How many animals and birds do you know in your life? What about their open and closed names – sobriquet in your language?
It is natural for humans to relate with animals and birds.But some persons are not fascinated by animals and birds. Yet, they make no fuss about it. They never bothered that their national coat of arm or multilateral insignias could be drawn from the animal kingdom.
The love of lower creatures and humans seems given. Despite environmental change, the affection for animals and birds is still evident among adults and children even for many who never visited a zoo.
Changing world is incapable of erasing this natural tending. As new decades are being ushered with spikes and cudgel pointing to men, animals and birds, some thought could perhaps help to a nuanced outlook. Besides, pride in animals and birds is clearly a universal disposition which evokes love and awe. Ponder over it one more time. You will lose nothing.
Peer on the pride of man. Pry on a pride of lion and their association with other animals. Their power over preys is their pride. But man’s pride in animals and birds is different. It is not a paddle of conquest but admiration skewed to reverence. This pride resonates in man’s naming of things – monuments, squares, arcades and buildings after animals and birds. One can easily identify clubs, teams in football and in security systems of the world with animal names. Unconsciously, many are made to relate closely with animals, birds even snakes!
You can relate with Eagle Square, Lion City, Elephant Stadium, The Buffalos, Taurin Lions, Desert Foxes, The Falcons, Capsin Bear, The Leopards, Dragons, Python, Cobra and Andean Condor.
These names only change in preference and presentation. It has nothing to do with any part of the world being ‘civilized’ or ‘developed’. It is a world of man, animals and birds. Dad used to remind of a maxim:
“Man bears animal names only if they are good and dignified.”
The good here has meanings. After all no one is in a hurry to bear names of animals and birds perceived secularly, socially and religiously un-dignified. For example, no one becomes a king to a lion in what it kills. On the other side, vulture is a name not so much shared with humans here. In societies where humans share names with vulture, it could be a different kind(specie) even though under same generic.
In some parts of Africa, sharing a name with vulture could be borne out of life difficulties. A women who had several births and none survived may find it easy to name a later child a vulture on the hope he will survive. It is more so when such thinking is underpinned by enduring superstition. When some persons had suffered a loss, it is not unusual for them to take names of ‘loathsome’ animals, birds and things in the belief that doing so would unmake future situation!
This is fallacious. An old man would say “Huge fallacy” as if fallacy in itself is not huge! But that is a kind of thinking at a time. Has such thinking gone for good?
Chimps are huge too.
Chimps in some African cities are in the news. They say chimps swallow huge sum of money. It has become common and could lead to endless investigation if huge gold papers are in question. It could be time wasting, but this marks the level of decay in a society. “How chimps swallow huge cash”. What a headline?
Let us move ahead.
New African chimps have gone further to act in supermarkets and as bar tenders. Scientists have also given chimps a social dressing. In spite of this beautification in the universities and research institutes, not many persons like to be in chimps or vultures’ club!
Assuming a business named Vultures Producing Company is popular in a locale, how many persons have replicated that name? How many of such names have you seen in other cities? What about Scoundrel Leadership Centre or names in such genre?
No doubt, scornful linkage in names is real. Again, not all animals or birds names are borne by humans in some parts of the world. It may be different in your society. But it is not hard to say there are animals considered lowly everywhere. A zoo segregates man from animals. Rightly, barb wires make a good fence to protect yourself.
Is this discrimination a hand maiden of biologists? No. It predates modern times and it has not changed. Why are names of domestic animals shunned in naming of humans? Where is the love of dogs, goats, sheep, donkeys and chicken? How many Mr, Mrs Miss Cow or Goat are on your Facebook friends list? Even the most instinctively wise and friendly dog suffers from lack of patronage and reciprocity in name sharing. But Lion and Lioness are family and praise names in many languages!
Using names of animals and birds for people seems to be a universal, crossing racial, social and religious boundaries. East Asians are fascinated by dragon. Africans like lion, elephant and Eagle. Latin Americans speak glowingly and adore Andean Condor. It is a seven Latin American countries national symbol. But in Igbo area the Guinea fowl attractiveness does not qualify it for a burial sacrifice. Ogazu amaka nma, ejenea enyi ozu. Indeed there is a limit to choice.
When children ask whether there is a difference in African vulture and other types of vulture, one gets challenged. Those who study birds – ornithologists are many in the western world than Africa. They tell us in their research – life, size, color, weight of birds and their consumption patterns. They know of their breeding patterns even migration in winter and summer. They can offer insight on why vultures tend not to have a decent nest like other birds.
It is said if a vulture cries about the rain that beats it today, what of tomorrow”. This is appropriate in view of the architecture of a vulture’s nest “hereinafter called its house”.
But a kind of vultures have nest built with ‘stolen’ twigs. These hardly live in those ‘homes’ like a vulture that is uncomfortable with its uncovered nest. Is it the nature of some African vultures?
Some vultures also build nest on top of rocks and big tress – Ebenebe, Tamakpa, Ajii and Obeche. Anyone conversant with the thick forest regions of the Niger may know these tall trees. At their top you see a vulture’s yogo-yogo-yogo (not well made) nest.
This height advantage should be an advantage for vultures to live high and fly high.
It flies low, very low even perch on the ground!
What about the eagle?
Have you seen an eagle perch on the ground near abattoirs?
Locales would say: when an eagle flies too low, children will stone it as they do to vultures.
The warning therefore is fly at sensible and reasonable height in the cause of dealing with the untamed. This is especially so in the world of Internet and social media where people are always in their covers brutalizing others for stating a different view. Is there a correlation here with vultures and some leaders who distinctively fly low in conduct and governance attracting all kinds of insults, some self made?
Is this behavior induced by what people want to eat like vultures? It has been suggested leaders should creatively seek for something fresh and work for it rather than scavenge for rotten left overs. When one is used to eating leftovers one is asked whether such a fellow is a vulture.
When a vulture gets hungry, it remembers a sacrifice made three years ago. Vultures go for animal entrails strewn in the bush or on a side walk after sacrifice. It is said that vultures acute nostalgia for easy things derive from laziness. A lack of creativity, preparedness for a challenge and bringing to fruition a new thing.
Vultures are comfortable with carcasses. Carcasses are a cause of waste. Large numbers of cherished Andes vultures even African vultures are decimated by poisoned animal meat they feast on. Caution, eat right. Don’t eat and perish.
Again, cast your minds on the primitive accumulation of dictators. On Internet you see some African leaders abandoned estates, mansions and cars, these remains are insulting effigies of shame.
Is the continent still growing its wild vultures?
Check out vultures scavenging pattern. Get near to an African abattoir. What you see are African vultures quarreling, gangling like a drunk looking for leftovers. A new invention may not be their interest or share in the world division of labour. Again, do you see Eagles at abattoirs?
Eagles fly high, seek for own clean meat hence cannot easily get diseased by rotten things.
Some youths would ask whether one wants to be an African vulture or eagle?
We have not exhausted the parallelism between African bird vultures and their human counterpart.
Saying and doing is the hallmark of great men and nations. When there is a project all resources are mustered towards its execution. It is creating and not sharing what others have produced even though we know that governance at any level involves authoritative allocation of values.
Where ever you may be, start today, to create in order to share. Start today, to fly high. Start today, to build qualitatively. Start today, to reject left overs – Nke eri fodu, or Aje-ku. One is not doomed to be a vulture. Engage your mind and ask those who are leaders if they know there are vultures at school, work, family, town, state and country.
What is African vulture? Is this question scornful? No. A challenge?
Why should one not be like an African Vulture could derive from an anecdote. Soap never foams on the head of a vulture, it is alleged. Vultures head is bare. Vultures do not need a barber. Naturally, vultures have little feathers on their heads. What about other parts of their body? Mostly, it is untouched and unkempt. Endowed with a long beak, yet, the vulture fails to peck itself clean to the peak!
Vultures they say boast that they do not reside in unholy land! But vultures are often seen around abattoirs in many cities. What is implied? Are these cities not clean and holy?
There is a story on how to curb vultures double speak. When vultures say that they do not dwell in unholy land. Many wondered. Holy land? Vultures are reputed to go after rotten drop offs, dead animals, food sacrifices on roads and city ends. These make vultures easy associates with loathsome, deadly stinking things. Vultures are seen as a dingy, dungy bird in some cultures. Vultures claim that they live only on holy land staggers decency and questions a clean mind. But that is vulture for you.
A community once decided to curb this doublespeak. The rankled community wracked their brains. They came out with a decision. Henceforth, during festivals, sacrifices will be made in a different way.
There will be no food or animal sacrifices during festivals. All lineages are required to present akwa ododo- red cloth, because ododo buta Uje onari onu. “They argue red colour takes charge at festivals”. Pure red cloth will be used as sacrifice throughout the community.
In the first year, vultures hovered. Second year was nothing but red. Vultures could not see anything to eat in a land implied unholy. The various red cloth used for sacrifice become a scarecrow. Vultures were scared. Indeed, there is nothing in the red cloth that could attract vultures. By creative and decisive action, vultures were made to steer clear of the community. The doublespeak of vultures not staying in unholy land melted away. The hypocrisy hanging in vultures figure of speech, which played on the minds of men was put to eternal rest. This is evaporation of lies!
Interesting and instructive. But now let take a few things home for keep.
One needs creativity to deal with a nagging challenge. A claim that something is not true does not necessarily need all fireworks of propaganda and fire powers of guns of this world in order to prove it otherwise.
Is it possible to spare a moment? Meditatively and creatively proffer solution and get results that will startle you. The vulture and Ododo buta Uje master stroke perhaps, could encourage us to approach matters differently. It could inform a thought on how to deal with un- abating erosion of values in ones personal life as a youth.
How is this bird held in your community? We know there could be different kinds of vultures. We are discussing about vultures in Africa. Are vultures same across the the landscape? Some say African vultures carry pejorative tag over a large expanse.
Give us a feedback.
Vultures fly low. Human presence does not frighten them. It is a scavenger bird. Hard work is not their trade mark. Some say vultures are loathsome and lecherous.
Leave out the wasted past. Build the new so that food will fill the store house and spill over.
Next time you see vultures around abattoirs, what would run through mind?
Anger against vultures double speak
Laziness of a vulture
Vultures flying low and children casting stones on them as past time
Primitive accumulation of leaders – old mansions, old cars in crumbled garage, outdated ornaments as effigies of shame?
Large numbers of persons who relish in show of shame of old vultures.
Never become a vulture in Africa because you will not be glorified.