The mask we wear when the world sees us

The more I think about the issues of Modakeke and Ile Ife the more I realised how easy it is for people to live in their own little world and in their minds think no one else sees the truth of their dealings when in fact it is no secret to anyone. And of course one of the reasons it is possible for one person or a group of people to oppress another is first of all the believe that the mission is possible and secondly the thoughts that the universe will remain the same that no one will get any wiser.

Aron was a 24 year old American Medical student from Yale. He came to Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife in 1998 as part of a year-long research about West Africa traditional medicines he was doing. He made Ile-Ife as his base and from there travelled to different parts of Yorubaland researching our medicinal recipes for different ailments. He was happy that all of the traditionalists he met were exceptionally helpful providing him with loads of information.

What Aron will likely never forget was what happened during his 5 months stay in Ile-Ife. As an Oyinbo he floated between the two communities freely anytime of the day as he pleases even when he had to walk from the campus gate all the way to Lagere and through Mayfair – the area that usually would be bursting with different happy noises from people advertising their goods only that this time there were barely anyone on the road as the two towns were at it once again – killing spree fuelled by fight over land ownership.

Aron told me about his visit to Ooni of Ife palace and how well he was received, I was happy for him. I really did not have to tell him a word, he has seen it all. Before he left to Ghana to continue his research, he gave me a poem that he wrote about the relationship between Modakeke and Ife. Whao, is all that I could say because I don’t think Oba Okunade Sijuade realised that a 24-year-old stranger sees much more that we wanted him to see.

Agba kii wa l’oja k’ori omo tuntun ko wo – In reality this proverb is only words not at all true for Yoruba elders,  they watch on as the future of tomorrow are being wasted.

Who are we kidding? Even with many layers of mask people can see though the inhumane attitude that we display towards our fellow beings and don’t you be deceived, when we refused to talk/write about the truth of our stories due to fear of being leached, the outsiders are writing and documenting our stories for us.

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