OUR VILLAGE PEOPLE AND THE DRUMS THEY BEAT ON OUR HEADS
- a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing
Nollywood has, over the years, portrayed rural life as a place where the settlers are wicked conspirators, a den of killers and haters that constantly plot the ill of their kinsmen from the city when they visit. However, Nollywood is not the only culprit here, even us, most of our parents shielded most of us from the village too. If they didn’t stop us, they didn’t encourage it either.
A friend once narrated her first village visit to me, she told me how her mum had series of vigils prior to the trip. My friend began to lose interest. She hated the mental preparation that came with the visit. Though her parents were frequent travellers to their hometown, they hardly took her along. However, when she got to the village, she loved her experience. She explained how she wanted to explore everywhere. She remembers only the contented simplicity of the hardworking people, their kind nature and how it was everyone’s responsibility to raise a child, how the full moon meant everyone gathers in the square and socialise. She loved the party preparations too, the old men reeling wisdom, old stories and folklores, she loved to watch the loud banter of women cooking, the old women directing the young as they reminisced in loud voices, the men doing the slaughter, the dancing by the people and the masquerades. She did not fail to remind me that our men crush drummers in our church were only learners compared to drummers in the village. She was looking forward to the next holiday. However, when they got back to the city, her mother started vigils upon vigils and made her have a compulsory fast. For ten days, their food had no salt! The following year, she wasn’t interested in visiting her hometown.
📷: Reflections, a oil painting by Segun Fagorusi
Village people is just a joke you say, it is only humor, don’t make a fuss out of it. Perhaps, this is the time I apologise for being this uptight. Regardless, I tell you unapologetically that this type of stereotype is entirely WRONG. Common cliches such as, are they following you from your village? You better tell your village people they didn’t meet you etc are comfortable rising perspective in everyday conversations that they are drummers of peril.
Are there not more crimes in the city than in the village? Is this stereotype cliche not from our pseudo narcissistic view? In the city, we also get robbed, killed, kidnapped, poisoned and raped, despite the luxury of education, a neutral hand to settle dispute like a court of justice, written constitution and so on. Yet, where is the stereotypes for city people and crimes? There are bad people everywhere. Bad stories everywhere. Bad experiences everywhere. We should not attribute misfortune, bad luck and evil deeds to village people.
We do not like it when the developed world sees us has shit-hole, violent, hungry and uneducated people, not as though these are false but it is a single story.
📷: Egungun Dancer by Christian Hauzer
When we use an experience to blanket an entire people because of where they live I think it is UNFAIR.
Thanks to Zainab Haruna who made me conscious of stereotypes.