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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!

***

Start your blogging here.

Krookokom… As in Onomatopoeia of sound made by gongs.

Categories
Africa culture/tradition education folklore lifestyle Nature Pastoral Poetry

Two Poems: Together we watch day end and my Dancer

(1) TOGETHER WE WATCH DAY END

Baobab and Palm are shelters,
Glittering stars are my friends,
Waterfalls and Lions, my brothers
And together we watch day end.

(2) MY DANCER

I steal a glance when you dance
Memories of pouting lips haunt me
I dreamed of you and I once
But wished it away if we won’t be

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

Health, our new Wealth

Health is the new wealth! Here are some factors that may help us live healthy.

Our psychology play a major role in our wellbeing. If you think healthy thoughts, you’ll be healthy. Thinking healthy means being conscious of our internal and external environment and knowing how to maintain a proper balance.

As a man thinketh in his heart so is he…

Our lifestyle matters too. Observing adequate siesta is good. Sleep is part of human nature and it’s the best way to rest important organs in the body. Adequate sleep is required if we desire to be strong mentally and physically. Our choice of nutrition, exercise, feeding habits and personal hygiene also affect our wellbeing.

Water! Ah, water is life. It’s obvious that man and water are inseparable. The earth surface consists about 70% of water and man is made up of water! Oxygen contains water too. So clean water is important. While we may enjoy beverages, wine, and others, we must not forget that water still remain the best option.

Happiness is a healthy factor. Happily, happiness is free and no one but ourselves can control our happiness! Studies reveal that happy people tend to live longer. Peace of mind come from being happy and this has a way of affecting our health!

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Africa culture/tradition Nature Pastoral Poetry

Tungan Maje By Michelle Basil

Our relationship with family and friends, with our immediate environment and passion for others makes us human.

Michelle Basil is my guest this beautiful and sunny morning. This is her story.

Michelle believes that simple things in life matter. She is a lover of outdoors, sunshine and trees. Her favourite spot is Tungan Maje, the town she grew up in. Outspoken and bold, artistically and physically, Michelle takes us on how nature makes her fancy.

Michelle reveals that Tungan Maje means a market under the tree. Since her primary education days, Michelle had always wanted to know the first market that gave the village its name. She says she will find out soon and I hope she shares her findings with us.

The village is beautiful and is located in Gwagwalada Area Council of Abuja, Nigeria. Michelle notes that the people are industrious and that the village’s older folk look young.

‘Their youthful agility never leaves them.’ She recalls.

Michelle’s artistic images portrays her love for nature and outdoor reflection and games. She writes stories in her free time.

‘I can do this all day.’ She says. ‘Stay out with the greens and watch them smile, wondering most times if they ever feel the way we humans do and what if they do.’

Thank you Michelle! It’s nice to have you here.

Categories
Africa culture/tradition Nature

Thoughts on the State of Leadership in Africa

No one can fully explain why we – Africans, are so poor in the midst of plenty. I will try to explain why.

There’s a lot of greed and grief in African leadership. When leaders are greedy, citizens stagger in grief. We still don’t know how the dust hit us between the eyes. And while we search for answers, leaders were busy looting the public treasury.

There’s a lot of laughter even when things are wrong – when things fall apart. Top lawmakers forget justice. There are many nations where civil rights are bought and sold like bean cakes. Best jobs are offered on the bases of man know man, so they are reserved for relatives or friends. There’s a lot of paper in the streets. Unemployed CV’s are used by vendors to wrap popcorn, while the owners roam the streets thinking of how to earn a living. Unemployed people fall for their dark side, taking decisions which may lead to social vices like kidnapping, robbery, internet fraud, drug trafficking, prostitution and more.

There’s smiles and sorrow. Out the streets happy children enjoy a game of football and just by the corner a hungry pregnant mother sit begging. There’s an empty stomach crying herself to sleep, there’s an orphan sleeping under a bridge. When the sun set, the beautiful hills we enjoy her view disappear with the evening breeze. But there’s hope to see it the next day.

There’s pain in a mother’s cry. Many pregnant women give birth at home because they can’t afford medical bills. To travel on road is another catastrophe. Bad roads record more death than usual. Some law enforcement agents take bribe before seeking justice and they think it’s their right.

There’s sad parents and children broken by dying hope. Schools are becoming a circus. Public infrastructure lay in shambles. Clean water and electricity are sometimes a luxury. Citizens suffer in silence, many even die silently. Some governments are only interested in retaining power and their economy (money), at all cost. Many pensioners lay sick, years of gratuities unpaid and when they finally die, corrupt officials seize their funds. Teachers receive a month salary after eight months of work! Most are under-payed, they look shabby and may want to do some monkey business to survive.

There’s some hope though. Yet leaders are like citrus; oranges and limes. Some are sweet, others sour. Some give hope that turn to tears and some may give nothing but tears.

I still believe and dream of a beautiful land with beautifully minded youth leaders and followers. A people connected by tenets of peace, prosperity, equity, tolerance and progress.

Categories
Poetry

The King’s Messenger: Town Crier

Kokookoroko kokorokoro
A greeting called from afar
The children ran out excited
As if this 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 even 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 sets out on a 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 may request

The boxing day, a vengeful day
Long brooms wait, stalked away,
Up the roof barns where fish get smoked
And elders show 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 the seven hills
And seven rivers far away
So you must listen and pay attention
There are wisdom in every muttering’

Then each time it all comes back to me,
Even now I on my face keep beards
I still listen when all is quiet for the messenger
And his gong that goes Krookoko kom kom!

Note:

Krookokom… Onomatopoiea of the sound made by the messenger’s gong.

Town criers carry messages from the King, his council or the elders. They communicate important information to villagers.

Categories
Africa folklore Igbo culture Lessons from Experiences Love and Christianity Nature Pastoral Poetry Uncategorized

Poetale after the Days work

Now we gather by the fireside
Waiting for yams to roast
Warming our hands in the heat
On this evening, cool and mild

The dreams we wait to dream
The waiting pillow beckoning
The tales in hopes of telling
And a joyful evening it seems

The hot day had gone up those hills
Releasing a warm blanket
Bought in the busy Orie market
To shade all from Night’s will

To my little pieces of paper
Hanging here and there
I gather with extreme care
Getting ready a story to prepare

And today was gone like before
Running away from me
Though why, I could not see
Croaky frogs outside bother me more

Then a short prayer I knee to say
Oh Dear Lord, keeper of my soul
I come before Thee with my folklore
Let my tales be for Thy Glory I pray

***

Note: Orie market: Generally Orie is one of the market days in many parts of Igbo land. Market days in Igbo land include Orie, Eke, Nkwo and Afor. In my hometown, the market centre bears the name Oriendu- a market that buys and sells in intervals of 8days.

Categories
Africa culture/tradition education Lessons from Experiences

Celebrating Talent: Damilola Ajayi

I thought about celebrating good and talented people. Here we go, the first person in the series!

Permit me to introduce this pretty, humble, enterprising young lady. She is Damilola Ajayi, from Ekiti state in Nigeria.

When I first met Dami in 2017, I wasn’t so sure of what to expect from her. As I was appointed the Principal Corps member, I coordinated and supervised the activities of other Corps members sent to work in Government Secondary School, Tudun Amba, Lafia in Nassarawa State. The programme is the National Youth Service (NYSC), initiated by the Federal Government of Nigeria for young graduates. That was how my contact with Dami began.

As new corps arrived, I was saddled with the responsibility of receiving and making them settle down. I particularly noticed that Dami appeared confused and lost (the same way I felt when I first arrived Workers Village, Tudun Amba. But hers was something else). I tried to convince her to stay, not knowing she had plans to redeploy to another state! Well, I gave her reasons not to and she decided to try the place! She actually finished her youth service in Lafia!

Long story cut short. I came to learn that she is multi talented. She is Godly, a motivational speaker, a singer and a fashion designer. She strives to make people happy (customers inclusive). This is to you Dami! oiroegbu.com celebrates you! Keep up the good work.

FYI, she designed all these dresses you see.

So if you need the services of a professional African seamstress, reach out to Dami. She is based in Lagos, Nigeria. I trust that she will give you the best.

Follow her to see more of her work:

Twitter: @havillahseams

Instagram: @havillahseams

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/havillahseams

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Uncategorized

Tradition: Breaking the Igbo Kola nut 2 (Iwa oji Igbo)

Onye wetara oji, wetara ndu. Ndi be anyi ekelem unu oo.

God our tryst maker! Chinekem ke b’nigwe!

The One that holds the Earth with bare hands

And causes the winds to soar where You wills

My God, we have gathered once again to celebrate

To enjoy the life which you have blessed us with!

Nna anyi ukwu, You hold the knife and the yam

You give the sunshine and the rainfall to everyone-

The bad and the good, all savor the providence You gave

Now we bring the kola nut before You

We bless, we pray that we remain fruitful as this fruit

That the streams give us fish, the land more yams

And the farms much more fruitful than yesterdays harvest

We break this kola nut and as it breaks

So shall our enemies and foes break!

Let the Eagle perch, let also the Kite,

Any that forbids the other from perching

May the wings break!

May our children bear children like the Hebrew

May the winds bring us good tidings and fair weather

May our friendship know no limits but greatness

And may this kola nut bring us all good fortune!

Learn Igbo language here.

***

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Commentary: The Igbo tribe is an Eastern Nigerian tribe. Known for their prowess in business, enterprise and commerce wherever they settle. This piece is a traditional prayer of the Igbo people used to welcome visitors and to bless marriages, friendships, goodwill and ventures.

Onye wetara oji, wetara ndu. Ndi be anyi ekelem unu oo: Him that brings the kola, brings life.

Chinekem ke b’nigwe: My God who lives in Heaven.

Nna anyi ukwu: Our great Father

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The Palm Tree

I wonder why it is called a tree
Yet she is dressed like a masquerade
With thorny arms raised to deliver a blow
And fins to wade thru a turbulent storm

Dangerous as she looks,
She is quietly harmless
Swerving from one wind to another
She enjoy the attention of the airs

When there is a heavy storm
She guides the little shrubs
When the sun shine bright
She takes also much heat

She stand, tall and fixated…
Breaking the wind surge
Wearing a grim apparition
One of piety and grace

She possesses queer tentacles
Which come as green leaves
Growing a shade of shadows
For every thing which seek refuge

The tree is both benevolent to man and wild
Dancing to the tune of both commanders
She gives her fruits as food and snack
And the leaves and barks are vegetables

So this person called the Palm
Is more than a tree.
In parts of lands below the Tropics
We can say she is part of the culture

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Nneoma

Nneoma, nwayi oma m ji eme onu
Obidiya,
Anam ede akwukwo a
N’ihi gi, n’ihi ihunanya gi
Iru gi di ka mmiri no n’iyi
Ochi gi na-eme m obi uto
Enweghi ihe m ga eji tunyere ya

Lee kwa mgbe akwa n’egbum
I kpom si
“Bia, kam bie gi oma
Tinye aka gi n’akam
Biko kwusi ibe akwa”
Lee kwasim anya na anya
Nwayi mara mma
Mara udiri udo na anuri
Di na obim tata

Mgbe ubosi na adada
I na eche m nche
Mgbe oke oyi na atu
I nye akwa gi
Mgbe agu di n’obodo
I nyem ihe oriri gi

Mara nke a, nwayi oma
Mara na m huru gi n’anya

Commentary.
There is a translation after this commentary. Here goes my first native poem in Igbo language! The Igbo is a south east Nigerian nation. I can’t say why this poem came today or why it hasn’t come before now. I have looked forward to writing more in African languages with appropriate translation in English. I dedicate this poem to all my loved ones, to friends and well wishers, to you my beloved readers and finally to all mothers.

Title: Sweet Mother

Sweet mother, my pride!
The husbands heart beat
I write this piece
Cos of you, cos of your love
Your face glitter like the waters of the stream
Your laughter gives me joy
Nothing compares to it!

Even when I cry before you,
You call to me, saying
“Come to me dear
Give me your hands
Please, stop crying”
Now look at my eyes
Beautiful and good woman
And know the kind of joy
That brews in my heart!

When night comes upon us
You shield me
When the cold is terrible
You give your warmth
Even when famine comes
You give me your food

And please know this dear mother
I am so in love with you

Learn Igbo language here.

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Masquerades

Strings of flax fall from your stress
Hides carved from animal skin
And strange cloth embellish you

You swerve around like a drunk
Scaring children and younger folk
Caring for nothing but for asunder
The masks on you remind of the hyena
Your whip draggin behind you as you walk
As you seek peoples’ doors to knock
The dogs are scared of your appearance
For they cant stop your uninvited attendance
At homes, mothers yell for their kids
But you only care for your needs

Learn Igbo language here.

Now palm beer is brought before you
And some lobes of finest of kola nut
For appeasing of the spirits which is come
Unto men from the ancient hills and caves
Let the kettle see the pot as a friend
And not as a foe for they two are black
Let the Eagle perch and the Kite as well
None should forbid the other from perching
Now have your fill of your beer
For your next bus stop
The wine might not be as good as this

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Uncategorized

I am Igbo

I am Igbo
Not because I am fair
Not because I am tall
…Or short

I am Igbo
Not because I travel a lot
Not because I live in hamlets
… And towns

I am Igbo
Not because I live in Africa
Not because I sell for profits
… Or for loss

I am Igbo
Not because I say so
Not because I am hated
… Or loved

I am Igbo
Because I am a culture
A tradition, not just a tribe
But a people,
A great people of God
A poet and a farmer
A technician and a scholar
Hope of the African race
Born through thick and thin
Fearing no man
But God who made all

I am tradition
A masquerade
In the village square

I am a stream
Flowing in peace
Washing mens nakedness

I am a hunter
Who dares wild beasts
And strikes with no fear

I am hope
Accompanied with faith
With the fear of God

I am a fisherman
Trailing my traps
Tucked away in creeks

I am a farmer
The one who feeds the clan
Eze-ji, king of yams!

I am the dibia, the physician
The one who heals
Throught the help of the Almighty

I am a rainmaker
A descendant
Of the shadows of men
Striving to be free

I am just a man
Who live quietly
Fearing no man or deity
But the One True God
I am Igbo!

Igbo Kwenu!

Learn Igbo language here.

Note:
The Igbo is a Southern tribe in Nigeria, renowned for their industry, entreprise and daring attitude. Basically the poet seems to link his tribes culture to religion. The Igbos are predominantly Christians and can be seen in every profession the world can offer.

Dibia: Locally called the medicine man or the herbalist feared and reverred in ancient times to possess powers beyond human comprehension.

Eze ji: The King of Yams.

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The Winds Tale: A call of the Hills

The call of the hills…
On a night dark as pitch

We stay listening to the swooshing trees

And the strange call up the hills…

A tornado of wind come surfing down

Pushing the brushes and woods apart

Sending both man, child and pets scrambling

Tall and strong wild palms bend double

Threatening to crush who dare stare

The dark clouds growl like a young lion

Shaking the breadths of the firmaments

The firmaments rumblings shook everyone

Wide eyed infants, the whistling pine and the Owl

The dogs bark and hide behind their kennels

Tethered farm animals shriek with fear

The cold came, and with such a surge!

It wooed the candle light

Which danced with such excitement

But the Rain never came

The Rain was locked out

Today was not his own day

A night as such as this

A windy tale to be told
An inspiration hewn down the hill
From up the dark firmaments of the night

From the hills of an African hamlet…

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Breaking the Igbo Kola Nut

God our tryst maker
Our lover and He who knows all
Chineke m, ke bi nigwe!
Maker of the Universe
He whom fetches water with a basket
To disgrace the bucket
He who whips us with one hand
And consoles us with the other
He who stills a raging sea
He who made the Kola nut
The King of all foods!
We come to You, our maker
We break the Kola nut
Before You, maker of the Kola
The food that never fills the stomach
But it is the King of all food!
We have the Cassava and the Yam
But the Kola is the King of all food
It is not eaten with Palm oil
It is not pounded on mortar
Nor stewed in a dish of porridge
It is not meshed in meat or fish
It stands alone, all alone
Like the Iroko on the forest!
It is not a food for children
But this food is for men!
Our farms shall be fruitful
Our children more fruitful
Our streams shall have fish
And our forests shall have vegetables
The heat of the sun wont scorch us to death
The pain of pregnant women
Shall become joy in the morning
The clouds shall water our gardens
We shall eat of our sweat
Make us contented with what we have
You have given us the yam
You have also given us the knife to cut it

Learn Igbo language here.

Let the moon shine when she must
Let the Sun shine when she must
Let the wind bring us good tidings
And let us see many smiles
On the faces of all in the hamlet
Let the Eagle perch
Let also the Kite perch
Any that forbids the other from perching
Let his wings break!
If one seek downfall for us
Let such befall those people
Let not our enemies hostile light burn us
We shall have our children as the Hebrew women
Our children shall have their own
And our children’s children
We break the Kola!
Iri di nwata na okenye nma!

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Commentary.
I have written this poem some time ago. I had find it necessary to revise and edit some lines of the piece, seeing that tradition is something dynamic. I seek to share a bit of my African culture. The Igbo is a South Eastern Nigerian tribe, an enterprising nation situated on the Niger Delta of the present day Nigeria. As a growing kid some
decades ago I have witnessed Igbo Kola breaking
traditions- a series of cultural ritual performed more like prayers. It’s normally used to welcome visitors especially on festivities.

Notes.
line 3: Chineke m, ke bi nigwe: Igbo language for My God who lives in Heaven.
line 55: iri di nwata na okenye nma! Igbo for food good for both the young and elderly
Study Questions.
1. What are the figures of speech present in the poem?
2. Discuss the imagery.
3. Would you classify this as a traditional poem? Why?

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Nigeria

In the morning, the sun rises
Above the horizons and cliffs
And on the smiling faces on the farms
The hope rises with the sun
As the children roll out their bicycles
To the tanned fields of the hamlet
Followed by their pets, puppies and kittens
A proud cloud draws a huge smile
And on the clay the infants draw theirs
The men in groups of duties
Hunt in the forests almost barehanded
And when off duty, drink kaikai in the village square
The women make soups, pound yams
And brew the local gin for the men
The boys march through the Woods
In hopes of a catch on hidden traps
Tucked away, somewhere I know not
Monkeys dance on their paths
Mocking them that walks on two legs only
And the boys would laugh it off
The girls with all basket sizes
Giggle as they walk towards the streams
Now and then, a small rodent shakes the bush
And all will race off the spot in fear
The toddlers are not left behind
They wail all day, as the dogs sleep
Pythons silently leave the roadsides
Once disturbed from their sun tanning exercise
Rivers lay here and there, rivulets, streams
Waterfalls and happy fishes
Lakes and huge Crocodiles lay undisturbed
There are coastlines and islands
There are hot beaches with lots of trees
Nature washes her garments on the Waterfalls
And we could hear her sing
The Hyenas laugh not too far away
And the kids retrace their straying steps
All birds twitter, this is their home
As the Egrets move with their land bride
The cattle, and all sweet green grasses
The hot lands remain like a painted scarf
A valley of enchantment at Mambilla
The life giving Benue river
A calm and cloudy seaport in Calabar
The snaky terrains of Udi hills
The serenity of Victoria Island
Ancient Kano town and her suya
A busy street in Pitakwa
The red muds of the East
The rich African culture
A lake somewhere up the Niger
Home of the lion and elephant
And all bush dwelling fauns
The sun would never leave here
The land of the waking sun
This is my love, Nigeria
And it’s morning
The Sun has risen
So has our hopes

For all who believe in peaceful coexistence and love.
Line 12 kaikai, a locally brewed gin.
Line 47 suya, delicious skewered pieces of meat meshed in dried crushed groundnut, pepper, onion and other condiments. Predominately made in the Northern part of Nigeria.

Oiroegbu Halls