Tales from Africa series

Single bracelet does not jingle. ~ Congolese proverb

Being independent minded is one thing and self reliance is also another, but combining the two meant that one would invariably ‘ignore’ even ‘valid’ concerns from other people making cooperation difficult.

Yann, a town leader seem to have a different leadership style altogether and he saw no wrong in being independent minded and self reliant at the same time. He did not want to be like his predecessors; the former was overly reliant on people around him for advice on almost anything which made him ‘lose’ that leadership influence on his subjects, whilst the recent one  would give ‘small’ chance for people  to share their concerns, that too made him delay in some pressing decision making.

Seeking to take a different leadership style, no one was permitted to share or raise concerns no matter the seriousness of the issue. And his intention was to run his town smoothly without any diversion from anyone including his elders.

The paramount chief of their town was to pay a courtesy call on Yann and his townspeople as part of their annual communal celebration. The preparations as usual for them since Yann’s reign was one sided, he ‘enjoyed’ delegating orders to people on what to do.

After a month on ‘proper’ preparations, all was set in Yann’s eyes although some elders and people tried to give ‘unsought’ ideas on how to go about things.

Finally, the day arrived and the townspeople were waiting in expectation for the visit to be peaceful and successful despite the concerns including some older women advising Yann to send some people to inquire about the Paramount chief’s likes and dislikes especially in terms of food.

When the announcers indicated the arrival of the paramount chief, Yann was sure this visit would be a talk of the whole town and would earn him favour from the Paramount chief.

After some exciting activities, came the time for eating and at Yann’s order, food was brought to the Paramount chief and his entourage.

After tasting a morsel of the food brought to him, he asked what meat was used to prepare the stew. The answer from Yann, spoilt matters.

Apparently, the Paramount chief was allergic to the type of meat used in preparation and had expect that Yann would have done a enquires to know what he likes or not.

In anger, the Paramount chief left the town and promised never to return nor acknowledge Yann henceforth as the town leader.

By Portia Hutton-Mills

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