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Isio Knows Better: Creating Your Own Myths

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I sincerely lay no claims to being more knowledgeable than anyone, but I do confess that I know better than I did yesterday, last year and a decade ago.

Isio Knows Better is an attempt to capture the shocking and highly entertaining conversation within myself. The conversations between my mind (the sharp witty one), my soul (the lover and the spiritual one) and my body (the playful one concerned with the more mundane things of life). She is the eternal referee between the caustic mind and the sensitive soul. This is Isio. So, here’s to making private conversations public.

****
Interesting.

Should I let this mind of mine free rein, I am quite sure she would delight in creating a myth so intricately woven and yet witty enough to do justice to the “deep, dark, intensity” of many Scorpio borns, and the off-handed humour that seems to be in-bred in many Waffarians. Oh, for sure… she will attach a moral lesson there- somewhere at the end, but will weave such a legend that children born in 3092 (indeed 30920 sef) would quake in their tiny boots and clasp their tiny arms around their tiny necks in dry throated terror – even though at some point- they must have laughed in spite of themselves.

Right now, she is impressing upon me to let her write one devastating one, but I say to her, “Tahhhh! Not today Mind-of-mine!”

She is ignoring me and pouting. I give her the ntooooor tongue-out gesture. She laughs.

So, I throw it to you.

Ever wondered how myths/superstitions and legends are created? Think of all the ones you may have heard. From the scary stuff like tales of Madam KOI-KOI with the clacking shoes, and The Lady White- who loved to fling/upturn furniture in a rage, to egbere –the dwarf with the mat from whom stealing it and keeping it successfully for 7 days and 7 nights would give you more wealth than that of Solomon and all the Arab nations combined. Let us not forget the bush-babies with their wide-veined eyes that engulfed half their shrivelled faces and their sparse, needle-sharp teeth.

And then there are the ridiculous ones like being told that putting a skirt on your head (often) would cause a mango tree to sprout overnight, and the disgusting ones like- putting that thing that comes out of a dog’s eyes (Yorubas call it ipin oju aja) into your eyes first thing in the morning would allow you to see into the “spirit world”. Ewwww.

What about that one about putting that funky insect in your bra (for flat-chested girls) so that your breasties would grow. (*insert side-eyes*) It was a Yoruba word… the name escapes me at the moment. If you did it when you were younger and you deny it- it doesn’t matter… God is forever watching you in HD 449D.

Oh my. If I could meet Myth-Creators, I will choose the creators of these Nigerian ones. Haba! They get a keg of kain-kain for their ingenious, darkly twisted creations. Let me introduce some of these stories to you and try to imagine how they were created.

Sweeping/Whispering at night brings bad, bad luck and flying winchi-winchi to your doorstep. I am sure this was created by someone who hated sweeping and the sound of a particular family member who was an awful whistler who loved to whistle at night.

Never eat Garri and Mango together unless you are ready to find out what’s on the “Other Side”.
It means death surely awaits the earthling who decides to eat garri and mango within moments of each other. So widely believed/peddled/feared was this myth that most people dared not try it.
*scratches chin* This is a strong one. A superstitious village with a huge amount of mangoes and mango flavored everything. Garri was a very, very precious and scarce commodity in those days. Some stingy guy probably got his hands on a stash and got tired of being offered even more mangoes for his garri. He came up with the death by mango-garri combo. Swore by it. Fortunately or unfortunately his sickly niece died that night. He said it was garri-and-mango combo. Both him and his garri were avoided like a plague.

The woman who waved and the kids who waved back.
Apparently, a group of older-children were playing together when a very beautiful woman walked by. The children were so fascinated by her beauty that they stopped and stared. The woman waved a hello at them and they –not wanting to be rude – waved back. That was their doom. At midnight that night they found themselves as black pussy-cats under a paw-paw tree. Dem don chop kpiansh be dat. (Kpiansh AKA witchcraft).

A rude, snobbish child probably gave it as an excuse for not greeting his Aunty Shalewa when she greeted him. Afterall, he couldn’t tell his short-tempered, superstitious mother that Aunty Shalewa used to rub daddy’s head when she went to harvest cassava in the farm. She would have bulldozed him with her hefty arms with stinging slaps and called him a liar. It was better to create this myth. Ergo- no more having to play nice to daddy’s other strange women).

The Bed-wetter Song
Oh my days. Amongst the boarders in my Primary School, there was a song the senior students had the junior students who bed-wet sing to a particular wall of the hostel. The bed-wetter would kneel and knock the wall while singing this song over and over again. The song was sung in Yoruba with the bed-wetter asking to be flogged, should they wet their bed that night.

The fear of ogiri(the wall) was real. As well as people who swore to have been affected by it and eyewitnesses who swore they saw with their koro-koro eyes the devastation ogirihad left behind on another’s back. That night, ategun ma fe eni na daa daa (breeze would blow that person well-well), and should he/she be unfortunate enough to wet their bed, behold! Their backs would be laden with garish gashes and whip-cuts. It was as horrible as it was fascinating because the victim never felt the pain but instead felt a “cool-breeze” that drew them deeper and deeper, into a dreamless sleep.Obviously created by someone who was tired of cleaning other kids’ concentrated, smelling piss.

My absolute favourite – “I can’t be slimmer than this, we have big bones in my family”
Hahhahhaaaa! Oga or Madam. Your own level don pass kain-kain o. You suppose get ONE BASIN OF FRESHLY TAPPED PALMWINE from the Garden of Eden. Haba, Naija! Skeleton no dey fat naaaa… Why are my people like this? With all this love I have for “us”. Okay, I imagine this one was created by someone who was just tired of being asked to lose some weight. It sounds logical, but…

The statement “I can’t be slimmer than this, we have big bones in my family” is so commonly said and widely believed. It is my personal favourite of all myths simply because it is so often said but still so untrue. I am sorry to be a myth-buster and no disrespect to anyone, but has ANYONE seen a fat skeleton before?

That is because there is nothing like a fat skeleton. Denser, longer, shorter, heavier… yes. Fatter, no. Skeleton no dey fat.Size 2 or size 22. 100 years from now, after being dead, buried and then exhumed for examination, they will “look” alike. (Emphasis on look alike, though they may not weigh the same). What this simply means is that the density of your bones can affect your weight,but does not affect your size.

Urban dictionaries also describe a myth is as “an unproved or false collective belief that is used to justify…” Therefore the statement, “I can’t be slimmer than this, we have big bones in my family” is a myth.

Ahhhhhhhh! The things we have heard. So once again I ask, just for fun. If you could create your own myth/legend for whatever reason you can think of, what would you create? Remember, it has to be good enough to make it to year 30920.*Chuckles*

Have a truly terrific Tuesday, as usual!
XX

Isio De-laVega Wanogho is a Nigerian supermodel, a multi-award winning media personality and an interior architect who is a creative-expressionist at her core. She uses words, wit and her paintings to tell stories that entertain, yet convey a deeper meaning. Follow her on Instagram @isiodelavega and visit her website: http://www.idds.pro to see her professional body of work.

43 Comments

  1. TA

    November 4, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    Ok. Well done Isio, I shall be back next week Tuesday.

    • nwanyi na aga aga

      November 4, 2014 at 4:34 pm

      Looooool!

    • nikky

      November 4, 2014 at 9:09 pm

      Oh my god. The shade of this comments is real. Lol

    • Surely

      November 7, 2014 at 7:06 am

      isio, no to this wig…. abeg kill am

  2. debbie

    November 4, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    ‘What about that one about putting that funky insect in your bra (for flat-chested girls) so that your breasties would grow.’…………………………..Kuluso! hehehehehe

    • Jo!

      November 4, 2014 at 2:16 pm

      Yes! was trying to remember the name.
      SWEAR that thing worked for the girls that did it, not even kidding, loool, shoulda tried it, maybe I still won’t be struggling with a b-cup in my mid 20’s now. :'(

      And the garri and mango, don’t know but I always get tummy aches when I take garri with most fruits, particularly agbalumo, so garri and fruit for me is a No No

      Welcome back Isio

  3. HoneyDame

    November 4, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    Lmaooo.. this was funny..lol

  4. Ada Nnewi

    November 4, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    LMAO!!! Isio please tell the “big boned” brigade well!!!!

  5. chinco

    November 4, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    Yea I heard about the insect at age 13 or so from a village girl that came to live with us. We found the insect and she urged me to try it cus I’m known for my *coughs * athletic build anyway i imagined it depositing some cancerous substance in my body which may grow the breasts but later kill me so I declined ( I was wise beyond my years with an active imagination, no apologies, lol)…I still feel the insect should have been tested maybe it was producing an estrogen like substance…who knows, lol.

  6. iyke

    November 4, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    Isio, is that your image? You look like a Powhatan woman from that image….Remember ‘Pocahontas’?
    For some reason, am trying to delve into your sub-concious through your write ups, and images to gain an understanding of your person.You are a dreamer and I mean that in a positive way.
    In response to your article, anyone ever heard of the Crying baby Myth?Those who went to boarding school will relate to this myth. lol.

  7. oj

    November 4, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    when i was younger, i ate garri and mango and my neighbour told me that myth. God, i so believed it! i cried and cried and even started telling my neighbours “see u in paradise”. Thank God i’m alive to tell the story over 10 years later. do i believe it? no. will i try it again? NO!

    • yommy-yum

      November 4, 2014 at 4:27 pm

      loool @ see you in paradise

  8. Isio's love!

    November 4, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    That insect is actually called ‘kuloso’. I tried it, but it never worked for me. You are just simply amazing!

  9. D

    November 4, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    Ok this article made me question my nationality because I don’t know 90% of this Myths and the only one I have heard of sef was the last one about being big boned but it was not in Nigeria. interestingly I took a nutrition class while in college and the instructor explained to us that there was nothing like being big boned but some people do have more muscle mass than fat so they may come across as being on the big side but that did not mean they were unhealthy but apart from that I am not familiar with any of this….Ahhh I need to get in touch with my roots asap but that dog stuff that is super disgusting who came up with that stuff??? Mango and garri na wa o, maybe there is some sort of chemical composition in garri that interacts with a certain organic composition in the Mango that results in stomach problems.

  10. derhmy

    November 4, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    heheheheh Isio de la hawtness…nice pic up there….ehen back to the matter how do u know the garri and mango story is not true? have u tried it before? that story is still circulating strongly o! My lil niece whose parents just relocated from london heard it from her friends in school and asked me if its true…well told her im not sure but its better to be on the safe side and not try the combo…except of course u are sure of a back up life somewhere somehow…

  11. Mimi

    November 4, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    This is too long, I had to skip some paragraphs. Other than the length I’d say its interesting.

  12. Chloe

    November 4, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    Isio what hair is this? i love it

    • hikky

      November 4, 2014 at 3:54 pm

      Hi Chloe, its Argentine hair by Hikkys hair.. our details are on instagram….x

  13. blah blah

    November 4, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    My mum told me not to drink garri when it rains. I thought it was a myth until I did it and the kain cold that entered my body ehnn! I have experienced many winters and the cold I felt that day in Nigeria takes the cake! I was so cold it was like the cold was emanating from my cells, nerves and veins. So now I tell people don’t drink garri when it rains. Point is not all myths are untrue. I will never eat garri and eat mango straight after. Has anyone done it? I don’t want to be the first to tell stories that touch.

    • Anon

      November 4, 2014 at 3:56 pm

      Lovely and I laughed so much. After all, mothers know best. I learnt something new today. Back then, it was don’t eat a mango and drink coke right after. Your tummy would suffer. One day, I summoned up courage to do it and had tummy tablets by the side. Nothing happened. I have to mention that it was mangoes bought in the supermarket and not Nigerian coke (our coke is something else.) I may try it again. Look for mangoes in Tesco and down some coca-cola. LOL!

    • MiddyO

      November 5, 2014 at 1:20 pm

      I tried the combo i primary school and I am still here! 🙂

  14. Ebere E

    November 4, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    On one of the Easter breaks in my primary school days , I traveled to the village to visit my grandmother. my neighbour had this mango tree, the fruits were all ripe and couldn’t help falling off. in my town, anyone is free to pick any fruit that fell off on its own, as long as u didn’t pluck it off u have done nothing wrong. Now i was very quick, id always make it to the mango tree whenever it falls even before the owners. I in fact built a house at the mango tree. when my grandma grew tired of my behavior and the embarrassment I was causing her , she told me that the spirits visit the tree at 12:00pm and 3:00pm and that whenever it gets really windy it means that the spirits are plucking the fruits.( like she didn’t know that was the best time to pick the fruits). and that to avoid having an encounter with them I should avoid being under the tree at all times. I wondered why i hadn’t encountered them all along, I even thought is it possible that I haven’t been at the tree at 12:00pm before? and if I have, how come they didn’t see me and give me a knock on my head?
    I stopped going to the tree at 12:00pm but at 12;05 pm ill be at my darling mango tree waiting on it to fall.

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      November 4, 2014 at 5:11 pm

      Ebere, you haff kee me with laugh. Laugh wey I no fit burst out with, sef, which makes it even more delicious. So you stopped going to the tree by 12.00pm, ehn kwa but you were back at your usual spot by 12:05pm? These “shidren”, una no dey fear ojuju oh…. 🙂

    • Pat

      November 5, 2014 at 5:08 am

      Ebere, u have killed me with laugh, tears are coming down my eyes.

  15. Omozai

    November 4, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    I remember when i was a kid,my mum told us this popular myth that,”little children do not drink coconut water,that it makes them unintelligent”.That day,my mum kept the bowl containing the coconut water in her room.I went inside,drank all of it because it was so sweet.When she asked,i lied that i mistakenly hit it and it spilled and that i had cleaned it all…….Three months later i wrote my 2nd term exam and i came top of my class.Then I realized the coconut water didnt make me dumb rather it made me smarter.Then i told my elder brother that coconut water doesnt make one dumb,that it’s a lie older people tell us(kids) so as to have it all for themselves.

    Since then,i stopped believing that myth and started ‘flexing’ my coconut water.

  16. Preston

    November 4, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    Isio na u be dis ? Damn gal, you re fine as…….. clears throat, wetin man go give to wake up to that everyday

  17. Honeycrown

    November 4, 2014 at 9:40 pm

    I had a friend in secondary school who loved to ask for a bite, sip, taste of other peoples food. So one day, another friend asked her to share her food and she said, “my mommy said I shouldn’t share my food” she explained to us, it was an “ewo” or taboo and that some BS would happen to her especially because she was the first born. Anyway, we later got to know that all that myth was because she wanted to eat with others but didn’t want to share her own food. She was more street smart than us but we finally caught on and we would say stuff like, “my mommy said I shouldn’t share my food because …..”

  18. Okaro

    November 4, 2014 at 10:10 pm

    As in ehn,she too fiiiiiiine.
    You are really adorable Isio.

  19. Adeola

    November 5, 2014 at 3:58 am

    Yaah she is back…..havent even read this because i need to be somewhere now but been wondering of late that where has isio write up disappeared to? or am i wrong haven’t seen them headlined in a while so just assumed she has been off for a while now…dont mind me i am lost most times these days…intense LLM things….

  20. Adeola

    November 5, 2014 at 4:01 am

    *isio’s write-up

  21. Corper Shaun

    November 5, 2014 at 4:44 am

    I remember this so well, “Do not sit on the Mortar if you don’t want your Mother dead”, looking back now, i believe that was coined for hygienic purposes but what other sure-fire way to tell a misguided young chap who knows no better than putting the fear of losing the mother in such. But the people who created those myths though, we got to hand it to them, that’s one creative mind they got.

  22. Pat

    November 5, 2014 at 5:28 am

    Madam koi koi myth was popular in mostly female secondary schools I wonder why. Abi girls too dey like to imagine things. Another popular myth was the “leke leke bambo shee”(if I spelt it right). It was believed that if u see a particular bird flying in the sky and u say those words a white dot will appear on your finger nail. Haba, I believed back then smh, not knowing that the white dot was a natural thing some people had.

  23. T.M

    November 5, 2014 at 9:40 am

    If I was to come up with a myth it would be that every time a man asks for money from a woman his manhood diminishes bit by bit . I am tired of men asking me to buy them lunch, or just give them money for one thing or the other

  24. Sweet November

    November 5, 2014 at 10:15 am

    Isio, nice write up but i thought you would start from the basics like itchy palm brings money, hitting your feet brings bad news and twitching eye means to expect a visitor. Sometimes i think if you believe this myths, it begins to work for you.

  25. UB40

    November 5, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    I remember this one “if u swallow orange seed the orange tree will grow from ur head”. you can rightly imagine my horror the first time I swallowed an orange seed.

  26. Piper

    November 5, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    I have this colored opinion about the itchy palm thing, does it happen for real?

    • Sylver

      March 12, 2015 at 11:30 am

      To me it does. Whenever my palm itch, m sure of getting a cash gift that period. To me, I believe theses things work with your belief. 4 instance, you remembered or discussed someone you have not seen in a while and the next minute the person shows up or call your cell phone.

  27. Sassy

    November 5, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    This got me laughing so hard because I heard a lot of these myths while growing up and then some in the village too. My cousins were always having me eat the head of fish or chicken because they said it was meant for the first born. Then when I grew up enough to start eating chicken properly, I heard another one that women are not supposed to eat the gizzard or the anus part of the chicken or else one thing…one thing will happen. I believed it and avoided eating the parts for as long as I could and then one day I just got really curious and decided to eat the gizzard….nothing happened and till date, that is one of ma best parts in chicken meat.

  28. dbaby

    November 5, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    That funky insect is kuloso – typically found under grass, can’t explain why we always hunted for them during sports in pry school but fear never allowed us try it as someone in the group knows a girl that did it and she has one bigger breasties

  29. Dasani

    November 5, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    Oh! I once heard of this one, I don’t know how popular it is. If you sleep with your tummy face the ceiling , you’ll have bad dreams.. oMG , for years I never dared it, I finally gave up and nothing happened. Sad..

  30. tutu

    November 6, 2014 at 11:18 pm

    OMG! The posts, especially the comments got me in stitches. shaking my head for myself. I heard 99% of the mentioned myths growing up.. I actually believed a lot of them. I tried kuluso, I got nothing to show for it though. My boobies are size kolobo.

  31. Aderonke

    November 7, 2014 at 7:24 am

    I love u Isio..U are so original. Can’t help but laughed at d kuluso part.

  32. yeancah

    November 18, 2014 at 5:50 am

    mine was my dad telling me that it was a taboo for a female to eat the breast of a goat (we killed goats for asun yearly at xmas) now he’s the only one that eats that part ALONE he doest share with mum… kept asking mum, she didnt have a definite answer… fastforward some years later.. i connived with the asun guy to dice all the goat parts and specally made him gimme the breast… OMG that was the best part so i understood dad was just keeping the best for himself. He asked what happened, i told him i ate the goat breast cos i wanted to know what would happen to me at least i was 25yrs old. The man kept staring at me like ”you dis gehl”..well lest just say that was the end of separating the goat breast for dad..

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