By O Busayo Mfr
In Yoruba land, much importance is always attached to pounded yam; most especially in any event or festivity. Pounded yam is always preserved for very important personalities in any occasion in Yoruba land and this usually generate a lot of misunderstanding, unending controversies and rift among celebrants and both the invited and un -invited guests.
Whenever pounded yam is being served at any occasion in Yoruba land, most especially in Ijesha land and Ekiti State, one would observe that the countenance of those who are being served jollof rice or Amala; usually looks like someone who has just received a death sentence. The service of a microscope is not needed before one can mirror the sadness, dejection and anger that punctuate every glimpse of their eye brows and every gaze of their eyeballs.
Some, out of annoyance would leave the occasion without eating the food. While some would reduce the amount of money that they wanted to give to the celebrant or refuse to give the celebrant any gift as a protest for not serving them their beloved pounded yam. “We have being belittled” or I am being belittled” is one of the furious expressions they make whenever they are being asked on the reasons why they left angrily or before time.
Pounded yam is just like a darling in the eyes of an average Yoruba man or person. The role of pounded yam in the life of Yoruba people most especially the Ijesha people cannot be over- emphasized. Interestingly, the onomatopoetic expressions and phonological evidence produced by a mortar and pestle whenever pounded yam is being pounded are enough to awake one’s sense of curiosity in eating the pounded yam.
Although the expression, “Pounded yam of twenty years old” has an underlying hyperbolic punctuations, incredible visual displays and paradoxical implications but in this intellectual exploration, I wouldn’t want you to get confused or lost in any fantasy that is connected with the mysticism, magical realism and surrealism of a POUNDED YAM OF TWENTY YEARS OLD.
The Yoruba in their cultural calculations see Pounded yam as a food or delicacy that can stand the test of time irrespective of the years that it was pounded. Their traditional and normative ego would not allow them to accept that a pounded yam can get spoilt or rotten. I am not concerned with the connotative or figurative implications of this proverb. My exploration is only concerned with the surface and denotative implication of the expression or proverb. If a pounded yam of twenty years old still burns the hand, so is literature!