Saturday, 17 March 2012

The Land of My Fathers.

In my last post, I spoke about my ancestral warrior blood. This part of my african lineage is a common trait in the Egba people who were known as fierce warriors. The capital of Egbaland was and still remains the city of Abeokuta in Nigeria. Amongst the distinguished Nigerians whose origins can be traced back to Abeokuta city is former president of Nigeria General Olusegun Obasanjo who happens to be celebrating his 75th birthday this week. The late Fela Kuti musician extraordinaire and loads more distinguished Nigerians come from Egbaland.

The traditional ruler of this part of the country is the Alake of Egbaland and he is highly respected by all. He is in effect the custodian of the cultural heritage of his people. Up till the present day, certain ceremonies are still performed in the same way as in ancient times,.Certain elements within jazz music were taken from the talking drum patterns of this area and the west african region as a whole.

Drummers are an integral part of royal ceremonies. The drummers announce the Alake's proclamations and decrees. Drummers assemble prior to a royal court of chiefs and while each chief arrives at court, the Alake is informed via the unique gan gan sound (Talking drum) which will be exclusive to each chief arriving while the Alake (King) sits in his second storey throne room.

The ironic yet fascinating fact is that the first recognised sounds of jazz evolved from the secret supernatural cults of West africa. Olumo rock, a monolithic landmark of Egbaland with it's foreboding crevices and dark caves became a shrine after the Yoruba - Dahomey wars of the 19th century which had been going on for centuries.

The Dahomey wars raged for hundreds of years. This empire was surrounded by the Ashanti, Egba, Benin, Ayo and Ewe empires. As the yoruba and dahomey wars raged in 1727, Agadja and his elite army of female virgin warriors tried to invade the Egba city of Abeokuta. Olumo rock, a symbol of Egba power protected the egba people and was an ideal sanctuary from attack. Those who pursued the Egba to the rock fell under it's curse and their skin and orifices would ooze blood and pus. As this happened, the Dahomey troops would turn and flee.

Even today, many africans from other tribal groups refuse to venture up Olumo rock for fear of their lives. Even foreign missionaries acknowledged these powers but would usually put it down to satanic and evil spirits. An american baptist missionary in the Cameroons claimed to have driven out devils which had possessed some Africans (i.e. Exorcism). When asked to reconcile this belief in african rituals and demon possession, he said, the bible says "Satan and his evil spirits shall prowl the earth seeking the ruin of souls". The witchdoctors have satanical powers was all he could say.

The land of my fathers is probably no worse or better than other lands where people live out their lives with the best expectations for themselves and their families. Communities where there is joy, laughter, sadness and tears. The drummers from our lands are similar to south american shamans who use sounds to acknowledge their ancestors. There is nothing evil in the sound of these drums from Egbaland, they are used to announce births, deaths and everything in between. Hearing these drums, you will have no doubt you are hearing the sound of joy and celebration. It is the unique sounds from the land of my father's father and their fathers.


                  (First published on 6/03/2012)

Friday, 16 March 2012

Crayon's Terror !!!

Lying slightly on his right side in the deep undergrowth of bushes, terrified and trying not to breathe too hard in the dark moonless night, his main concern right now was that his thudding heart was loud enough to be heard, Crayon's face was pressed hard against the damp moist earth, his own right hand clamped firmly over his mouth, more afraid that the whimpering he felt in his chest may involuntarily escape and he would be discovered by the human monster frantically parting the bushes looking for him. 

This is a nightmare, he thought, his attention was now drawn to the rustling sound from the bushes getting nearer and nearer, the search getting closer and closer by the second. His mind conjured up his experiences since he could walk. Everything he had seen, heard, smelled and tasted came to him in the space of a millisecond. I suppose this is what they mean when they say "your life is flashing before your eyes", he thought. The nearer the search got, the closer to the ground Crayon crouched until he could feel the damp fertile soil press against his forehead, nose and chin.

Something did involuntarily escape from within Crayon, he felt it, warm and sticky trickling down the back of his trouser leg. At first he thought it was only urine but the smell told him it was worse than that. The realisation that he had shat himself didn't seem to matter or have much concern for him at this particular moment. All he knew was that at fifteen years old, he wasn't ready to die yet.

 It wasn't his fault really that his mates had left him behind when they decided to break bounds and go into the town to watch a film everyone had been raving about. Breaking bounds on the other hand was against college rules, right now, breaking boarding house rules was the least of his worries.

There had been a spate of ritual killings within the town where he went to school. Only two days before, the newspapers had reported on the corpses that had been discovered behind Crayon's boarding school. It was common knowledge that these cadavers had vital organs missing, there was little doubt that these organs had been acquired for ritual purposes. The man hunting Crayon was beginning to get frantic. At the same time as searching and parting bushes he was reciting or mumbling something under his breath, probably some charm or magical incantations, thought Crayon.

Suddenly the man stopped. He has seen me! thought Crayon, just then the jujuman turned away from where Crayon was hiding and disappeared into the jungle. Crayon could now hear voices getting closer to where he was, a couple of the voices he recognised. Obviously, the sound of those voices, had scared the jujuman away. His college mates were on their way back from the movies and Crayon started to cry.

(Excerpts from: Crayon and the Jujuman)

Until next the next blog, stay cool,


Wednesday, 14 March 2012

A thought for Peace!

The truth they say will set you free. this is very true from my experience, the only trouble sometimes is the journey you have to take to arrive at the truth. The judiciary I think describes truth as relative.

Our perception of truth varies depending on the context of which truth, whose and what so I get a headache trying to reconcile the truth will set you free without contextualising it. In short, this statement can sometimes be difficult to swallow.

As for me, it seems like I am sitting in a calm before the storm and my one true perception of truth right now is to match this external calm with an inner calm, anticipate and give a thought for peace.

The world at different times, has experienced peacemakers, some at just the right time for the peace they made and others not. Our world right now, needs the peacemakers more than ever with the upheavals in the arab world, war in Afghanistan and also certain parts of africa. People should be more focused on helping to further peace and support those who are out to achieve this purpose.

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God" is from the christian bible. To be born, to live and to die in peace is the inheritance that God's children attempt to preserve and protect as they go about their daily lives. 

It takes a huge amount of strength, to place ones own prejudices and emotional baggage to one side during already tense and explosive situations, step forward and calmly administer peace. To incite and worsen such situations is easy. This is why peacemakers are always the true heroes and also God's children.

It takes more courage and strength to walk away from a fight. The easiest thing to do when provoked is to lash out and fight. When provoked during an already tense situation, the impulse to pulverise, go to war and maybe even kill is sometimes overwhelming. It is only a special breed, as the children of God, that resist this base impulse.

It is good to at least once a day, think of those caught up in upheavals and wars all over the planet and support those, who do not have the relative peace the rest of us take for granted.

Until next time,



The Laziest Writer

On The Planet Is sitting up in his bed. His mind is in a turmoil, whirring in a hundred different directions all at once. H...