The Nigerian god of Iron in every woman’s kitchen

September 9, 2016 OPINION/NEWS

Andy Howell



Fatimah Bakare-Dickson

Ogun is a god, worshipped and revered in the Western part of Nigeria. Traditional worshipers still believe in their efficacious nature, whether in answering supplications or in serving out curses. No wonder on not a few occasions it has been suggested our political office holders swear by this particular god, and its ally ‘Sango’ the God of thunder.

Away from my preliminary thoughts this essay dwells on how this particular God is represented in our homes and its comedic interplay of metaphysical. So, do you have a kitchen, does you kitchen possess spoons, finger spoons, or forks as we often called them.

These iron cutleries will in one form find their way to disappear and reappear. They will hide in the most unthinkable places. Fall into awkward holes, somehow Ogun calls and the cutlery answer.

Strange isn’t it, no matter how you keep your cutlery, especially spoons, they will always disappear. Sometimes you see lots of them in the rack and sometimes just few or none. Once in a while, by tradition in some homes the head of the home has a particular spoon reserved for him. We as individuals also even have our favorite cutlery of use–however on many occasions, they simply disappear.

The Ogun goddess they say must be atoned so she silently comes on her own to have communion with her ally, the iron in your home. You think I am kidding, have you been able to explain how iron hangers also reduce in number from the original scores of dozens that you bought to only half a dozen.

On arrival in her time, cutlery in your home meet with her for a discussion. While the truth remains that by nature, we are careless with it, as such some fall into the trash can and are emptied into the bin.

You may never understand Ogun, let me give us a little narrative; I love a good meal, served with the best of utensils and cutleries. I believe good food is style.

Yet, nothing devalues all the hours in the kitchen, belittles the effort like a well prepared and laid out meal, hand grafted plates, exquisite cups, wine to go with, and with a draw on the kitchen cabinet, alas it was close to empty. Spoons, fork, table knife?

You are only a bus stop from insanity, you yell out for the kids, and all you hear, is wasn’t me from each of them, more so if you are like me, a mother of two boys.

They gave unfavorable answers like I don’t know, ask my brother, check your bedroom and guest room. He lost his spoon in school and I leant him mine.

They all take spoons to school alongside their food flask. Sometimes they return it and sometimes they forget to because commonly, it’s aplenty in the kitchen.

I commission a search party of both boys, a search of each room, which yields few spoons.

What do I do? We make do with what we had. Different kinds of spoon on the dining, one person didn’t have Fork for his Salad but he joyfully used the spoon.

One of our family friends jokingly asked me how I keep the beautiful wine glass away from the children’s reach. And yet like her we never managed to keep a record of the cutleries, like no single mother really knows how many spoons and forks are in her kitchen…Ogun knows!

We all smiled over it but really I use to have loads of beautiful spoons but how come they all disappear?

On average a family of five uses at least 10 spoons per meal. If you do your dishes immediately you can repeat same spoons but if not you will need another set of spoons for dinner or as the case may be. However in one swing the spoons are communing with Ogun, and almost like some force is in action, they just reappear.

Spoons are like coins, take care of your spoons and your plates will take care of it selves. Ogun does its fair share in your kitchen, but how much does contemporary Nigerian sister, wife and mother know, and how much grasp do we have of this element of family value?!








Fatimah Bakare-Dickson

Fatimah Dickson is a Bachelor of Film Art Graduate, she is a homemaker, and a documentation affectionado, involved in civic discuss across gender and children issues. She runs REEL DOCUMENTARIES, a not-for-profit outfit that utilizes the media in promoting change amongst women and children, and can be reached on 234 8034740500, [email protected]


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