For those who grew up in the village and before independence, the stories of hyena and jackal would be one of their greatest memories. One of the greatest moments in those days was just after supper. It would either be around the fire or in an open space when it is a full moon when everyone’s thirst for a story finally gets quenched.
These stories sounded so real that as a child one would have mental images of them. One would imagine just exactly how the hyena and the jackal would be talking to one another. The stories, especially when told by good storytellers, were so believable that as a child one would be sitting in inquisitive wonder.
What one may have not figured out at the time though is that these stories were metaphorical. It was a traditional way of teaching and instilling cultural and social values and norms.
One would come to this realisation as they grow older and get to explore more, especially on the characteristics of the hyena and jackal that the latter is not necessarily as smarter as told, nor is the former stupid.
Our ancestors already figured out a long time ago that the best way to teach or tell something of value for mental retention was through story-telling and repetition. This is the very same method being used to market products, ideologies, and even to reinforce certain social behaviour to date.
Not only is the idea used to sell products or influence social behaviour among populations, but it is also used to create entities as scapegoats for things humans do not wish to take responsibility for.One of these ideas, which in my view deserves a Nobel Prize, is the idea of the devil.
This idea has been sold so well that it has become the best-selling idea of our times if not of all times. This idea has created as an escape route for humans to free themselves from any ill deeds they wish not to take responsibility for. It is so much deep that one would knowingly do something bad in private as many times as possible but blame it on an imaginary entity only when it comes to light.
One could even say that the idea of the devil has done worse especially to our cultural norms and values which would have seen our livelihood greatly improve if they were preserved. For example, in some cultures and traditions, there were strong consequences for certain deeds. These were so strong that they kept society orderly and maintain values of high standards. This is because they emphasised the fact that one must take responsibility for their deeds. It would also set as an example for those who may wish to indulge or conduct themselves in such ways in future.
The idea of the devil though has come to take away all that. It has come to soften and at the same time degrade some of the values that held societies together. It has made ways for irresponsibility to become a norm. It has created a breeding ground for ignorance and complacency – a situation that has become almost impossible to recover from.
A change is going to happen only when responsibility and accountability are set on the highest pedestal of society. It starts with the admission that the story of the devil is a myth or just simply take as the hyena and jackal folklore. It starts with every individual accepting their wrong and taking responsibility, for if we continue to run away from it and blame it on something we have no evidence of its existence, it is us or the generation after us that will bear the consequences.
By Karlos TheGreat
OSHIMWENYO is published every Friday in the New Era newspaper with contributions from Karlos Naimwhaka.
2020-11-06 10:49:47 | 29 days ago