy bottles of pomade,
Now will you sit with me and reason
About wealth that is tactfully hidden
And enjoyed by those we trust with votes?
You will agree that poverty is not by choice

Categories
Africa culture/tradition education lifestyle Love and Christianity opinion Series

Quotes on Children

Seeing a child laugh or smile at me gives me exceptional joy. As a math teacher, I am privileged to work with them. I have collected some quotes on children to celebrate my love for them.
  • “Every child you encounter is a divine appointment.” – Wess Stafford
  • “Children are like wet cement: whatever falls on them makes an impression.” – Haim Ginott
  • “Children are the hands by which we take hold of heaven.” – Henry Ward Beecher
  • “You have to love your children unselfishly. That is hard. But it is the only way.” – Barbara Bush
  • “Children make your life important.” – Erma Bombeck
  • “Hugs can do great amounts of good, especially for children.” – Diana, Princess of Wales
  • “The best inheritance a parent can give his children is a few minutes of his time each day.” – Orlando Aloysius Battista
  • “Always kiss your children goodnight, even if they’re already asleep.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
  • “Children are not casual guests in our home. They have been loaned to us temporarily for the purpose of loving them and instilling a foundation of values on which their future lives will be built.” – James Dobson
Let’s put smiles on those little faces. Have a happy day! 😊

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Categories
Africa education lifestyle Nature opinion Pastoral reflection

Letter: Heal today

Dear Friends,

I always talk about forgiveness because someone out there needs to let go. Life is designed in such manner that people may not always have it as they wish or want. So disappointments, heartbreaks, hurt, betrayal and pain are unfortunately part of life. Being good does not guarantee that people will be good to you. Loving does not guarantee a returned love. But letting go is best attitude. It is in our best interest to let go. Never go sour because the world is sour. Be different and heal your world.

I want you to heal today. I want you to let go of waiting for appreciation or apologies, of worrying about unreturned affections, of crying over the past. I want you to forgive yourself and everyone who had wronged you. A life lived on gratitude, love and peace is priceless. May you receive the love you put out there today.

Love ❤,

Oke

Categories
Africa culture/tradition education Nature

Beautiful Eswatini! (Images)

The Kingdom of Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland is a Southern African country bordered by South Africa and Mozambique. The kingdom is known for it’s unique culture and beautiful countryside.

If you ever visit this beautiful country make sure you taste the local beer. There’s a lot of animals and birds to see too. Immerse yourself in Africa’s beauty.

Visit Africa? #SafariAfrica

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Categories
Africa culture/tradition education folklore Nature Pastoral Poetry

Amuse: African Ostrich

1.
To you my feathery friend I write
In greying fields your fur I sight
Dangling by your sides are wings,
A tall neck, from which you may sing

2.
Caw caw, caw caw are your favourite words
The wind is your friend, the soil your playground,
The shrub is home, to it you rest when weary,
Your legs are strong, your claws even deadly

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3.
Evenings are for your quick runaways
You send stray rodents scampering away
I am not ashamed of your beautiful bald head
But you my fluffy friend, you are an amazing bird

4.
In the morning your scent fill the farmyard
You stand taller than scarecrows in our land

To have you here, beautiful and tall bird
Is a queer muse, but one of absolute good

Categories
Africa culture/tradition education folklore Lessons from Experiences lifestyle Love and Christianity Nature Pastoral Poetry

Love knows no colour

Love knows no pink, no blue, no colour; it knows no creed, no silence, no mumblings, no religion or association. It will learn nothing that brings shame or pain or hurt to others and one’s environment.

Love preys on no one, it knows no greed and no self. Like fresh leaves falling quietly away from the mother tree, love spreads gifts of kindness and compassion wherever it goes.

Love someone genuinely today.

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Categories
Africa culture/tradition education Nigeria opinion reflection Series

Amnesty Int’l Letter: Children’s Day 2020

Dear Okechukwu,

I wish a happy Children’s Day to all the children in your life.

But as I write to you today, my heart goes out to all the children detained in Northeast Nigeria and caught up in endless violence at the hands of Boko Haram and the Nigerian military.

They were taken away from their families and had their childhood revoked – they were forced to become child soldiers and child wives, subjected to atrocious violence. They were detained unlawfully, often with adults, in grossly inhumane conditions. They were ill-treated and tortured.

And now, as they attempt to recover, hundreds of schools remain closed – 75% of children in Borno State are out of school.

We’re launching a report on the toll of Nigeria’s Northeast conflict on children today.

Nigeria must swiftly reverse its course and bring redress to children in the Northeast.

Kind wishes,
E. I.
Campaigner, Amnesty International Nigeria

***

I received this heart breaking email from Amnesty International Nigeria. As I read through, it dawned on me that there’s little or nothing to celebrate today. Bad leadership, political unrest, insurgency, religious crisis and poverty contributed to issues faced by children today. I always mention bad leadership because it is at the centre of it all.

It’s frightening when I look at reported cases of abuse (and what about unreported cases?) Children rights are abused on daily basis. Even as we celebrate their day, many will go to bed without food, many will never attend school in their lifetime, many may never have the chance to live (a normal life). What is really going on?

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Is it not awful that in today’s civilized world which had conquered diseases, deserts and drought, that children rights are taken lightly? They have become main victims of forced labour, teenage pregnancy, sexual/physical abuse, trafficking, child soldiers etc. I hope that things change for good.

I dedicate the poem below to children, all over the world. I echo what many may never have the chance to ask for:

Give me books and a pen,
Promise me nothing but education
Teach me words or to count one to three
And I’ll paint the world for you to see

Today being Children’s Day, I wish that every child has access to quality education, that every child live in a world free of economic, religious, political, or sociocultural discrimination and finally that we all put children’s rights first and contribute towards their happiness, peace and progress.

Good night.

Categories
Africa culture/tradition education lifestyle

Successful Vs Unsuccessful people (Images)

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Categories
culture/tradition education lifestyle Nature Pastoral Poetry Series

Quote: Pride & Humility

Pride is the father of shame
Humility is the father of fame

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Categories
Africa culture/tradition education lifestyle Nature Pastoral Poetry

Four Poems: Let’s Take A Walk

I. OUR TRYST

Breezes bring your memory; mild rosy fragrance,
The wind sing with you when you sang of the Nightingale
And now we wait to tryst, craving beautiful sunset

II. HAPPY MEETING

We must make haste, for night is a cold stranger,
For the great Baobab where our love blossomed,
Cold nights steal our warmth but time will keep memories
Of our merry evenings; me, you, beneath a pretty moon shine

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III. LET’S PLAY

Now let’s play hide and seek before the youth arrive for tonight’s tale
Let’s cuddle while we wait for happy girls and grumpy boys,
This night I shall surely bare my mind, I’ll have no timidity
And if my wit tries to escape from me I’ll take hold of it

IV. MY JEWEL

I’ve not come to hear stories nor see anyone but you:
My Jewel, I’m your Lion, the one who loves you in silence
And before this night tales are spent
We’ll live our Romeo and Juliet!

Categories
Africa culture/tradition education folklore Love and Christianity Nature Pastoral

A Kind Story 2

I received this story from a friend and thought I should share with you.

Folake, a primary school teacher, was transferred to a different school and immediately appointed as a class teacher of a class five class.

On her first day in her class, she noticed that a boy named Kola was different from the rest of the pupils because he was always lonely, out of place, dirty and never used to do homework. Folake also realized that most pupils in the class had a negative attitude towards him.

Folake decided to investigate and find out the problem. She decided to review the file containing the records for Kola. She was very surprised by what she found out.

Kola’s class one teacher wrote and said “Kola is a good pupil with a ready laugh. He does his homework neatly and has many friends”.

The class two teacher wrote, Kola is a good pupil with a ready laugh. He does his homework neatly but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle”

The class three teacher wrote, “his mother’s death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best but his father doesn’t show much interest”.

The class four teacher wrote, “Kola is withdrawn.He doesn’t do his homework and has very few friends”.

By now teacher Folake had known where the problem was, and she was very ashamed of herself. And from that day onwards she decided to pay much attention on Kola and to assist him as much as possible.

Towards the end of the year, the pupils in the class decided to bring presents to teacher Folake. All the pupils in the class brought expensive presents which were wrapped in coloured paper except Kola. His present was wrapped clumsily in old pieces of newspaper. The rest of the pupils laughed at him when they saw what he brought.

Folake felt great pain as she opened the present that Kola had brought, she found an old bottle of perfume which was a quarter full and an old bracelet which had several beads missing. To stifle the laughter from the pupils, teacher Folake exclaimed “this bracelet is very beautiful” and wore it. She also took the bottle of perfume, tapped it on her wrist and put it on.

In the evening, when the rest of the pupils were going home, Kola deliberately remained behind, and when he was sure that all the pupils had left, he went to see teacher Folake. He entered her office, and summoning enough courage he said to her, “Teacher, today you smelled the way my mum used to”. When Kola left, Folake locked herself in the office and cried for more than an hour.

The following year, Kola wrote a letter to teacher Folake. He told her that she was the best teacher that he ever had in his life.

Six years later, he wrote another letter, he told her that he had finished secondary school and he was the best in his class. He added that “she was still the best teacher he ever had in his life”.

Eight years later, he wrote another letter. He told her that he had completed his bachelor’s degree in medicine was now a doctor. He added that she was still “The best teacher he ever had in his life”.

The following year, he wrote another letter. He told her that he had found a girl and was going to get married. He explained that his father had died one year earlier, and was wondering whether Folake would accept to attend the wedding and sit in the place reserved for the mother of the groom. Of course Folake accepted and during the wedding, she was putting on the same bracelet with several beads missing and she was also putting on the same perfume that Kola remembered his mother was putting on the day she died.

Now l ask a question, have you ever helped someone you don’t like? Can you do good just to help someone get up even when they cannot pay you back when they are not there?

LESSON: Any kindness you do to someone lasts forever! Touch a life in your school, places of worship your immediate environment, community, or anywhere today!

Dedicated to all who have the special opportunity to touch lives.

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Categories
Africa culture/tradition education folklore Igbo culture lifestyle Nature Pastoral Series

Diaries of a Village Boy: The Leopard Spirit 8

That morning before the early hunters left their homes for the forest, Papa was already on his way to Ndi-Ikele to welcome the priest, newly arrived from Trinidad and Tobago. It was breezy and cloudy that morning, it seemed it would rain any moment. Trees, especially the palm took to joyful procession when I stepped out to look around. Heavy breeze shook the forest and the skies grew darker. Birds took flight, stray dogs barked. People took in laundry previously spread to dry. The wind blew dust and tree leaves about and I had to retreat back to my room. It was dark inside but I could hear Nene playing with her dog near the kitchen fire while Mama prepared breakfast. Mama knew well enough to get food ready before Papa’s return and while Papa may not bother about himself, he will definitely want to know if his first son has been fed. Men’s queer world, I shrugged.

I took a pen from my school box and started writing on an old wooden seat in my room:

I’m but a soul in a cold tumbler
I catch the wind with my palms, but my life is lived by another

I only wake to live another’s dream…

I was still scribbling and thinking of this strange rhyme when Nene walked into my room without knocking. She quickly scanned my room with her eyes and then delivered her message. I was wanted by Mama. Nene was the inspector in the house and always had something to report to our parents. She was talkative only when she wants something and had a bossy way of getting things done. She was the miniature version of my father.

“My son, your food is ready.” Mama recalled me back from my thought.

“Thank you, Mama.”

“Nene, take his bowl of water to his room.” Mama said to Nene. After a short protest and smirks she finally took the bowl to my room, mumbling and spilling some water on the way.

“Be careful Nene. Don’t spill water on my mats.” I said to her. She took a short look at me and disappeared from the door.

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***

Tinkom tinkom, tibaliba
Dadi nkem o, Dadi nkem o
I we hapu m oo, wee jewe Lagosi
Muna onye ga ebi…

Children sang and played outside our compound. The noise wouldn’t let me reason or rest. Nene and Kiri, our cousin from few compounds away were the leaders. The game was played by softly hitting the palms of your opponents in numerous styles to rhyme with the beat sang by members of the two teams. Both led a team of three followers. The game progressed peacefully for a while, and Nene’s team led in total score. Suddenly she mistakenly put out her left hand instead of the right one and lost a game. Kiri and her teammates shouted and rejoiced over their gain and Nene pained with the mistake bursted out angry.

“It seemed that you’re happy for nothing. I still lead the total score… See your tummy like that of a pregnant frog.” She yelled at Kiri, hands akimbo.

“See this one, she is angry that she lost a game. You’re a loser!” Kiri retorted when she learned her rival was bitter.

“If you don’t close your mouth, I’ll help you deliver that foetus in your tummy.” Nene shouted again. Their team members were enjoying the scenario when Mama walked in from the back.

“Who are those children that won’t let us drink water and rest in this compound. Ssshussh children, run away!” She shouted and clapped her hands. The fighting parties disengaged and ran away from the compound to regroup somewhere else and continue with their game.

To be continued…

Categories
Africa culture/tradition education folklore lifestyle Nature

Boss Vs Leader (Images)

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Categories
Africa culture/tradition education lifestyle Nature Pastoral Poetry

Waterfall

Listen to Nature sing from waterfalls,
She thrash her garments upon rocks
And wash them with her soft palms
She sends soft waters crashing into the pool
Watching the blue skies as her fingers work
When the water descend they form
Fine curtains of white mist
As the water touch the pool below
It changes into bubbling green
Loose soil cling to Water lilies & Fern roots
Slowly falling water push crabs to their burrows
Echoing nature’s still song till evening

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Categories
Africa culture/tradition education lifestyle Nature Pastoral

Animal Planet’s Dave Salmoni New Show

It’s not everyday that you get this close to the fastest land animal on Earth!

Don’t miss a new episode of #AnimalBites with Dave Salmoni, Fridays at 12PM ET.

Visit Africa.

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Categories
Africa culture/tradition education folklore Lessons from Experiences lifestyle Nature Pastoral Poetry

Since I met you

Many times I told myself that love is but a lie
It comes into a life and leaves without a trace
But since I met you, I feel more ambience;
The way you make me do things I do,
The way you smile and cherish life so

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Categories
Africa culture/tradition education folklore lifestyle Nature Pastoral Poetry

If I do love you

If I do love you
I would make me a green hut at your gates
Drum and call upon your name
I would of your virtues write long poems
Sing them in the dead of the night
So it sounds among the ancient hills
With Echo, the talkative spirit of the air

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Categories
Africa culture/tradition education lifestyle Nature Pastoral Poetry

Quotes on Kindness

‘Find out how much God has given you and from it take what you need; the remainder is needed by others.’ St Augustine.

‘If you have much, give of your wealth; if you have little, give of your heart.’ Arabian Proverb.

‘To fold the hands in prayer is well, to open them in charity is better.’ French Proverb.

Plant flowers in other people’s gardens and your life becomes a bouquet. It’s not that successful people are givers; it is that givers are successful people.

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‘Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.’ Mother Theresa

Categories
Africa culture/tradition education folklore Igbo culture Lessons from Experiences lifestyle Nature Pastoral Poetry Series

African childhood Memories

I long for my childhood days in rural Africa,
To fill my lungs with morning air descending from hills
And to till farmland that stretch into sunset

Golden sunrise always kept everyone speechless
And when birds welcome the day with choruses
Sweet breezes gather to battle the sun warmth
Infants may resume their wailing culture
And somewhere up, away from the hamlet
Hawks and Eagles surf the blue wild skies
Little birds build their nests on Palm Trees
Filling quiet neighbourhood with joyful cries
Down by the riverside a school of silver fish swim
Scattering when a breadfruit plunge into the stream

After the morning chores
The boys move on to the green field
Sheltered and surrounded by big trees
From the pitch we pick team mates
And set up goal posts with bamboo
Now our football was unripe oranges or grapes
And when the game start our little legs race off,
Up and down the field, while monkeys watch from trees
I gladly remember the taste of Egusi biscuits,
The numerous fruits that grow on trees near home
And tasty Oha vegetable soup prepared by granny
Now the ancient hills and green trees are my brothers
I climb the guava and mango trees with bare hands
And race up those hills upon the evening tide
Waterfalls are my hideout when in mischief,
The streams my pool where I still my soul
The night is full of dreams, full of starry nights,
I retire with other kids to eat my warm soup
Listening as fire lick the wood outside, slowly
Dinner brings the day close to an end but not yet
As a generous story may be told
My favourite being a tale of the Giraffe
And how he ate the sickly moon half

I long for my childhood days in rural Africa still
To watch the sunset behind hills I call home

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Categories
Africa culture/tradition education folklore lifestyle Nature Pastoral Poetry

Seeker

image

I see a golden ray
Giving light from afar
Up the lonely road
Near the cliffs edge
Where leaves fall in circles,
Caring about nothing
As they fall, happily
And the skies not seen
But a streak of sun light
Filing through waving trees
Now and then,
Rodents of tall trees,
Curious about the passerby
Rush through tree branches
Enjoying her damp dark nest
Which envelope the forest,
Playing, hide and seek,
Wondering what passerby’s seek,
Yet the road is quiet
Crafted from a thousand layers
Of fallen leaves piled up
One against another.
Amidst, yellow leaves care not,
If it falls, and lays on a red leaf.
But this is life’s green circle
Life may die to live!

But all through this I seek the way,
Through my land and her forest,
Blessed, yet seeking to see another land

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Categories
Africa culture/tradition education lifestyle Nature Pastoral

Back home

Well, the morning bus was fast enough. Now, I’m here again, Ovim my beautiful home!

I noticed new additions to the garden, date palms, groundnuts, turmeric, plantains, cane sugar, grapes, pawpaw, oranges, guava, coconut, sour sops, tomatoes, mangoes, yams, cocoyams and more. My aunt had turned this small garden to a demonstration farm.

My fluffy friend won’t recognize me or come any closer even though I raised him. I learned his companion was prepared for Easter. I pity his lonesomeness.

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I’ll settle to this welcome offering of mangoes while they prepare lunch. These mangoes can sale for a lot of money in town but it’s free here.It’s good to be home but I won’t stay long. Traveling may be restricted in coming days.

Categories
Africa culture/tradition education lifestyle Series

Worries on the relaxed Lockdown in Nigeria

Now that government relaxed the sit at home order I may travel home so I can see my loved ones and pick some supplies. My movement is within my state, I’ll go no further than that. Everyone has been worried and could only connect via phone. But I’m worried that this relaxed lockdown may allow for inter state traveling. While some parts of the country are hotspots, other parts like my state and region reported little or no cases of the virus. I’m concerned that more infected persons may bring the virus down here.

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I decided not to write about Covid-19’s ugly situation in Northern Nigeria, particularly in Kano. There’s a lot of drama going on. Government officials with the virus, through normal meetings and socializing infected many followers who go on to spread the virus. Now the reported number of infected persons is on the rise. I shake my head whenever people say Covid-19 is a ‘big man disease‘, that it doesn’t affect the pauper on the streets. Whatever logic that gave rise to such conclusions, I’m yet decipher.

The Almajiri system practiced in the North has shown it’s ugly side once again. Northern governors are busy repatriating non indigenes back to their respective states but are we not ignorantly spreading the virus? I’m not an expert but I can suggest letting people be where they are until the coasts clear out. Repatriation may not be the best thing to do now for it can spread the virus further.

I hope that state borders are closed before this week runs out. One awful thing about Covid-19 is that it knows no rich or pauper.

Stay safe everyone.

Categories
Africa culture/tradition education folklore lifestyle Nature Pastoral Poetry

Quiet Lakeside

Once upon a quiet lakeside,
Where blue clouds stay,
With very thick fog dwell,
And tall Figs hide in them
Like towers,
Over a host of colours,
Painting down the valley
When the sun rays fall
And the forest below
So all may turn to gold.
Clouds are not left behind
They shine in the sun’s glory
Her dew drop upon trees
Away from the waterfalls,
Washing white fine pebbles

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Even as the water rush
And solemn rocks wait
Upon green forests beside it
There’s a rainbow up the sky
With a host of Egrets surfing,
The white mountains stand
Patches of green here and there
As the wind blow sweet breezes
The bears may growl, cats sniff.
But all are beautiful and charming
Around a lonely and quiet lakeside
Where Nature offer a perfect sight

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Africa culture/tradition education lifestyle Love and Christianity Nature Pastoral

Persevere & Good Deeds

Never give up. Today is hard, tomorrow may be worse, but the day after tomorrow will be sunshine. Jack Ma

English dictionary defined perseverance as continuing in a course of action without regard to discouragement, opposition or previous failure. It is persistently enduring to the end.

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First lesson to pick today is that we have to persistently sow good seeds of kindness, love and care to others. Good acts attract good reactions, it is a natural law. Good deeds trigger good reactions. Is it not said, what goes around comes around?

It’s a sunny morning, have a beautiful day! 😊💚💙❤

Categories
Africa culture/tradition education folklore Nature Pastoral Poetry

Niger River

image

Have you seen the snake river
That flow through the Savannah?
The sun ray may fall on it,
And her whiteness woo the eyes
Hippos and crocs love it,
River pythons dwell on it
A beckoning waterfall up the rocks
Where Mother Nature sing loudly,
Always as she wash her garments
On the clean waters of the falls
Onitsha feeds on the banks,
Lokoja dwells on the banks,
Forests gain life there too
At the lower plains of Mali
Sweet songs of the canoe man
Whistling heartily, on a quiet day
On thee, life-given river of the East
Falling leaves, descending upon
The glittering waters,
Green seaweeds cluster together
Painting a strange colour on the surface
But thee, Niger river may flow on
And on and always, through nations,
Washing shores of different lands,
Feeding her peoples with life,
Making your land strangely loving
And appreciative of what beauty
You are to mother Africa

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culture/tradition education lifestyle Love and Christianity Nature Pastoral Series

Self Reflection 31: Faith 2

To believe a thing impossible is to make it so. French Proverb.

Indeed, the positive thinker of faith in God, sees the invisible, feels the intangible and achieves the impossible.

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Categories
Africa culture/tradition education folklore Igbo culture lifestyle Nature Pastoral Poetry

Messenger

igbo-gong

Kokookoroko kokorokoro
A greeting called from afar
The children ran out excited
As if the message was for them
But then who knows?
Heads up, listen attentively
Komkom korookom
Another beat rang out
Pushing the mild hit
Into the ears of the heaviest village sleeper
‘Oh how cute, it is one of the King’s messengers’
‘A tall and fine one for that matter’
A group of young women chatter

The morning of a market day
Even before the sun starts his journey
The gong goes before the man,
A metal gong tells the whole clan
The tidings of the hamlet
The days not to visit the rivulet
The day to farm the deep forest
And when a service the King request,
The boxing day, a vengeful day,
Of long brooms stalked away
Up the roof barns where fish smoke,
And the wielder showing teeth tobacco soiled

When the messenger comes
Mama will always say
To bright little ones
‘Listen attentively, listen with your ears
They might have a message for you or you,
From the King or the brave hunters
Come from across the seven hills
And seven rivers of Far Away Land
So you must listen attentively
There must be wisdom in every muttering’

Then each time it all comes to me
Even now I on my face keep beards
I still listen when all is quiet
Then in my mind goes Krookoko-kom-kom!

***

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Krookokom… As in Onomatopoeia of sound made by gongs.

Categories
Africa culture/tradition education folklore Igbo culture lifestyle Nature Pastoral

Tradition: Breaking the Kola nut

Onye wetara oji wetara ndu (Igbo)

He who brings Kola brings life…

Kola nut is a symbol of hospitality and friendship in Nigeria. While other food can be cooked the Kola nut needs no special preparation before presentation. It’s a bitter fruit of the Kola tree¶ grown all over tropical Africa.

In Igbo land, Kola nut is a cultural staple held in high esteem. It is sometimes referred to King of all foods. It is a sacrificial lobe revered, no child or woman is allowed to tamper or joke with it. Every piece of it is considered sacred and can’t be wasted or destroyed unless it’s spoilt.

Usually, the oldest man among the host audience is asked to bless the Kola nuts. He will take one of the nuts in his right hand and makes a blessing, prayer or toast using a proverb, e.g.

Ihe dï mma onye n’achö, ö ga-afü ya.’

‘What ever good he is looking for, he will see it.’

Generally Kola nut is presented in festivities, in ceremonies and primarily used to welcome visitors. They are offered with prayers of thanksgiving and supplication to Chineke. After prayers are said then Kola nut can be broken and shared in bits to visitors. Sometimes it’s served with garden eggs, bitter cola, alligator pepper, peanut butter and palm wine.

As mentioned before, it is the breaking that is the significant part of the ceremony. The more parts the Kola breaks up to, the more prosperity it gives to its presenter and visitors. Though there is one exception: if the nut yields only to two parts, it signifies no good as it signals that the presenter has a sinister motive behind the Kola. Because of that, Kola nuts with only two parts are avoided for this ceremony and therefore the purple/reddish coloured nuts, cola acuminata are preferred over its greyish counterpart, the cola nitida, as the latter one only breaks up in two. Four parts coincide with the four market days of the Igbo week. Five or more broken parts mean prosperity for the family. In some parts of Igboland, when the Kola breaks into six, a separate celebration is required and sometimes even including the slaughter of a goat.

There are many other rules surrounding the Kola nut ceremony. Kola nut should only be presented with two hands at the same time, and also as the Kola tree is associated with man, only men can climb and pluck the Kola tree.

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¶ Don’t confuse the Bitter Cola with the Kola nut. They are quite different plants.
Chineke: God in Igbo language.
Nkwo, Eke, Afor, Orie: Market days in Igbo land.

Categories
Africa culture/tradition education folklore lifestyle Love and Christianity Nature Pastoral

Beautiful News

Honestly, there are beautiful news announced by nature out there. Focus on them, enjoy the beauty and nature around you.

Good morning and have a great day!

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Categories
Africa culture/tradition education lifestyle Nature Pastoral

Determination

Never underestimate the power you have to take your life in a new direction – Germany Kent.

Every mountain becomes a plain when you are determined. Determination is a tonic that keeps achievers/champions going; it’s a key element in enduring temporary setbacks and the achievement of ultimate success. No matter how life and indeed the year has been, be determined to make a difference. Life is like a marathon race, you must push yourself to the finishing line by fighting self-pity, depression, fear of the future and anxiety daily.

Good morning everyone. See you later.

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Categories
Africa culture/tradition education lifestyle Love and Christianity Nature Pastoral Poetry

Psalm: Your Cymbal

I’m Your cymbal, the one who plays the bells,
None except You can make me appreciate life better

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Categories
Africa education lifestyle

Internet Fraud and Leadership

Short Intro: To be a Nigerian is hard enough; apart from the ravaging poverty, a lot of factors had contributed to this. I’m aware that many youth are involved in internet fraud which gives the nation and her people a bad name. I and my family members fell victim several times to them. The aim of this blog post is to show how to avoid falling victim to internet fraud drawing from personal experiences. These internet commando’s can outsmart even the most educated or enlightened person, so underestimating their abilities will be at the concerned peril. But let it be known that the greatest fraudsters are corrupt African leaders, those who steal from their people.

My interest in internet fraud stem from my research paper I wrote on Fraud Prevention and Management in Nigerian Commercial Banks during my studies at the University of Uyo, Nigeria and my work experience as a bank teller.

Link between Bad Leadership and Nigeria’s Internet Commando’s: Before I steer forward, permit me to introduce the chief cause of Nigeria’s woe: bad leadership. I hammer on this each time I’m opportuned to write on leadership. When career or academic opportunities are lesser than employable people, social vices will increase. Generally, the African society is challenged by unemployment which pushed many to vices like robbery, kidnapping, prostitution, human trafficking and ritualism, political thuggery, drug peddling and more. Consider the wealth Nigeria possesses then you can relate that this country has no business with poverty. If the head is bad then the body won’t fare better, that’s a fact. Imagine a situation where every youth have a good job after graduation and if not has access to financial services to start their own businesses. No one will have time to involve in dubious businesses. The major problem faced in Nigeria and Africa at large is bad leadership.

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How to avoid falling victim to internet fraud: If you are faced with sending or receiving money online or any kind of online money transaction, you need to pay great attention to details. This is the greatest way internet fraud are perpetrated. Most times we need to be critical to overcome these guys. Why would one be excited that an email or phone call says he won a lottery or scholarship when he didn’t even play or apply for that or someone says you’re selected for a job you knew nothing about or his/her father died and left huge pockets of money hidden somewhere for you? Let’s consider ways we can reduce this risk.

(1.) First, extra care is advised and there’s an emphasis on the extra. Don’t jump to enticing online offers which may require you to share personal information. If you trust people easily, then try to seek guidance from finance or security agencies before sharing your information with anyone. You’re not meant to share Bank Verification Numbers (BVN), Bank Account details, Passwords or Pass codes, Phone Numbers, addresses or Emails linked to financial properties etc. If your bank requires you to send special details, they can always ask you to visit their nearest branch. Generally banks won’t ask for more details online. Note that banks will normally communicate via custom email. For instance okeiroegbu@gmail.com can’t just be trusted as a bank staff. Banks will rather contact with such emails as okeiroegbu@gtbank.com.

(2.) Don’t click on links that you are unsure of. I received an email sometime ago: that I won an award from the Association of Nigerian Authors and I should click a link and update my details. I believed it and I was very happy. I didn’t think about being a member, I was just consumed with the award. I eventually updated my details on the link and afterwards couldn’t access my email anymore. I had to reach out to the President of the Association who luckily happened to be my social media friend and he confirmed it was a hoax! Scammers do research on their potential victims and may know what you do and what excites you! After much inconvenience contacting Google I was able to reclaim my email and thankfully I had no financial details linked to the email.

(3.) Reconsider buying from unknown online stores. May talk more about this later.

Where to report to: In cases involving Nigerians or West Africans, you can report to the Interpol but to expedite local action send reports to the following agencies. They are fast and furious in tracking down bad eggs.

– Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), headquartered in Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital. Address: Plot 301/302 Institution and Research, Cadastral District, Jabi, Abuja, Nigeria. Www.efccnigeria.org

– Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), based in Abuja. Address: Plot 802 Constitution Avenue, Central Business District, Abuja, Nigeria. Www.icpc.gov.ng

A Shorter End: I’m a Nigerian and I love my country. Not all Nigerians are scammers, I’m sure you know many who are not. The same goes for other African countries and around the world. I believe in African youth and their potentials. Talents abound but lay waste or ingenuity used in bad ways, no thanks to bad leaders. In my humble opinion, to get to the root of internet fraud and other social vices, our leaders should be held accountable for not providing welfare and opportunities for youth.

Categories
Africa education lifestyle Nature Pastoral

Madagascar’s Covid-19 Cure

It’s no more news that Madagascar found a cure for Covid-19 and that some African governments are reaching out to purchase some. I think that the WHO Madagascar office should work with these people to ensure that the cure is potent against Covid-19. Note that the cure was prepared from traditional herbs and Africa has a long history in curing ailments through use of herbs, barks, leaves, fruits and roots. This might just be the answer or direction the world seek. Support Africa.

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