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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 culture/tradition education folklore Igbo culture lifestyle

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Things Fall Apart is a novel written by Nigerian author Chinua Achebe. Published in 1958, its story chronicles pre-colonial life in the south-eastern part of Nigeria and the arrival of the Europeans during the late nineteenth century. It is seen as the archetypal modern African novel in English, one of the first to receive global critical acclaim. It is a staple book in schools throughout Africa and is widely read and studied in English-speaking countries around the world. In 1962, Achebe’s debut novel was first published in the UK by William Heinemann Ltd. Things Fall Apart was the first work published in Heinemann’s African Writers Series.The novel follows the life of Okonkwo, an Igbo (“Ibo” in the novel) man and local wrestling champion in the fictional Nigerian clan of Umuofia. The work is split into three parts, with the first describing his family, personal history, and the customs and society of the Igbo, and the second and third sections introducing the influence of British colonialism and Christian missionaries on Okonkwo, his family and wider Igbo community.

Learn Igbo language here.

Categories
Africa Nature Pastoral Poetry

Folktale: The Hen and Her Neighbors

It is breezy here and I have a tale for the evening. Gather around, sit with me under this mango tree, warm yourself by the fire and enjoy this poetaleIfochakpi! Waa!!

Once in the animal kingdom
There lived a Hen and a Cock and
Their neighbors, the Rat and the Lizard
One day the Hen wanted to clean
“I need to clean this compound
Who will help me sweep the floor?”
“Not me!” Said the Cock
“Not me!” Said the Rat
“Not me!” Said the Lizard
“Then I’ll do the cleaning myself”

The unhappy Hen said to herself
Noon came and it was time for lunch
“Who will help me buy vegetables for soup?”
“Not me!” Said the Cock
“Not me!” Said the Rat
“Not me!” Said the Lizard
“Then I must go to the market myself”

The unhappy Hen mumbled to herself
When evening came and the sun was setting
The Hen saw that she needs some fire
“Who will help me make some fire?”
“Not me!” Said the Cock
“Not me!” Said the Rat
“Not me!” Said the Lizard
“Then I must cook this meal myself”

The unhappy Hen said to herself
When the soup aroma went around the compound
Everyone asked where this wonderful smell came from
And lo, the Cock, Rat and Lizard gathered by the fire
“This soup is very sweet and needs someone to taste it,
Who will eat this vegetable soup?”
“Me!” Said the Cock
“Me!” Said the Rat
“Me!” Yelled the Lizard

So the Hen took a broom and started sweeping the kitchen and when she got close to the three, raised it and chased them away from her pot of soup!

****
Ifochakpi! Waa!! : An exclamation used whenever a tale is to be told in Igbo land. The story teller says Ifochakpi! while the audience replies Waa! pronounced as war!

Categories
Poetry

There is more to life by Miracle Kelechi

I stumbled on this and think it is worth sharing. Thank you Miracle Kelechi for the reminder that there is more to life than worries.

Categories
Africa culture/tradition Igbo culture Uncategorized

African Proverbs 2

Here’s a Guinean Proverb: Knowledge of leadership is not plucked from the air, one is born with it.

Explanation: Selflessness, honesty, compassion and every other qualities of Leadership are groomed from good home training, personal decisions to live upright and treat others right.

Categories
culture/tradition education Lessons from Experiences

Happy Teacher’s Day, 2019 and Thoughts on Growing Up

Ututu oma, ach, that’s good morning in English. It’s a bright and sunny morning and I wish I was in Kenya, watching wildlife.

World Teacher’s Day.

Today is Teacher’s Day! I celebrate all who share their knowledge with others, cheers and thanks for being a teacher. To parents, guardians, school tutors, clergymen, imams and everyone who teach in any capacity, you are awesome! As a teacher you are a life changer, great influence and the society owe you a lot.

Growing up.

Growing up wasn’t easy for me. I recall my school days as a timid child, a prey for bullies. There was this boy who found joy in bullying others and unfortunately I was one of his candidates. To cut the story short, he always roughed me up and made me run. So one day I decided to fight my Goliath. The fight bought my freedom and respect from others. I became courageous and self confident, afterwards. To get over a challenge, you must face it.

Well growing up wasn’t rosy either, I trekked to school, borrowed books to supplement study materials and disturbed my elder brothers and busy mom to teach me extra lessons. In high school, I was afraid of some teachers. This affected my grades, negatively. If a student hates a teacher, chances are that such student won’t perform well in the subject.

Now why do students hate teachers? I don’t think students hate teachers naturally. Maybe the teaching style, the dress code, the language and composure or self confidence doesn’t work well with them. There are many reasons, but I don’t think anyone would hate an open, funny and friendly person.

As a math teacher, I think that coercion is not the best way to teach. Teaching quantitative subjects like math require softness, kindness, flexibility, patience, tolerance and creativity. I will add that a math teacher should have a big heart too. Accommodating slow students can be challenging and tasking. Teachers should consider every child’s learning abilities. Different looks doesn’t really equate to different IQs. But having in mind that people are different helps. So there are fast learners and slow learners, fast writers and slow writers. Note that we can force a camel to the stream but we can’t force it to drink.

I wish you all a lovely weekend.

***

Image from Indiatimes

Categories
Poetry

The Hamlets’ songs

Tonight I write of a beautiful countryside

Nested in the forests, at the foot of hills in the East,

A quiet place that taught me the songs of Nature

And fed me with fruits fresh from all blooming trees!

*

In the morning, fine birds gather to build nests

Their strong choral concert disturb the neighborhood

Yet from the morning till the time the sun traveled home

They sang of strange places and gave noisy vibes

All we did was listen to their individual soft calls, which together was strong

*

The noon is given to the shouts of the children back from schools,

Back from the farms and far mills where palm oil is processed 

The dogs and cats played with the little ones under the tree sheds

And when the sun heat went milder, they came out to the sand

The cries of children rent the air, heralding the coming evening

*

And when the evening finally came upon the hamlet

The songs became the pestle that pounded the beans in the mortar

With mothers yelling at stubborn children who went awol on their chores,

The clangy noise of pot lids and the smell of locust bean soup

Welcomed the travelers and the moon which showed the hamlets footpath

*

Now the night brought a mischievous song for the mosquitoes loved the night

Mosquitoes whisper in the ears of the heavy sleepers and woke the little ones

But before the coming of these vampires, the evening songs were folklores,

The lessons taught children the need to respect the elders and to work hard

And in the huts were we sleep, we prepare for another song: a heavy snorers rap!

Categories
Poetry

Ina murna (I’m excited) 

The snaky road twisted, here and there

Passing pockets of forests tucked away,

And when it ended at the foot of Ugwu Uwaoma

I saw the palm trees lead a welcome song

At the foot of the hill a banner hung

Bearing Mama’s poster and details…

***

Now I stand before thee, oh great hill

The land of my grandfathers and my fathers’

For it gives great joy to see you always, beloved land

I taste of your warm waters in the streams that flow

I sing with the birds when they make their fine nests

Oh, the plum and mango fall in the evening

I hear the little happy children hustle for them

I stay awake to watch the stars that grace your nights

The children tell me of the day and moon light tales

When the days end, we gather to enjoy the cool evening breeze

To recall the events, old and fresh, good and sad

And to riddle on jokes and remember the joy of homecoming

***

Now I sit with the elders who tell how things changed

“Nna, you see in those days we eat raw grasses and fruits,

Now you amaze us with all these food that grow in can bellies”

“The pants we wore had much space for adjustments on the waist

I wonder why the new generation keep theirs below the loins!”

They smile, they love, and appreciate all that happen around them

Oh great land! Now granny will be laid to rest in you forever

I am confused, I am not sure I will find a better tale teller!

But I will try to put all she has said and taught to paper

My face is gloomy and delighted; I have come to you my land,

But I have come because I must my granny bury in you, my land!
**

Notes.

For my granny, Late Uluocha Chinyere Duruoha. I must say that this beautiful soul has impacts in me much than I can imagine. Her confidence, her peace, her strive for excellence and intelligence. Most important of all she has taught me the act of tale telling. I will miss her much. I have been motivated by the tales she told, even the ones she told of her husband who fought in World War 2 in Tripoli and the Middle East and about the Biafran war. She has a warm place for culture and tradition and enjoys others company. Adieu mama.

Rest in peace mama! Good night, my tale teller.

Ina murna: Hausa language for I am happy, excited or delighted. Normally used to express happiness or joy.

Ugwu Uwaoma: A hilly land located in Ovim, my hometown.

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Uncategorized

A Psalm: To Jehovah, Ebenezer!

”I feel a power other than mine
I feel a strenght greater than me”

The strongest winds and storms
Tell of a might,
The beauty of His love
A testimony of grace!
He gave me a yam, alright!
Haha, he gave me a knife also
He gave me a fine dream

I worship His Majesty, – Kabiyesi!
I call Him, O gburu uzo n’ozara
The one who made roads on dunes
He made all with spoken words
He makes water storms in dry deserts
And men stare mouth ajar!

Wonder, wonder, holy, holy
I must say praise to You, Nissi!
Oh how awesome, how wonderful!
The day, the nights, you made hopeful
Ebube Dike, Dike na Dimkpa
Eze ndi Eze, the Lion of Judea!
I am so obsessed, what can I say
To You that cuts oceans into highways?
Awesome Jehovah- my song
You gave me a sweet hymn
One holy, of Trinity and solemn
My pride, my power- Chimbuikem
I command the rains, haha!
For you made me a commander!
He gave victory to a strengthless me
And I march to the gates of the enemy!
El-Shaddai I am forever grateful
Odum ebo Judae, Abum ihe mbu!
Only You are God
You got the whole world
In Your merciful hands,
Only You must reign

Commentary:
I am a christian, a methodist and a child of God. I am thankful to Jesus Christ for His undying love. This poetry is my lyrics for Him Who makes this poetry possible in me. The language used in the piece safe from English is Igbo and Yoruba. And below are the translations.

Translations:
Kabiyesi: The Yoruba word for praising or hailing a King
O gburu uzo n’ozara: Igbo for The One that made settlements on desert dunes or wastelands
Ebube Dike, Dike na Dimkpa: Igbo for The powerful One, The most powerful!
Eze ndi Eze: Igbo for King of Kings
Chimbuikem: Igbo for God is my strenght!
Odum ebo Judae, Abum ihe mbu: Igbo language for Lion of Judae, I am that I am

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Uncategorized

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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Uncategorized

Africa’s poetale

Africa is a budding cocoon
A shy, fragile and cute butterfly
With shaky wings meant to fly
Living, in a desperate world

Africa is the gigantic tree
That grows by the side of the river
Shielding the lengths of the forests
And feeding the lifes around it

Africa is a mountain highly peaked
With white snows melting gracefully
And herds of Wildebeest grazing
Quietly down the grassy green plains

Africa is a mild song
That plays when the sunshine
At the beach down, down the road
With brown and white sand mixed

Africa is a dream
Waiting to happen
Hope of the generation
A scenic beauty of land and nature

Africa is my home
The hills of serene Ovim*
And the wild catfishes
That move about kingly and fearless

Africa is love
Community and family
Desires and joyful times
And the moonlight tales of the town

The Victoria Waterfalls is Africa
…The Veldt, the Savannah
…The Lake Chad and the River Niger
…The Lions and the Cheetah
…The Crocodiles and the Hippo
…The Elephants and the Rhino
…The Baobab and the Iroko
…The Zulu tribe and Igbo
…The Guinea and the Sahara
…The Oil Palm and the Shea
…The Orange and Nile River
…The Ashante and the Boer
…The Yankari reserve and the Serengeti
…The bushmens’ home and the Kalahari
…The amazing wine called mqobothi
…The Zebra and the Ostrich

Africa plays my fancy
And in such sweetness
I love my motherland

Commentary:
Ovim is in Nigeria and the poet hails from there.

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Uncategorized

Umukwu: In Cold Mornings

It is a very cold morning
As dew descend upon this land
From those ancient hills
Standing like medieval knights
Protecting, shielding and guiding the hamlet
Quiet, queer and strange
But full of amazing life

When you feel the cold
Touched by the tip of a grass leave
On your way to the stream
Or on your way to the farm
Tucked away somewhere
Through windy pathways
Hidden in the green forest
The trick of Nature comes to you
The streams are very cold
Icing cold, it takes a huge heart
To plunge a fist in the waters

The shivering cold feasts on the flesh
Turning the skin to white colorings
Driving dry airs through the nose
And up the hills, one could hear sounds;
The cutting of palm fronds
The call of the wild
The wind brings sweet scents
Of wild sunflowers and marigold
And the cooking of my people
Though the cold be so a tyrant
It revives memories never to be lost
To a wild and country-loving boy

Umukwu is a hamlet located in Ovim, Isuikwuato in Nigeria. My mother is from here and I have spent some time living here. It is a very quiet place, save from the birds twittering and the buzzing of insects in the mornings. The hamlets is almost cut off by breath taking hills surrounding it, cold streams with big catfishes and crabs which are not to be killed; very fanciful tradition you might say. The people are homely, welcoming and very friendly; a typical feature of the Igbo ethnic group.

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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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Uncategorized

Breaking the Kola

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 break the Kola nut
The food that never fills the stomach
But is the King of all foods!
We have the Cassava and the Yam
But the Kola is the King of all foods!
Unlike the Yam, it is not eaten with Palm oil
It is not pounded nor stewed
It is not meshed in meat or fish
It stands alone
It is not a food for children
But a food for men!
Our farms shall be fruitful
Our children more fruitful
Our streams shall have fish
And our forests shall have vegetables
Make us contented with what we have
The clouds will let the rains water our garden
And we shall eat of our sweat

   Learn Igbo language here

You have given us the yam
You have also given us the knife to cut it
Let the Eagle perch
Let also the Kite perch
Any that forbids the other from perching
Let his wings break
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!

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Commentary.
Sharing a bit of my African culture. The Igbo is a South Eastern Nigerian tribe. As a growing kid some decades ago I have witnessed Igbo Kola breaking traditions. It’s normally used to welcome visitors especially on festivities.

Notes.
Chineke m, ke bi nigwe: Igbo for My God who lives in Heaven.

Study Questions.
1. What are the figures of speech present in the poem?
2. Discuss the imagery.

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