The strength of the broom lies not in the power of a single frond but in the resilience of its united fronds. African proverb
Like most families my growing up years consisted of squabbling with my siblings over things that I can’t even recall anymore, but the saying above is one of those proverbs that I’ll never forget because my parents used proverbs like that one to teach us life’s lessons.
‘Igwe bu ike!‘ This is an Ibo word that means ‘there’s strength in numbers.’ My mother will tell us that while demonstrating with a broom.
She would give each of us a broomstick and instruct us to go ahead and break it. With barely much strength applied, the broomstick would snap. Then she would give us the entire broom to break and no matter how much you tried, that broom would never break. It might bend, but not break.
She used this example to emphasize to us that we had to stand together as one family because when we stand together as a unit that’s the only way we would withstand adversity and over the years of my life, we have individually and collectively gone through the storm as a family, but having each other to lean on has made passing through the eye of the storm easier.
Our unity didn’t mean that we lost our individuality, but there’s a code of oneness that understands and tolerates diversity.
This saying is not just for families, but to any group that man forms because we are social beings.
Unity brings strength
and creates harmony.
Unity promotes prosperity
and fosters love.
Unity covers the weakness of one
and infuses him with support.
When we are united
we can withstand.
When our unity is broken down
we will crumble.
© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha