There’s a popular saying among the Igbo’s that, “Ahia ntu bu nwa’ge ka onazu madu ana – a nail market trades for a short time then everyone goes. It is a proverb with deep meanings which I will be writing on here.
Maybe it’s just me or it’s the reality of growing up, I would believe it’s the latter but in recent years I have seen more beautiful people pass on, intelligent youths suddenly kiss the world goodbye, mothers dying after childbirth.
I have learned to clean my tears after pouring them out but each new experience doesn’t stop the pain from feeling fresh. Then, I wonder why some people don’t shed tears when they hear such sad news. Before, I would think they’re insensitive but now I have a different opinion about that.
For most people, they have drawn the picture and the reality is that no one is leaving here alive. These ones have mastered the art of this definite reality of ours called death. Oh mama, that’s scary.
It took me a while but I am beginning to tread the path of their illumination. Deep sigh, let me connect these with the Igbo saying illustrated in this story.
Some years ago, and once in a while, I listen to Mr. Ibu’s song and other similar song which many youth label old-school. I love old school them, they’ve got much wisdom to help the young live a life of character and avoid some youthful pitfalls. There’s this one Mr Ibu did with the late Dede One Day. It was centered on this proverb, comparing prostitution to a nail market that lasts for a brief moment. Well, Dede One Day has left us since last year. Such a metaphor!
A stranger will call the song stupid but not until you get the interpretation. In the song, this young girl who sells her body to make ends meet engaged Ibu in a dialogue. She tells him of all the small wealth she has just by offering her body to men. Ibu laughed at her and went on to say in pidgin:
Ashewo dey tell me wetin she get, mu wan juo ya onwere factory. Okwanu nwa obere ihia iji kiji na nata ego, time dey go. Anybody wey no know say time dey go, no dey even know na chineji, ahia ntu bu nani nwa obere oge ko onazu, madu ana.
If you are not conversant with Igbo, here the interpretation:
The prostitute is telling me what she has; I asked her if she’s got a factory (from where she manufactures goods to sell to make such wealth). Is it from this little endowment (butt and bust) you make such boast, time is going (you are aging), a nail market only sells for a while, buyers will desert it.
Back to life and death, the Igbo’s say life is like a nail market that trades for a while and closes. I look around me and wonder why so soon, I can’t grapple with the reality most times. Don’t expect me to; I didn’t know adulthood was about growing up to die.
Huh, it’s crazy you know, we already have it at the back of our mind that we aren’t leaving here alive. But looking at what Mr. Ibu told her, it’s only for a while, so mind how you use your endowments.
It’s funny right. We know it’ll end one day but hey we’re going to live like we’re here while we’re here. That’s our mantra at SL Kreativez NG.
And as a writer who knew the real jabs of death from eleven years, I have like my contemporaries and antecedents been perplexed by the subject of life’s brevity and always in constant darkness about this reality. At times, it pops like a bulb such that you can hold the reality in your hands and feel it move.
The more I seek to understand the phenomenon the lesser I am afraid of dying. So, let it be a nail market or not, we will keep wondering about the why’s of death and when we finally meet him or her, I hope maybe she will be kind to tell us the whys. But for now, we’ll keep groping when the tale bearers spread the telegraph of death.
However, whatever you do, never forget the story in this post. Use your endowments well because one day customers will go ooo.