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The Breach
18. June 2018 at 19:56
It is not that we are superstitious. It is not that tradition explains everything either. Truth is, we are only ignorant about the happenings; so we put up walls to things we barely understand. Masking our fears- playing it safe. The canker worm eats into our thick skulls. The virus spreads without contraception. Our children too become infected.
The damage is magnanimous now- our neural faculties have been compromised. Like a haughty teacher in square-framed spectacles with a 'no-smile-zone' pinned to her pink cheeks, no one bothers to ask a question. "Trust the system" they say.

"That silk-cotton tree looks very different. Its branches seem to cut through to those of the other silk-cotton trees around it. Maybe it is trying to suffocate the rest. That's a bad thing to do. This must be an evil tree. Let no man ever come any close to it." The superstition is sealed with no haggles whatsoever. The mere theory now becomes a community rule. Passers-by spew curses on the innocent tree. The farmers whose path the tree stood, spat unto the grounds beneath its enormous trunk. It closes its cuticles in effect- the stench is unbearable.

The children don't see an elegant, enormous, tropical silk-cotton tree anymore, they behold danger now- a threat to life. Its warm buttress sure used to be a good hiding spot for them. Its fluffy white silk floss are tagged 'bad lucks' now. No wonder we never saw the bale of clothes embedded within those fluffy cushions, or the money we could have made from a site attraction.

Abotsi, son of the famous hunter, Peseku, squat beneath the great silk-cotton tree. His gun, locked in on an antelope- a big one. Lucky day! His sweat greased his thirsty shot gun and leaked onto the surface roots of the tree. In a reflex, she fans a palmate stem leaf, spreading coils of fresh air over his tired face. 'So refreshing' he thought. Boom! He shot, but missed. Abotsi missed. He has never missed, not even during a training session.

"Hope no one saw it?" he flashed his eyes around. But what happened? He skied, only to see the silk-cotton tree, standing 25ft from the ground, with branches as long as his eyes could see. He saw beauty, but a thought skipped the former. "For years that I have been practicing, I've never missed a target; not even a cockroach, till I found myself beneath this tree! Father was right, this tree is accursed. He's always right" beauty fades.

How easy do we blame others for our misfortunes, forgetting it was all us? We skipped a word, a file, a notice, an opportunity, a memo, an email, a compliment, a smile, a second chance, a third, a forth, just so we could finish up quickly and take the break we so wished three hours ago- at the very start of work.

We blame the coffee for being too hot, the swivel chair for being too comfortable- it makes me drowsy at work, not my fault though. We blame the alarm clock for being too noisy- couldn't hear you laudably sir, my alarm clock was way too close to my ears. And the list is unendingly unending. Blame games for our fears, our laziness, insecurities and mediocrities, forgetting that we change our own gears in life. I can't help it, but to be in tears. All these years, we have plaqued our own selves, settling for the meres.

We called them evil, forbidden, fenced... and so they were to us. But they saw something different, something off the charts and completely alien to our radar. They saw beauty, hidden treasures, opportunities and wealth. Not that we couldn't see them elegances, but just like Abotsi, a thought blinded the former- always trust the system. The evil forests our forefathers slammed in our faces, now house the greatest schools and institutions of times born and unborn. These then unexplored sites now generate funds to the nation through tourism.

Looks like everything is possible for white and reverse for black. But no, the difference dwells between our ears. Slavery is only a mentality, which eludes the body's immune system and kills like the plasmodium parasite. If we could have sea guards to watch over our beaches, training the youth on how to save lives on those turfs, our beaches would be safe. It is never a matter of the evil spirits that haunt the oceans, or the numerous sacrifices done at the shores, as it is a matter of acquiring knowledge about the seas to save the many lives lost to the waves.

If the oceans from which tsunamis are cooked up in, can have sea guards, even after numerous tragedies, why then can't the ones with very less tsunamic tendencies also be protected and preserved likewise? They could so easily have tagged the oceans as bewitched and unsafe but, no; they never stopped protecting those beaches. And they never will. Black and White aren't colours, they are but mentalities. States of being.

Tradition helped to protect our natural resources, yes. But what is the essence of our education if we can't see the bigger picture and help our own selves. If we can't apportion a day to have a tree planting exercise to save the lost ones. If we can't even understand and effectively utilise our own resources. The very ones our tradition helped to protect?

We were raised morally, to keep the integrity of the earth- the integrity of our forefathers. That was the system they referred to. Education was a blessing. Civilization was our only way to give back to our ancestors. To build upon their precepts, never forgetting their templates and designs, for they laid the foundation of morality with iron hands and permed our hairs with truthfulness. I guess, what Dr. Kwame Nkrumah meant by the statement "The black man is capable of ruling his own nation" was that our foundation and ethics have well been laid by our fathers, and the candle light of civilization has graced us enough to continue on our own two feet, and by ourselves. But haven't we confused it all?
Cite This Article As: Christopher Tawiah-mensah. "The Breach." International Youth Journal, 18. June 2018.

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