Stolen from the text of today’s presentation titled “Exploring Yoruba Culture Through American Eyes”, about to begin.
The realities of life are not to be evaded. Rather, they are celebrated, even the negative or unpleasant. Appeasement? Magic, perhaps? No matter. Challenges are thus acknowledged and countered, often with humour, (and) certainly with resolve.
The owner of yam peels his yam in the house. A neighbor knocks on the door. The owner of yam throws his yam in the bedroom. The neighbor says “I just heard the sound kẹrẹ kẹrẹ that’s why I came.”
The owner of yam says, “Oh, that was nothing. I was sharpening two knives.”
The neighbor says again, “I still heard something like gbi sound behind your door.”
The owner of yam says, “I merely tried my door with a mallet.”
The neighbor says again, “What about this huge fire burning in your hut?”
The fellow replies, “I’m merely warming water for my bath!”
The neighbor persists, “Why is your skin all white when it is not the harmattan season.”
The fellow is ready with his reply, “I was rolling on the floor when I heard of the death of Agadagbidi.
Then the neighbor says, “peace be with you”
Then the owner of yam starts to shout: “THERE CAN’T BE PEACE UNTIL THE OWNER OF FOOD IS ALLOWED TO EAT HIS OWN FOOD!”
As translated by Ulli Beier and performed by Wole Soyinka