Home knowledge and school knowledge

In Togo, there is something called ‘ahome nunya’ which translates into home knowledge. Ahome Nunya is considered as the basic package of knowledge any kid should get from home, either from her parents or her tribe.

Any kid who failed to get that basic package of knowledge is considered an outcast.

Kids who lack that set of know-how and behaviors are insulted in two ways:

1. ‘Djimakpla’ which means a kid with irresponsible or foolish parents who failed to transmit the home knowledge. That insult targets the parents
2. ‘Kplamasse’ which means a kid who failed to listen to her parents and is displaying a lack of home knowledge. The insult targets the disobedient and maladjusted kid.

The home knowledge package here consists of know-how and behaviors like:
– how to behave in group
– How to talk to adults and behave in front of authority
– How to hunt or fish
– How to cook
– Hygiene and house keeping
– How to behave with girls or boys
– Body language
– How to speak harmoniously
– …

Often home knowledge is contrasted with what is called school knowledge or outside knowledge.

School knowledge is related to professional skills, industry knowledge, encyclopedic knowledge, etc.

While home knowledge targets the personal development of the kid, the school knowledge focus more on professional development.

Kids who lack home knowledge are socially ostracized and would likely fail in life, regardless of school knowledge.

Those kids might later try to get those knowledge through tutoring or from books.

The rise of the self development literature is the visible symptom of the failure of home knowledge.

Those kids try to find in books which they did not succeed to internalize from a healthy family setting.

An adult devouring self help books might rightfully worry family and friends but this should not be the case as the proverb says ‘it’s better late than never’.

The unfortunate case is however that most of those self help books are from self aggrandizement, boasting, parading, showing off culture of America.

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