“Let’s do things the way they used to do them did so that our things will come out they used to come out. My scholarly hero, N.A. Fadipe writes, ‘A noticeable Yorùbá economic organization is that of specialization by compounds. A boy may [however] adopt a trade other than his father’s. He makes a small payment of cash as well as in kind to the appropriate organization… Whether male or female, the Yorùbá child serves a long apprenticeship… Children of both sexes begin work at the age of SIX. The farmer’s boy starts at that age, being able to do very little besides carrying light burdens to and from the farm, tending the fire in the hut for cooking food, scaring birds away from crops, and taking a hand in weeding. At about TEN, he is given hoeing work to do and at fourteen he may be said to have become a journeyman. While still working for his father, he is allotted by the latter a small patch of land to cultivate for his own account in his spare time. The blacksmith’s boy begins work between six and seven years of age by helping carry things to the forge for his father, blowing the bellows, and generally watching his father at work. At about ten, he is allowed to make pins and small knives; while at FIFTEEN he is able to wield the big mallet – weighing probably about nine pounds – and he can then make an implement like the hoe. A boy’s working life during the days of his dependence may therefore be divided into the early apprenticeship stage, late apprenticeship stage, and the journeyman stage.’
“Trade secrets” of each respective òwò (trade, craft specilization) are historically “owned” by a particular family agbolé (compound, lineage), which either originated the trade or inherited it (e.g., by marriage or migration). Fathers and mothers practice gender specific versions of their trade, and pass trade secrets on to their sons and daughters, respectively. In the case of the weavers, for example, P.S.O. Aremu writes, “the men keep strictly to the horizontal or belt loom to produce strips of 4 1/2″ wide, while their women counterparts can produce on their own vertical looms wider kìjipá strips of about 21 inches… “The children learn to weave in the traditional way, from infancy, so that before they attain the age of ten, various aspects of weaving could have been mastered. The trainees are expected to have oye, intelligence; ojú inú, insight; ojú oná, an eye for creativity; ìlutí, the inner ear/openness to instruction.
THIS is the foundation of orisa lifestyle, not pots, goats and ileke. THIS is the formula for saving our youth, not disrespecting themselves, their parents and teachers. THIS is the secret of authentic happiness, not acquiring cars, cell phones and handbags. Why is craft mastery by family lineage so important? Because it establishes USEFULNESS at every phase of human development. In usefulness, you find the ANTIDOTE to depression. In usefulness you find the cure for loneliness. In usefulness, you open the gateway to your natural gifts and talents, which connect you to something greater than yourself.