“ABIKU” – A YORUBA SUPERSTITIOUS NAME FOR A CHILD THAT DIES MANY TIMES

According to Yoruba’s tradition, if a woman gives birth to a child and the child dies before becoming an adult, such a child is called “Abiku” especially if the process of giving birth and dying of the child keeps recurring. It is believed that it is the same child that is coming to the world and dying just to torment his/her parents. If perchance, the woman gives birth to a child that survives, such a child is usually given names like ‘Malomo’ (meaning ‘Don’t go again’), ‘Kashimawo’ (meaning ‘Let’s be watching him/her’), etc.

A woman in our neighbourhood narated how she gave birth to six children and four of them died before the age of 10! Those children that died were considered “Abikus”. When an inquiry was made about the woman’s genotype and that of her husband, it was discovered that they are both AS.

The major factors responsible for the so-called “Abikus” are as follows::

  1.  A man with AS genotype married a woman with the same AS genotype.
  2.  A man with AS genotype married a woman with AC genotype (or vice versa).
  3.  A man with AS genotype married a woman with SS genotype (or vice versa).
  4.  A man with AS genotype married a woman with SC genotype (or vice versa).
  5.  A man with SS genotype married a woman with AC genotype (or vice versa).
  6.  A man with SS genotype married a woman with SC genotype (or vice versa).
  7.  A man with SS genotype married a woman with SS genotype.

There are basically six types of genotype in humans. They are:  AA, AS, AC, SS, SC and CC. When it comes to marriage, you need to be very careful so that you don’t end up giving birth to “Abikus”. Don’t be blindfolded by love! If you allow love to blindfold you and you get married to a person whose genotype, coupled with yours, will produce “Abikus” for you, then, don’t blame anybody when the problems start! Blame yourself!

If your genotype is AA, you can marry anybody of your choice. You won’t give birth to “Abiku”. However, if your genotype is not AA, then, you need to find out the genotype of your spouse to be. For you to avoid giving birth to “Abikus” if your genotype is not AA, then, you must get married to a person with AA genotype.

Don’t let us be blindfolded by love at the expense of the lives of our children! Children with SS genotype suffer a lot! They undergo painful periodic crises. Even with money and medical care, most of them end up dying young eventually! Don’t let us trade love with the suffering of those innocent kids.

Governments at all levels can make laws to prohibit any marriage that has the likelihood of producing SS child. This will save the innocent children, the parents, the governments and the society at large from socio-economic crises.

It should be noted that there are other types of genotype apart from the the six listed above. They are only very rare. E.g  AD, etc.

(Photo Credits: www.santabanta.com, funny-images.org)

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