Now that I’ve stumbled onto the topic of cultural genuineness, I want to share a particular experience that threw me for a personal loop of sorts, and on the first day we were here too. We were invited to take a tour of a small artifact exhibit in the Institute of African Studies at University of Ghana Legon, where most of our classes will be held. The exhibit was focusing on the Akan craft of bronze casting. At first it seemed like any other exhibit, with some interesting facts and details of processes that have been used in the past and changed over time. Then we reached the cases of bronze cast proverbial symbols and tokens.
Obi Nka Obi was represented here as two fish with their heads at the other’s tail and is loosely translated to, “no one should bite another’s tail”, capturing the reciprocal nature of social interaction. This proverb captures the same essence that other proverbs from many cultures, including the popularly known pseudo-Christian Golden Rule, do unto others as you would like them to do unto you, an extrapolation or contextualization of Leviticus 19:18 or Mark 12:31: “...love your neighbor as yourself...” The curator explained that even though the Akan people did not use a complicated or sophisticated written language, things like these small bronze cast totems/weights were used throughout the culture as ways to remember the proverbs, as a way to pass them down from generation to generation. Never before, had I felt the power of an oral tradition as then.
|A little sneak peak of the waterfall!|