Be a Brave but Ignorant SAVAGE!!

November 29th, 2016 Leave a comment Go to comments

Igbo Warriors

Some time ago, I read this book called, “Igbo Culture and the Christian Missions 1857-1957: Conversion in Theory and Practice” that talked about the Igbo people of West Africa in regards to their role in the Trans Atlantic slave trade over 200 years and how some its members took advantage of it to gain wealth and power, how it ended, and the eventual incursion of British and Sierra Leonean missionaries into their land culminating to their conversion to Christianity.

Towards the middle of the book, the author talked about the Royal Niger Company, a British mercantile company that was formed to “pacify the natives” and establish British control over the area in the late 1800s. The company had heavily bombarded militarily a town by the name of Obosi because the townspeople were interfering with the trade interests of the company by driving away the British and Sierra Leonean merchants who had tried to set up trade in that area. Through the gallant resistance of the people from that town, with little or no arms (or comparatively primitive ones), and their “stubborn” insistence on holding on to their independence despite offers of peace by the company, a missionary, in a mix of contempt and admiration, dubbed them, “brave but ignorant savages.”


One may think of these words as “racist” or at least, ethnocentric, and be right in doing so, but I think these words should be worn as a badge of honour.

Here it was, most likely a group of men who were the warriors of the town, hopelessly outmatched by the British who had technologically superior weapons and firepower that could blow them to smithereens, were nonetheless using whatever they had to fight against the British FOR their way of life, their independence and their land.

They were so ardent in protecting what was theirs, they were “ignorant” of the military superiority of the British. The British may have thought of them as savages, which is in extent calling them “subhuman,” but they didn’t have any such perception of themselves whatsoever. They saw themselves as good as their British invaders and were proud of their cultures and traditions which worked for them for thousands of years, and wanted no parts of what the British had to share with them.

It’s better to be insulted by people for being who you authentically are, than to be accepted by people for being who you’re not. Many people will insult us for not understanding our ways, but who cares, they’re still OUR own ways that belong to us.

In life, it’s not what others think of us that determines the quality of our lives, it’s what we think about ourselves that determine the quality of our lives. In turn, our self perception will determine how we stick up for ourselves in the face of those who try to attack and disparage us.

Also in life, when we go after our dreams and goals, we too have to be “brave but ignorant savages,” because when we look at our current capabilities or circumstances, or even our past, we may seem no match for our dreams and goals, but we have to attack them anyway with a savage ferocity to honour our desires and protect the integrity of who we are at the core.

I’ve heard stories of people who had multi million dollar businesses who said that they were able to be successful because in the beginning when they were starting out and going through the trials and tribulations that came with starting something new, they were able to persevere because they were too stupid to think that they were going to fail and what they were doing was seemingly impossible. They also said had they known in the beginning what they were going to go through, they may have never started.

To add, there will be times when people stronger than us will try to overstep our boundaries or take what’s ours, like in the case of bullies. But, even if it’s likely that we’re going to lose the fight, we gain both self respect and the respect of bullies if we fight for ourselves anyway.

As the saying goes, “A coward dies a thousand deaths, a brave man only one.”

Be a brave but ignorant savage when it comes to your goals, your dreams, your passions and your integrity, your life depends on it.

This is The Viable Alternative.

Hope this helps,

Ike Love

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