Friday 11 September 2020

Good Old Pa Cole

Of history living
My Grandpa Cole of whom I know little, but I am learning of in snippets would by terms have been an interesting man. He was tall, affable and quite generous, I am told.
Even though I only learnt of his real names recently, Cole was a moniker by which he was known and called, by reason of his apparent predilection to English ways in mannerism, conduct and apparel. His names were Joel Adebambo.
For one, I thought there were other ways in which we might have been similar, I could not see any signs of male pattern baldness on the paternal side of my genealogy that I immediately presumed it would have come from the maternal side.
A little Bethlehem
Old Pa Cole died just over 4 years before I was born and there are many stories around how he passed on. That he died well before his time is beyond question and the presumption that he was poisoned is quite likely.
However, the more enduring memory of the great man was his sense of fairness and justice. Our hamlet has some special significance in the Ijebu kingdoms, along with being one of the smallest places to have a proper beaded crown king, taking the title of the Àyányẹlú of Ìjẹ̀ṣà-Ìjẹ̀bú.
There was an interregnum of tolerance of around 40 years from the end of the 1950s where a pretender to the throne took out all his rivals and some prominent kingmakers, which he succeeded in doing through animist practices, but he was denied the crown; he ruled as a chief (baálẹ̀) and the crown did not return to our hamlet until after his death.
A stand for justice
Not long after the tussle for the crown, an emissary was received in the hamlet just when rituals were demanded by the animist gods by appeasement through human sacrifice. The shamanists were intent on using the emissary as a stranger was required. Good Pa Cole withstood the council that a guest and emissary could not be the victim and they should seek an alternative. For that audacious move, there were consequences, and he consequently paid for it with his life.
One such story was that his chewing stick was laced with poison that on using it, he had a coughing fit that resulted in his demise. At his death, a dirge was sung that stuck in the memory of the children of that time who are well into later adulthood now. Like many things in Yorubaland, much is said for which the meaning is somewhat obfuscated, yet, the truth stands as a witness of those responsible for diabolical acts.
Though I knew my other grandparents and even had a paternal great-grandmother on the maternal side, there is an affinity I have with Old Pa Cole that none in their living times with the names they gave me and how they might have doted over me have with me. I hope to learn more of him and bring to life the memory of an extraordinarily amazing man whose sense of right and integrity is an example for our humanity.

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