“THE GRASSHOPPERS” FIGHT
Our elders say “by trying often, the monkey learns to jump from tree to tree”, I used to draw several folds of inspiration from what I thought was the wisdom of the elders, until only a few cock crows ago. When the elders talked about “monkey” and “trees”, were they perhaps, insinuating that those of us who “try often” to become better at what we do are actually “monkeys”? Help me with the answer, oh dear wise one, for your child is more confused than “a group of black ants without a leader”.
Nyaba, did I just call myself a “black ant”? Help me with the answers. I cannot be found wanting of wisdom and guidance, not me, son of Masala, grandson of Nyaba the wise one. For is it not said that “The grasshopper which is always near its mother eats the best food”? Nyaba, I am the grasshopper and you are my mother. I have come close to you so that I may eat the best food”. Did I just call you a “grasshopper”? Did I? ………. I am confused.
The other day, I met Sanatu, daughter of Mashu the shoemaker. She was being tickled in the dark by Yaamuha, the village womanizer. I detested what Yaamuha, known for his touch and go, hit and run, machinations, was about to do to the daughter of our respected village shoemaker. But what I detested more was the excitement with which Sanatu responded to Yaamuha’s fingers playing at the strings of her nipples which had almost shot out of the cloth that was tied around her neck and back. I knew what destiny would befall her if I looked on unconcerned. I moved closer to the two who were hiding behind the dark shadows of the two neem trees overlooking the village stream.
Just when Sanatu had opened her mouth in readiness to swallow the saliva that had been deposited in her mouth by Yaamuha through the nasty white man’s perception of romance, I shouted at her in resentment “Sanatu, It is only a stupid cow that rejoices at the prospect of being taken to a beautiful abattoir.”
Nyaba, by my words, I was only sounding a word of caution to Sanatu, that if she loosened her guard and allowed the liquid fire in Yaamuha’s gun to shoot at her, she would end up with a broken heart and a fatherless child”.
My intentions were pure. But the following day, just when I was sharpening my cutlass to cut down the troublesome grass that had grown around the compound, Mashu and his daughter Sanatu, together with his eldest son had invaded our compound in anger. Sanatu had told them that I called her “a stupid cow”.
Nyaba, such are the things that have dominated discussions between the “for” people in the elephant clan and the “against” people in the umbrella clan. It was Chinua Achebe who said, “proverbs are the palm oil with which words are eaten”. Apparently, he was wrong. Proverbs, metaphors, figures of speech are all meaningless until a “for” person or an “against person uses it. It is only then that depending on who used what metaphor, or proverb, or idiom, or simile or even direct comparison, we are told the “for” meaning and the “against” meaning.
Nyaba, Soon, our children’s children may have to acquire the soon to be published “Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs, Idioms, and – the “For” and “Against” edition in order to keep up with the current political discourse.
The man, who used to sit on the National Throne just a little over three yam festivals ago, has been saying things about the man who now sits on the national throne. He said all the things that “against” people say when they are in a position of opposition.
Some of the things “against” people often say are true, some are not so true and some are outright lies. At a point, the man who used to sit on the national throne was expressing his surprise at how the current national chief and his subjects were doing the very things they condemned when they were the “against” people. In doing so, he made reference to how the man who now sits on the national throne has not performed well in handling the selling and buying affairs and the general wellbeing of the cowry affairs of our chiefdom.
The former national chief insinuated that our chiefdom had fallen deeper into debt and that the current national chief and his elders had lost the type of ideas needed to resurrect such an ailing, economy that had assumed coma status.
Nyaba, these assertions tasted like a combination of different mixtures of raw chloroquine and adom kookoo bitters in the mouth of the elephant clan. The deputy national chief then approached gossips in our chiefdom and told them to tell the former national chief that the buying and selling affairs of our chiefdom is healthy. Beyond that, he told the gossips to tell the former national chief that in these times when the world faces war from an invisible enemy, that the people of the elephant clan have provided free water and subsidized electricity for the people. He then asked them to ask the former national chief what he did for the people when our chiefdom was under attack from the Dumsor enemy.
The people of the umbrella clan then began to hoot and boo at the deputy national chief for comparing coronavirus era to dumsor era. They claim that the best comparison would have been between the coronavirus era and the ebola era. This is what the brouhaha is all about
Nyaba, I call this a trivial fight. I wish the “for” and “against” people will “fight” more positive and fruitful battles. I wish the battles will be more about how to get the herbal centers better equipped than they are now. I wish the battle will be more about collaborating to fight the common enemy. I wish the battles will be about how to get a national iron bird which will fly in the sky with the colours of our chiefdom embossed on its tail. After all, is it not our elders who say that “When two elephants fight, it is the grass that gets trampled”? Oops!
Nyaba, do you remember what I once told you about the Akan concept known as “Akutia”. When a proverb, metaphor or idiom is used in the context of “Akutia” then know that a war of words is about to start.
The former national chief has gone and said something about the current national chief. The current assistant national chief has responded with “blows” heftier than the ones from Bastie’s fists that dazed Bukom Banku and knocked him out.
The coming days will be exciting, for it is said that “a fight between grasshoppers is a joy to the crow”. In this proverb, former President Mahama and Veep Bawumia are the grasshoppers, and the gossips are the crows.
The gossip will be needless but exciting.