“Oju bǫrǫ kǫ ni a fi ngb’ǫmǫ l’ǫwǫ ekurǫ” The palm kernel cannot be extracted from its nut with ease.
In discussions, this usually flows well as “Oju bǫrǫ kǫ l’ a fi ngb’ǫmǫ lǫwǫ ekurǫ”. We need strong determination to be able to extract the palm seed from the nut. Generally, the nut is very hard and requires great effort to crack it open in order to remove the kernel. How did the Yoruba develop this proverb? And why apply it to difficult situations?
Most Yoruba proverbs have been able to withstand the test of time because the proverbs developed from a deep understanding of the circumstances that generated them. Let’s take, for instance, the case of a recalcitrant child to test our proverb. Such a child is not born recalcitrant but had acquired such characteristic due to negative social and environmental circumstances which may bother on parenthood or comperes. These negative characteristics have to be shielded off from the child. It is not an easy task, though.
Once the child has acquired a negative characteristic, it constitutes a hard shell around the child that needs to be got rid of in order to get the child responsible. There, thus, is a need to be methodical and determined to be able to liberate such a child. It also needs caution.
To acquire knowledge in the form of education or apprenticeship is not really an easy task. However, our proverb has a corollary that is more appropriate in this case in “Ikoko t’ o ba maa j’ǫbę idi rę yio gbona”.