They Called Me ‘Goat’

August 19, 2017
Source: Mawuli Zogbenu l l Ghana
They Called Me ‘Goat’

Did you know that the dynamics in languages can cause you your product if not managed properly? This is bcos the car Chevy Nova when introduced into the Spanish market couldn’t sell as the meaning of the word ‘nova’ in Latin means ‘doesn’t go’? How can a car ‘not go’? Ah! Wait till I tell you my own story.

Ekiti State was my destination. From my hotel base in Ikeja, Lagos to Ekiti is about 6 hours drive. I went through Ogun State where you would find Africa’s biggest church, Bishop Enoch Adeboye’s Church - the Redeemed Christian Church of God. Ei! The gifted simple man of God’s church, is no child’s play. In my eyes estimation, the auditorium alone measured about 10km square! Yea! A whole  community o, not just a building. Chai! Humongous!  

Let somebody shout ‘Halleluuuuuuuuuuuya! Amen!Herh? I think this Church alone can swallow a lot of the churches in Ghana if there is a recapitalization regime for the churches which may be on life support because their congregants are not paying their tithes! Kw3333!

Ibadan (pronounced Ibadon), the capital of Oyo State is said to be the largest city in West Africa. From there, I got to Osun (Oshun) State where I found the famous Ile Ife where the Ga people were said to have migrated from. It is known to be the oldest cosmopolitan Yuroba city with a population over 500,000 people. There is a place called ‘AKARA OSU’ in ‘OSU TOWN’. I stopped by to see if I would see kenkey. I didn’t but I could smell kpakposhitor (spicy pepper). I wanted to be sure the Gas were indeed from Ile Ife so I went to buy toothbrush from a woman whose name is ‘Gbemisola’. With the first two syllables of the name, I could confirm Accra started from here! She was carrying her daughter called ‘Ok33minichukwu’; enough proof! ‘Oya’ is a common  expression here with the same meaning in Ga which is: ‘quickly’. The Obafemi Awolowo (I believe ‘Obafemi’ sounds Ga-ish) and Oduduwa Universities are where I thought Prof Aryeetey would like to be a visiting professor knowing that indeed his forebears migrated from there.

Ekiti is a beautiful and a huge Nigeria State in the Western Region about 316km south-west of Lagos. The people, I was told are some of the most disciplined Nigerians. I suspect the Gomoa people have friends there. Just like Gomoa Germany, Gomoa France, Gomoa SIC, Gomoa TV3, etc, Ekiti towns are similar –eg. Aaye-Ekiti, Efaki-Ekiti, Ado-Ekiti (the capital, very beautiful). You would also find Erio-Ekiti, Ido Ile-Ekiti, Ayegbaju-Ekiti, Iyin-Ekiti etc. Iworoko-Ekiti has a green mountainous vegetation with a terrain similar to those of Kwahu or Kpeve in Ghana with very tall nude and semi nude mountains with scary corner corner roads!

Ekiti people have a great culture. Pounded yam with egushi soup is their main meal. Generally at funerals, wake is kept between 5-7pm and everyone goes home. On the day of the burial, church service is held lasting maximum 2 hours. Apart from the biography of the deceased, no tribute is read because they believe the long tributes are already in the brochure and so no need to waste the time of mourners unlike we do here in Ghana when at some funerals even cats and dogs are made to read tributes of their late owners thus wasting everybody’s time’!  In the chapel, one may think the Ekitis are Fantes; they mix English with the local Yuroba. Read this: ‘Before Christ’s death, ugu orun re dun bi omo titun chikeyy kelewele ogongon oshey! Oluwa Himself understands that alagidi kedede mr Ibu paku mion gbedu gbe alafiani. Oluwa gbakugbaku egede orogbo baluwi b33mi as a result of faith’! Ayooo! Hmm!

We all don’t know where we are really coming from o. You won’t believe the Yuroba word for ‘blacksmith’ is ‘agbede’ the same way the Ewes in Ghana, Togo and Benin call a ‘blacksmith’. Bicycle or motorbike is called ‘keke’ the same way the Ewes call it. ‘Kpakpahey’ is how Ewes call dabudabu (duck) and the Yurobas call it ‘Kp3kp3y3!

There were other words that sounded Ewe-ish but had different meanings and they would blow your mind. I got angry at a point because everyone addressed me as ‘Egbon’. Initially I thought they were insulting me as a ‘goat’ since some of their earlier words meant the same things in Ewe. When I explained to them that ‘egbon’ in my language means ‘goat’, they laugh aaaaa enter Abeokuta! Later, they explained that ‘egbon’ in Yuroba simply means ‘brother’. Yes o.

The Yuroba name for susu (savings) box got me laughing till now! I asked for the Yuroba name for susu box, abeg, your wife sef go bore rof, herh! They described it as ‘that box wey you go put something small small for inside everyday till na in begin to become ‘pregnant’ then you open am comot Naira’! I exploded with laughter when they gave the name in Yuroba.  When I told them that in my language it means ‘a lady’s ‘this thing’ where men enjoy’, they nearly collapsed from laughing. Am feeling shy to say it mpo but ask any Ayigbe friend how Ewes call Ablavi’s ‘this thing’. Let me give you a clue. It is called ‘k*l*’. Just fill in the gaps but if it turns out to be ‘kala’, it is wrong. If it is ‘kulu’, it is still wrong. ‘Kili’ is wrong too.  ‘Kele’ is over the bar! There are five vowels in the 26 letters of the English alphabets; I have already used 4 here. Find X! You can now get the answer by looking for the last one and use it to substitute the asterisks: ‘k*l*’. Fill it er and pronounce it loudly for the Ewe ladies in your office to hear. You can also use it in a sentence e.g, ‘Can I open your k*l*’ and put some coins inside?’ After this request, don’t wait for a response, if not and you are beaten, you are on our own. The only safe place to say this is in Yuroba land, not among my people o!  

That is how the Yurobas call ‘susu box’ o! Hmmm! Irike is a town noted for its kelewele and what happens here in the cities in Ghana – street hawking. Hawkers would coax you into buying what you don’t need. I was compelled to buy their kelewele which they call ‘dodo-Irikie’.

You would hear them shout asaala (walnut), agbado (maize). This ‘agbado’ name is the name of ‘maize’ used by Ewe fetishes in Ghana, Togo and Benin; otherwise maize is generally called ‘ebli’ in Ewe. But the Yurobas call it ‘agbado’ too. Ogede is banana. Orogbo is bitter cola used in controlling HBP!

Between Ibadan and Ile Ife is a highway similar to the NI highway and I learnt armed robbers operate on the stretch at night especially at places called Ogere and Ajebo. Kw3333, if your car breaks down here in the night, just abandon it and jump on to the nearest trotro which they call ‘danfo’. Some of these trotros have refused to be called trotros and at the same time, refused to be called taxis. I haven’t seen any in Ghana yet; it’s about 4-6-seater suzuki micro-bus.

Lagos is the heartbeat of Naija. Nobody has time to waste so driving can be crazy here. The moment you start hearing from drivers: ‘Gerrout, you too gerrout’, then you can be sure you are approaching Lagos! That is when frustration meets frustration from motorists. One frustrated driver would recklessly cross another and the verbal attacks start. ‘gerrout’ ‘you too gerrout’. ‘Clear off’, ‘you too clear off’. Typical Lagosians? They only insult each other but to fight on the street? No; it is rare! Nigerians respect the elderly o. The insults are typically restricted among the youth and their peers. As for dumsor in Nigeria, it is a way of life, not a problem! Herh?

The reason you shouldn’t have read this unnecessary story about Naija is that today is Friday August 18 and I am broke, rof! I have blocked all the girls too on wassap! E bi me born them? Ah! You no know say this be serious business newspaper where we talk about GDP, PDP, ECG, GTV, Interest rates, Acquisitions, Assumptions and things that can give you stress? Me? Fill in the gap for ‘k*l*’ using the last vowel that is missing? Hahaaaa!