So here’s an incredible but true thing that goes on in the world:
‘N ba’ is the Bambara greeting used by men in Mali.
It’s the equivalent of ‘hello’ but actually means ‘my mother’ or more specifically, ‘thanks to the mother who bore me I am here this moment to greet you.’
Wow! Ok, wait. A man’s word for ‘hello’ in this indigenous language is basically “my mother!”
Let’s break it down because this could be the simplest and yet most profound thing ever. The basic form of greeting used by men in parts of the nation of Mali pays homage to women in a deep and sacred way.
While I’m not sure how this translates in the way women are truly treated in this particular culture, I believe they actually kidnap their brides like stolen property, and yet a man’s traditional form of ‘hello’ is a recognition of the idea that without the woman who bore him he wouldn’t even be having this moment or this exchange, he wouldn’t even exist!
Now we all know this on some dormant level, right, but things get pretty fuzzy today (and pretty much since the beginning of time for that matter) when you talk about the innate value a woman possesses.
The power of a woman’s sexuality, where it lies, and what to do with it, has always been kind of a thing.
Maybe it’s why they feel the need to kidnap a bride… maybe all that power instills fear in the hearts of men… hmmm
Oh it gets better too. Check out how women respond:
The traditional female response, ‘Nsay’ means ‘my power’ and translates, ‘my power as a female always wins against time.’
Um, need I say more? ‘Yes, you are correct. I am a bad-ass. My womb is a magical portal to the infinite… so yeah… you’re welcome.’
What a response! Now, again, not sure this translates into the nuts and bolts of their culture, and yet I can’t even imagine this type of greeting being a part of ours in America. We lose our minds if we have to witness a woman breastfeed her infant. They may be a bit ahead of us in that regard.
It sounds more like something the Na’vi would say, you know, the giant blue people from Avatar who basically understood life on every level. I can see them using this greeting but then also actually honoring the words within their culture, which if you remember the woman character Mo’at, who was essentially the tribe’s bridge to their god, they already seemed to.
Ironic to have to look to fiction to find an example of where I could see this possibly occurring authentically.
It all makes me wonder, without getting stuck in the mire of ‘the politics of feminism’ and ‘the scapegoat of patriarchy’, how might our world be different if men were reverent to what women are, and if women took ownership of the power within their nature.
I’m not sure scenes like this would make any sense to us at all…