When you have misunderstood the phrase ”to give someone stick”

IDP’s soon to become real refugees. Kapoeta, South Sudan, March 1992 - The Lucky Boys, later to be known as The Lost Boys.

Kenyan soldier welcoming Somali refugees at the border between the two countries. April 1992.

Breaking the rules, we are. Two pics this week. But it’s only to prove a point.

We know we are not allowed to give general statements about people in Africa. There are many nations and many cultures. And we have for years fought the West for stereotyping people on the continent. Africans are not all hungry or poor.
But when it comes to ”give someone stick” a lot of Africans have misunderstood the actual meaning. Guys, it was never supposed to be taken literally.
But it certainly has been. Many places on the continent. Like here. Two different countries. Two different races. The top photo: Dinkas from South Sudan, Nilotic. The bottom picture; a Kenyan soldier, a Bantu. Both have in their culture to use sticks up front as a very insulting weapon. Both when it’s just pointed at you or used to beat you up.

It is an African thing. Today.

But it must have been introduced by the colonial masters. The British is a good guess. You won’t see a Kenyan policeman of a certain rank without a stick in his hand. They look silly in our eyes but we are sure they see themselves as very important people, ”the stick carriers”.

A stick used for walking is common on the continent. That gives meaning. It can come in handy when there’s a snake in your path. You can use it for self defense if attacked etc. But these ridiculous thin pieces of wood? Come on!

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