Going down memory lane….

          Today, I’ll be going down memory lane to discuss the good old days. When you think of the line “good old days”, what comes to mind?  To some it may mean when Naira was higher than dollars, to some others it could be before the Biafra war, to some it could be high school stories. But, I mean back in the days when men were men and boys were boys. Back in the days when men went around their duties dressed in nothing but their loin clothes. Oh yes, I know some of you never heard that, but it’s true. Once upon a time, not too long ago, your grand parents, my grand parents and great grand parents moved around half naked and they did not have much qualms about it.

           In those days, unmarried women went around dressed in “jigida” . The jigida is like beads joined together, it is in different colors and it is worn around the waist, from the belly button to the tail end of the buttocks. Before, you worry about people seeing the insides of your thigh, know that the women were taught to sit with their legs closed, hence the idea of seeing what lay in between those two legs were foiled. This might be why Osuofia thought it was an abomination to see a woman sitting down with her legs spread apart in the movie, Osuofia in London.

         Today, we wear bra , but in those days, what did unmarried women wear on their chest to cover the two buds standing out on their chest? Nothing. Your breasts were left uncovered and you were unashamed of it. It’s like reading the story of Adam and Eve where the bible said they were naked and were not ashamed. In those days, people boldly walked around with no top and didn’t see anything wrong in it.

           Men and women went to the same stream and had their shower in the same stream, the difference was that men stayed upstream to bathe, children/unmarried stayed in mid stream while married women stayed downstream to bathe. An unmarried woman is expected to bathe mid stream with other kids, even if she is grown. If she ventures downstream, the women may chase her away and question if she has started stealing before marriage, because of her marital status.

          When clothes were introduced into our society, we still combined the new invention with our normal attire. At those times, unmarried women would go to the stream or stay at home with jigida, but they would wear an overall to the market. I called it overall instead of a dress because these dresses were so shapeless, especially since the measurements of the wearers were not taken into consideration before they were sewn and taken to the market. There were no figure 8 gowns, no skirt and blouse, no Ankara or lace material made into various style worthy of impressing your neighbor, yet, these women wore these shapeless overalls proudly like it was the best thing that ever happened to them.

          It’s interesting to know that the incidence of rape was low as compared to this day and age when we wear clothes. Could it be because the men had already feasted with their eyes, or perhaps, because of the standards maintained in the society. Or who knows, it could be because of the consequences meted out on the culprit if found out. Whatever reason there was, it worked quite well for them.

            Before you decide to go ahead and try to copy wearing nothing but jigida, know, times have changed and despite being looked upon as crazy in the society, you may even be arrested for indecent dressing. One good thing that came out of wearing clothes is that it increased the life span of our people. In those days, a lot of people died from cold or complications of cold, such as pneumonia. I wonder though, what might have happened if we still went around half naked with all boldness and with a mind filled with innocence. I would love to hear your thots on what would happen if things were still like that now. What other advantage can you think of in relation to wearing clothes as opposed to wearing the jigida.

Why I like Naija: It is information like the one above that make me proud to be from Naija. I like naija because we have culture and we have history.

Quote of the day: Tradition simply means that we need to end what began well and continue what is worth continuing (Bergamin quote)


                My words, my views, my style! Naijagirl

Published in: on January 13, 2009 at 6:03 am  Leave a Comment  

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