Friday, January 30, 2015

APC and the Symbolic Power and Popularity of the Traditional African Sweeping Broom

The hand holding a traditional African sweeping broom is central in the logo of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the main opposition party in Nigeria and currently the biggest and largest political party in Africa by the total population of the states under the leadership of the APC. 

The symbolic logo of the APC is a green-white-blue background with a broom on the white background and a red base.
“Justice, Peace and Unity” is the motto with “Change” as its slogan. And the slogan has been resonating everywhere in Nigeria and making the APC the catalyst for change igniting and rejuvenating the spirit of patriotism among millions of Nigerians and galvanizing the youths for the revival of the Nigerian Dream for the nation building of a New Nigeria in the leadership of Africa.

 A new broom sweeps well, but the old broom knows all the corners 
.~ Nigerian proverb

 From left -Governor State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola; All Progressive Congress (APC),Presidential Candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari and Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun during the Presidential Campaign Rally in Ogun State at MKO Abiola International Stadium Abeokuta, Ogun State on Tuesday 13/01/2015. Photo Credit: Osun State Government.

The APC has increased the power and popularity of the traditional African sweeping broom with makers of brooms thanking God and the APC for restoring the dignity of the native sweeping boom and making their trade to boom with thousands of broom stalls sold before APC rallies in every state in Nigeria and millions of sweeping brooms have been sold, because every member and supporter of the largest political party wants to have a broom to display at a rally.

We know that thousands of jobs have been created for makers of sweeping brooms since the All Progressives Congress (APC) made the traditional African sweeping broom, the most common household implement used for sweeping and cleaning homes and workplaces as the national symbol of the party. The broom is made in Nigeria and every household has a broom. But the umbrella, the symbol of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) is not made in Nigeria and only useful when it rains with little or no meaning in Nigerian culture.
The traditional African sweeping broom is made with fibers of palm fronds from palm trees or bamboo plants (including variety of raffia and coconut trees).

The Power and Symbol of the Broom in African, American and European Cultures  

Used in the Holy Bible as mentioned by Jesus Christ
In the Gospel of Luke 15:8 "The Parable of the Lost Coin", the broom is mentioned: "Suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it?"
Symbol of Victory 
During World War II, American submarine crews would hoist a broom onto their boat's fore-truck when returning to port to indicate that they had "swept" the seas clean of enemy shipping.The tradition has been devalued in recent years by submarine crews who fly a broom simply when returning from their boat's shake-down cruise.
Symbol of Family Unity
But perhaps the most symbolic use of the broom in many African and particularly Nigerian traditional setting is its typification of strength in unity.
My father told me a folktale (I believe, it could well have been a real story) of a man who, while on his deathbed, summoned his children on his side and asked each of them to pick a single broomstick. When they did, he requested them one after the other to break the stick they held. And they all did. He then asked each to take turn and break the bunch of broom, and none was able to break a broom bunch. He then said to them, “if you stand alone, you can easily be broken, but if you remain united, no one can break you”. That is why each stick of the broom is only a fragile piece of a vulnerable material. But when they are all tied together they are very strong and unbreakable. The weakest is only so because it stands alone from the bunch. ~ Chidi Oguamanam, Professor of Law, University of Ottawa: Follow @chidi_oguamanam
Symbol for African American Wedding Tradition of Jumping the Broom
Clean Sweep:
 An African American tradition dating to early slavery days, jumping the broom has become part of the wedding ceremony of the those who want to honor the tradition. Some say the ritual itself was created by our ancestors during slavery, an act symbolizing sweeping away the old and welcoming the new. The slaves could not legally marry, so they created their own rituals to honor their unions. The straws of the broom represents family, the handle represents the Almighty, and the ribbon represents the tie binds the couple. In some parts of Africa, ceremonial brooms are stills used to sweep away evil spirits. Hence, the name Clean Sweep!
Jumping the broom is about incorporating your past, and giving it a place of honor in your new life. Therefore combine it with your personality and style. It should be an uplifting and spiritual addition to any ceremony.

The mass appeal of the sweeping broom has made the APC the popular party of the masses and they are flocking to rallies and following the mass movement for Change for the reformation and transformation of Nigeria and hoping for a new political administration that will put an end to their nightmares of widespread  insecurity and poverty after 16 years under the PDP in Africa's most populous nation.

 ~ Ekenerengozi Michael Chima, Publisher/Editor of Nigerians Report Online.

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