Wednesday, February 15, 2017


Caleb Zadok


Cultures differ from tribe to tribe, from clan to clan especially in Africa. There are a lot of things Africans share in common, and of them is ‘Gboune’ (Play mate).
While it differs from one ethnic background to the other, I want to narrow this to the Bachama ethnic group. ‘Gboune’ is a word for ‘Play mate’, this, does not only apply to those within the Bachama fold, but also other tribes. For example, The Mumuye, Chamba, or Jukun, all these are play mates to Bachama people. Even as far as Kogi State i.e. the Igala.

When you are play mates with a particular clan or tribe according to tradition, there should be no fight whatsoever, yes there may be some misunderstanding but you must find a way of resolving it. Actually, some people, using the play mate thing resolve such misunderstandings.

Play mates actually engage one another with insults (playfully) and jest the other claiming superiority over the other but with much understanding and without any rancor. Your play mate having discovered you are from that particular tribe or clan may just start insulting you for no just reason, but only those that understand how it works can easily detect that, oh, this is a play mate. Even from the tone of the insults you just know that he is a play mate. Even if you are pained and report the matter to the security agents, on discovery that you are play mates, they immediately discharge the matter. They will tell you it’s not a matter they will prosecute because they are conversant with it.
One may wonder what the benefit is: one of the benefits is that it fosters unity and cement relationships among the particular people. But things have changed and it is no longer effective as it used to be. One important factor I want to point out is that, in the event you travel and eventually find yourself in the community where your play mates live, you feel more comfortable as if you are among your kith and kin and you will be well taken care of.

Gboune plays vital role in funerals especially where an elderly dies, instead of mourning; they make the place lively by dramatizing the life of the deceased and mimicking him. They will be singing songs and dancing around: they normally come in their numbers but at times one person will do a lot of dramatizing and they also benefit from it, because sympathizers being impressed by their performances give them some stipends. During this time, if your grandfather or grandmother dies or any elderly person close to you, you must look out for the Gbounyes (Plural) otherwise, if they cease any of your materials, you must redeem it by paying them or you forfeit it. In some cases, the Gbounye’s were given ample time to display before the funeral rites.

It is very important to state that, there is the need to look at this culture and possible modify it to suit the present world so that it will not be forgotten completely. I am very happy that His Royal Majesty Homun Honest Irmiya Stephen (Kwire mana – Kpafrato II) has shown his commitment to revive the culture, I hope this will be revived too because it shows the beauty of our cultural heritage. It reminds us that we have something we can be proud of. I therefore urge all Bachama sons and daughters to join hands with HRM Homun Honest I. Stephen (Kwire mana – Kpafrato II) to make this work in order to foster unity among the people especially in this world of hate and suspicion.

Please comment, like  and follow me on twitter.
Post a Comment