The Language Of Symbols – #WinterABC2022 (Day 4)

Prompt for Stories of Africa week

It was evening and a group of students was gathered around a big flaming fire that was lit as part of a traditional funeral procession to mourn the foetus that was discovered aborted earlier in the day. Females were wailing on top of their voices. Male students sung funeral songs while passing a big pot of chicken pieces from the three chickens they illegally slaughtered from one of the houses in the lecturers’ compound. A funeral feast was well underway.

As it is with all student drama, every gathering should end with an address from the Union leadership. But because this was not a gathering on student welfare, they chose a female student who was advanced in age to address them. The lady stepped forward with a question that prompted male students to share what they learnt from catching those three chickens.

Dressed chicken from zamura

“I can never outrun a chicken. I need to lose weight,” replied one student.

Another one responded, “its not easy catching a chicken but we never stopped until we caught it”.

With these answers the woman started addressing the students…

There is food for every stage of childhood. You begin with milk as a baby. As you grow, the first chicken product you eat is eggs. Please stick to eating eggs if you don’t have teeth. If you do not trust your teeth to handle tough meat, then you also need to remain eating eggs. That is your chicken. Do not eat chicken if you are not ready to deal with the bones that lie under that steak. They will break your teeth or you will choke on them.

On the other hand, those that feel like they are ready to eat chicken and it’s bones should be ready to suffer a few sacrifices like these guys suffered to catch them. If you had not stollen the chickens, your pockets were still going to suffer in paying the owner. You were going to pay because the owner sacrificed money and time to raise that chicken to the level where it was ready for you to eat.

Eating a chicken has responsibilities. You pick one out of many, pursue it, then killed it. Those that don’t eat the head will get rid of it. If you have no issues with eating the head, keep it. The next stage is to remove the feathers. No one eats a chicken with it’s feathers! It is your job to remove feathers. Whether you are storing it in the regerator to eat later, you still have to remove feathers. Are you hearing me?

“Yes madam,” replied the attentive students.

Now let me tell you about the neck and the other parts. That neck is….

The lady went on to explain all the chicken parts, but let us leave it there. Imagine yourself as a young person learning the chicken as part of your marriage preparation. Now go back and listen to the lady’s speech again. No smiling please.

See, African culture is a master at hiding information in plain site. Our elders used symbols to communicate sensitive information. This is in direct contrast with the western ways of being open and free to discuss everything with everyone.

Our culture believes that information has to be earned; exactly the same way we earn access to confidential company information when we get promoted. We cannot expose sensitive information to someone it is never intended for. It will destroy them, or they will destroy the institution. Secrets are only given to those who are trained to handle them. Information should be protected.

The west believes in starting sex education at an early stage in a child’s life. African culture believes in preserving the innocence of our children until the right age. I agree that some African children would mimic intimate acts with “ash ash” sounds while fully clothed; but you cannot compare their ages with kids in today’s social media videos caught doing the actual kissing.

Westerners came in Africa, convinced us and their sponsors that we are prisoners of our culture because we are not allowed to express ourselves. They used their people’s tax payer money to kill our ways and “educate” our innocent children with sensitive information. Our language of symbols has been reduced to just a tourist attraction as “ancient ways of communicating”.

Their tax payers are convinced they are doing a great service to Africa. African elders are bemoaning the erosion of morals in their children and the extinction of good African practices. Clearly we need to educate the west of the harm they have done to our culture or they will continue thinking they are saving us.

“Until the Lion begins to write, the stories will glorify the hunter.”


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