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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Traditional antidotes to infidelity, By Funke Egbemode

Traditional antidotes to infidelity, By Funke Egbemode

You know our forebears had traditional antidotes to infidelity? Yes, they did. They had things they said, did and believed would protect the marriage institution, and those things worked.

It does not matter what you think of their antidotes. The fact is, today, whatever we are doing is neither working for marriages nor stopping infidelity in its rampaging tracks. Everyone is straying. Nothing is what it used to be.

So, it doesn’t matter whether you sneer and say ‘jazz’ or ‘juju’ is not your thing, your ‘fuji’ is not working.

READ ALSO: Married not for love, by Funke Egbemode

Today’s marriage is dancing to a tune only it can hear and that is why everything is out of control, why you don’t know for sure who is sleeping with who or if you are the only shareholder in your wife’s ‘business’ or if all your children are yours.

Be honest, in your heart of hearts, deep inside you, ask yourself if you have a choice and access to any of those traditional antidotes, wouldn’t you just want to try one or two, at least? Shouldn’t we consider them, considering that all our big Englishes and fancy ways and means have turned marriage into a transit camp, instead of a forever till-death-do-us-part place?

Just imagine that our parents, who didn’t bother with colourful wedding proposals, lavish pre-wedding photo shoots, and wedding ceremonies in expensive wedding gowns and suits, had marriages that were devoid of ‘I’ve moved on’ just a year after the dance parties that have replaced the ‘solemnisation’. They had something solid. We have flux. Taboos, myths, superstitions, call it anything. They worked then and trust me, nobody wanted to find out if they worked then or not, and 90 per cent of the time, those who dared to test them found out that they worked.

READ ALSO: INTIMATE AFFAIRS: Mature, single and lonely

There is a compound in my hometown and it was believed that any woman who married any of their men could not divorce and marry another, because any man who married their ‘leftovers’ would run mad. True story.

Women carefully considered their options before marrying into that compound and men with wandering eyes and hands also stayed away from the wives of that family. Once a woman’s cheque had been ‘uncrossed’ by a man from this family, he was the only one who could cash that cheque forever. All and any attempt to go behind the counter to use that cheque led straight to the madhouse, where the native psychiatrist fed the philanderer with a cane in his hand. Unless and until the owner of the cheque joined his ancestors, no man could approach a bank with his instrument.

Imagine how such an antidote curbed the excesses of philandering men who got their kicks from messing around with married women! Methinks whatever that family used protected their marriages better than the most expensive diamond rings and fancy wedding receptions.

READ ALSO: DNA: Should some secrets be kept forever?

You may have also heard of ‘tesho’, a Yoruba technology and medical science that guarded against the unwanted carnal knowledge of girls. It was mostly used to protect daughters from rape and pre-marital sex by doting fathers. How it worked? A randy village ‘goat’ sweet-talked a maiden into his room and attempted to get under her wrapper, his turgid third leg that was standing at attention to devour and ravish suddenly took a bow and went to sleep. Yeah, just like that. Until the father who implanted the tesho removed it from his daughter, no man could penetrate her wall to deflower her.

Imagine being able to implant that on all wives. There would be no DNA brouhaha. All the children of ‘Osun’ would be ‘Osun’s children’, not half for Osun, half for Oba. In other words, all the children of the husband will be his. No bastards. No suspicion. The area will be cool and calm. Tell me you do not think this is a better option than the can of worms being thrown in our faces on radio shows and social media.

The Yoruba also have something called ‘ayogo,’ a traditional quit notice enforcer. It was used to send erring or bad wives away without fuss or noise. Don’t bother with the fundamental human rights lecture or the wives’ right to defend themselves. It didn’t work then. Not that it is working now anyway. All we have now is a lot of noise and hypocrisy. The ‘ayogo’ was a small amulet usually planted at the entrance of the erring wife’s bedroom or behind her water pot. Once she stepped on it or took water from the pot, she packed her bags and left her matrimonial home ‘willingly.’ My take: If a wife has been confirmed to be stepping out on her husband, how about deploying the ‘ayogo’? Powerful, influential men used it then to save themselves the embarrassment of having to be called to ‘settlement meetings’ about ‘generous’ wives who made themselves community palliatives.

INTIMATE AFFAIRS: Women who shared their men

Imagine a rejected rich cocoa farmer’s wife being caught giving it out like party favours to one of her husband’s labourers. The ‘ayogo’ helped the rich man to protect his reputation without the accompanying cacophony of accusation and counter-accusation.

These days, when infidelity in marriage is being discussed or attempts are being made to resolve its outcomes, all the parties involved, especially the children, sustain injuries. Isn’t it time to consider this local science if we can still find the ‘scientists’ who can guide us in administering these traditional powders and pills? We have tried everything else, haven’t we? If we haven’t, why are our ‘men of God’ being implicated in DNA disputes? It is absolutely saner and more productive to police your marriage with tesho or ayogo.

Meanwhile, before we all assume that it is only Yoruba people who have these things, can we all speak up and help couples? I’m sure all our cultures have the good old ways of making husbands and wives stay on the strict straight and narrow path. Just imagine a world where men lose their erection each time they try to do women they are not married to. Imagine a world where women can’t be unfaithful, even if they desperately want to.

All the DNA shops will have to divest or diversify, right? But the part I like most is the world where men can’t fling their third legs in every direction all in the name of wanting to combine ofe Owerri with efo riro. Imagine how nice they will become at home, knowing they can only play home games, no ‘aways’.

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