Correcting wrongs

Photo courtesy Pravin


Reprinted from a 2019 issue of InterestEng.

SOME time ago, we ran a story about children in certain villages in India being given songs for names. More recently, we read another story that takes the idea a step further.  
     There are certain African tribes where a mother makes up a special song for her child and sings it to him or her daily.  In this case, the song is not the child’s name but expresses the child’s nature. In addition, the song is also taught to the whole village. When the child starts to walk or starts to school, for example, the village gathers together and sings the child’s song to him or her.  When the child grows up and marries (or takes any important step) the village gathers around the young person and sings their song to send them on their way.
     If at any time during their life a person commits a crime, or does harm, the person is called to the center of the village and the people in the community form a circle around them and sing their song. They believe that the way to correct a wrong is not by punishment, but by helping the individual remember his or her identity. In their culture, a friend is someone who sings your song to you when you have forgotten it and made mistakes.  

 ©InterestEng. July 2013  §  The stories in the magazine portion of the site are written by English language learners. Stories are corrected by a native English speaker.  § Photos are staff or used with permission.  §  To contact us: