Iwapele – Balance

I find it amusing how we have traditions and cultural beliefs that make it completely okay for women to endure various forms of  sufferings just  because they are women; this particular one about carrying heavy loads on the head really got to me. Below is an excerpt from Yoruba Scientific Spirituality:

“In West Africa, the ability of women to walk with large loads atop the head was considered a demonstration of balance. Balance is deifined as iwapele in IFA: Yoruba Scientific Spirituality. This means “balanced character.” It has been misinterpreted by Oyinbo (pink skin people) to mean “good character,” but good character is called iwarere. Iwapele is something beyond just good, but the balance, the harmony, the grace. It is not goodness, but balance that is the nature of the universe. Balanced character, iwapele, is perfection.”

I’m quite not sure about what is perfect by a woman carrying a heavy object on her head, the idea of heavy buckets of water comes to mind here as since this is justifiable in this culture, then women complaining of back pains from carrying water (and sometimes a child on their back) would be abnormal to the people of this land.

Finally,  I would like to end with these very wise words from Funmi Iyanda:

“Culture is your day to day reality and tools with which you solve problems, bedrock of innovation, technology and science”

“There’s no “African Culture” but cultures of peoples of Africa; technology is compatible with humans, Africans are humans.”

What do you think?



1 Comment

  1. This is a comprehensible article, you have really been thoughtful putting this all together. I do not agree with you totally, the part where you says Iwapele is balance. What is iwa and what is pele? By answering this, you will get the full meaning of that word.

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