Wednesday, 3 December 2008
the remedy for arrogance
When we were in Mali's Dogon country, one of the structures that really stood out for me was the Toguna.
Every village, no matter how small, has one. Its a place of meeting. It a place where the village elders pass down their pronouncements and decide on disputes. Its the place where the men congregate in the evenings.
It's not a place where you'll see a woman... Dogon people live according to very strict sexual norms. Maybe the women are humble enough already and don't need it?
Our amazing guide Guiré explained that the Toguna is always built with a very low roof so that in order to enter, one must stoop to a position of humility. An added advantage is that if an argument gets too heated, anyone jumping up to fight will bash himself on the head.
If I was world dictator, I'd build Togunas in every place where people (men and women) meet. And I can think of a long list of South African politicians who could do with a little more humility.